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Virtual-Reality Scent System Fools Flavor Sense

What you see (and smell) is what you taste

3 min read
Virtual-Reality Scent System Fools Flavor Sense

18 April 2011—Sights, sounds, and more recently, touch are commonly employed to create and enhance virtual-reality (VR) experiences. But the sense of smell is rarely a factor. A small group of researchers at the University of Tokyo is working to change that by integrating the sense of smell and sight in a way that alters a person’s perception of taste. Their VR system was able to trick people who were eating a plain cookie into thinking the cookie was of whatever flavor they had selected. The group is making use of the fact that taste is affected by what we see, hear, and smell, as well as the texture of the food, among other things. 

"We are using the influences of these sensory modalities to create a pseudo-gustatory display," says Takuji Narumi, an assistant professor at the University of Tokyo. "The aim is to have subjects experience different tastes through augmented reality by only changing the visual and olfactory stimuli they receive."

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
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A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar
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You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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