"Smell of Data" Device: A More Instinctual Approach to Virtual Security

Khryss | Published 2017-09-09 11:41

Sniff, sniff. What's that smell?

Creators Leanne Wijnsma and Froukje Tan is introducing a new way of securing our data. Ironically, the heart of this new project is based on a long known evolutionary survival instinct-our sense of smell.

Previous research has shown how scents can evoke different responses from our brains including fear and memory recollection. Things like gas leaks, for instance, provide detectable smell since the late 30's to immediately warn people that something's wrong. Similarly, the concept of their "Smell of Data" project experiments on incorporating this reactions on the virtual world.

They're planning to assign a scent of warning to any potentially dangerous data practices that might leak any of your virtual information. This is important in many cases like, say, logging on to your bank account in a public place that might sabotage your identity safety due to unsecured connections.

Now, Wijnsma told Motherboard that they're designing and continually improving their prototype. The recent palm-sized model is made to connect wirelessly to a phone, laptop or tablet. And when a public hotspot or any unsecured connection or website is identified,  the device then spritzes a warning aroma--a mixture of "a bit metallic" and citrusy smell. It's just a like a new-age air freshener for one's foolish internet habits!

"From now on we can also smell when out personal data is at stake, so that internet users are more aware of the many traces they leave behind and are instinctively triggered to take action," Wijnsma said.

Well, at least they've chosen a smell we can stand, right? Just saying, it could be worse. Could be smelly socks or rotten meat to signify the sloppy things we do online now.

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