What in the heck is that man doing?! Smells like trouble!

by Fred

Sure, maybe you’re used to it. You crest a small flight of stairs outside a venerable institution of higher education (known as the University of California Berkeley) and see a man, on the ground, crawling around with his eyes and ears covered like he was headed to club med of Guantanamo for a holiday getaway. Note: wherever that is, I don’t wanna go!Anyhow, there was this guy wandering around on his hands and knees like someone had whacked him over the head and he’s crawling, and vaguely looks like he’s smelling and crawling.

At this point I feel compelled to point out that this seems odd.

Furthermore there are three high quality video cameras pointing at him, and some sort of “official” and by that I mean, it looked like they knew whatever the heck was going on with the guy that couldn’t see or hear crawling around. This was last week.

Flash forward a week and the findings are released. The man proved that gravity exists and after you drink enough, if you hold on to the earth, you will not fall off.

Ok, that last bit isn’t true, but the rest is. As usual cool groundbreaking, or in this case smelling, work is being done over at UC Berkeley. This work is being done to test, both the ability to scent track with a human nose, and to see if it indeed does work in stereo like our ears, and 3d like our eyes. And, well,, ok there are a pair of those, but I don’t think they apply in this conversation.

The  test was comprised of a 10 meter string dipped in chocolate, and strung along the ground.  Take it from me, it was hidden in the grass, I actually watched this done, and it was surprising, these people were directly following a path that quite frankly I had no idea was there  (there were really no visual indicators) adding in the mask, earplugs and gloves, I’m darn sure they couldn’t see anything.

There were two levels of testing, the first, was with people and to see if they would improve over time (multiple tests) in their tracking speed.  Sure enough they did!  Check it out, us humans have good sniffers! Who’da thunk it?!

Second, they tested whether we smell in stereo better or not. They found out our nasal tracking ability is,, 50% better using both nostrils!  Hmmmm, that makes sense!

This may seem like a really odd experiment all in all, but there is a lot of good that can come from this.  Imagine your new Wii, Maybe it’ll be the next version of the Wii called the Wiii, makes sense. Well,  anyway, if there’s a “smell generating system, you could be in a “dark hallway” (in the game) and have to navigate by smell.

Follow the chocolate chip cookies!!! (Yes, that was likely your mother finally playing the Wiii running past you in the darkened hallway!)

G.P.S. by scent anyone?

Anyway, yes, they really did that, and it bodes well for the future of technology smelling a lot better!

From UC Berkeley Press releases

Thanks Sciencedaily and Neatorama.

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