An Interesting Way to Get Rid of Offensive Odors
Two researchers are smelling like roses after cracking the mathematical code that could lead to scents that literally cancel out offensive odors, the way white noise can negate troublesome noises.
The paper published by Kush Varshney of the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center in New York and his brother Lav Varshney of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is very technical, but it boils down to the pair figuring out a mathematical solution to the problem that was thought to be impossible.
Because they travel in waves, light and sound are relatively easy to mask: for example, when faced with an offensive sound wave, like the droining of a jet engine, technology already exists that would generate its opposite wave, cancelling the sound.
Smell, however, was always thought of to be different -- until the pair figured out a mathematical model that scientifically predicts how humans perceive various smells based on any given smell's components.
With this leap in mind, the pair say they could create "white smell," akin to white noise -- making it possible to literally cancel humans' ability to smell certain odors -- which certainly would come in handy the world over.