Sniff-N-Scratch

If you're looking forward to the day when you can stop and smell the daisies without putting down your laptop, it may not be too far off. I'm at the much-hyped but financially troubled DigiScents Inc. in Oakland, California, for a click-and-sniff demonstration. When I select the cotton candy icon, a short blast from the iSmell scent synthesizer — which connects to a computer or game console — takes me back to the county fair. Some fragrances are better than others: ocean breeze tends more toward air freshener than the beaches of Bali.

Researchers from India to Massachusetts are exploring digital...

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