Recently joining the pileup of failed startups this year was a particularly memorable one called Digiscents. Its founders, Dexter Smith and Joel Bellenson, announced a true tech breakthrough a couple of years ago: a device that produced all manner of smells–digitally, not physically.
Digiscents promised to “scent enable” everything from websites to video games to movies. Digiscents laid off its entire staff back in April, but Smith and Bellenson haven’t given up the cause. The company became laughably overhyped and paid the price when it failed to deliver either a product (called iSmell) or paying customers. However, digitized scent remains a valuable, though still undeveloped, commodity when it comes to experience-oriented products such as video games–where sensory overload is the over-arching goal.
That’s why some other companies are still on the hunt for this nascent market. Aromajet, like Digiscents, has developed a scent-releasing device that game players wear around their necks and use to smell burning rubber as they whip a car around a curve; or gunpowder as they fire off another round at their opponents. (Hardly an enticing opportunity for me personally, but hey, if serious game players want it, great.)