#131: Basic inkstink

Way back in the dotcom era, there were business plans aimed at making the web smell good. A series of inkjets (embedded perhaps in one’s computer) would be programmed to react to codes in a webpage and blast out scent at the unsuspecting surfer.

Today’s invention is an adaptation of that idea. Given that many existing inket cartridges have a chip on board that can regulate the amount dispensed precisely, I suggest creating a handbag-compatible scent ‘printer’. This would have an ipod-like interface and allow the user to dial up the amounts of each of, say, three or four scents in order to deliver a blended smell that would be unique to the individual.


If uniqueness were particularly important to the marketing process, each machine might be enabled to dispense only a certain subset of possible scent combinations, as authorised by the codes on a prepaid swipe card. Scent intensity might be automatically varied with the time of day, becoming ‘heavier’ for evening events.

A simpler approach might be to cannibalise existing inkjet technology on the desktop and allow it to fill a conventional spray bottle with the right proportions of material.

For the more desperate male customer, a range of pheromone extracts could of course be supplied. People might be allowed to swap or trade scentcodes and, on foming relatiionships, hybridise their individual smells.

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