ETC Faculty member featured in MIT Technology Review

ETC Faculty member Heather Kelley is featured in an article that looks at using taste and smell to play video games.

“These technologies have enormous potential for changing the way we play games—imagine savoring pixelated feasts or sniffing out stinky monsters before they attack—but incorporating taste and smell into games goes beyond just building better entertainment experiences, says Heather Kelley, an assistant teaching professor at Carnegie Mellon University who teaches sensory interaction design. There are also health and rehabilitation applications.

Kelley’s own sensory design work focuses on smell. For her 2009 horse-themed game Sugar, she built an “action olofactorizer” that could open small vials of scented liquid, heat them, and waft them at players. When performing well, players would smell fresh-cut grass. When they performed poorly, their noses were greeted with the odor of horse manure, which Kelley made herself from the real thing.

The scents added to the game but didn’t “give you a revelation or any kind of information that you didn’t already have,” Kelley says. “How do we use smell in recalling a character or an event that happens in a game? How can we use smell to trigger a memory of something that happened in the fiction? That’s where we haven’t gone yet, and you could say similar things for taste.””

To read the full article, visit MIT Technology’s website.

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