Google Nose May Have Been a Joke, But the Tech is Not

As an April Fool’s Day joke, Google posted information about a new service called Google Nose, which supposedly provides consumers with olfactory experiences through their computers. While it may have been a joke, it’s not that far from potential reality. In fact, last December IBM revealed that technologies in development related to human senses were on the cusp of reality and could one day soon reach widespread adoption.

“IBM, which fields a prodigious research organization, is convinced that endowing computers with human-like senses is a key focus and outlined its thoughts in its annual list of five technologies to watch last December,” writes GigaOM.

Included amongst these emerging technologies are chemical sensors that emit an odor when they detect some sort of pattern. “You can paint chemical sensors on a surface and when they detect a pattern, they give off a smell — you could make a rich paint with all sorts of sensors that mimic things that you like,” said Bernie Meyerson, IBM fellow and VP of innovation.

The article gives an impressive example of how the technology could potentially be used. If used within a smartphone, for example, it could detect if you have a cold by your breath and could allows a doctor to prescribe you remotely.