Scientists have found a mathematical formula to create an olfactory equivalent of "white noise," called 'olfactory white' which could be used to cancel out any pungent odours you may want to get rid of.
Researchers have discovered the smell dubbed "olfactory white" in 2012 and just as white noise was a mixture of many different sound frequencies and white light was a mixture of different wavelengths, olfactory white was a mixture of different smelly compounds.
AdvertisementDr. Lav R. Varshney has said that a percept called 'olfactory white' which occurred when the odour compounds being perceived are well-distributed across the stimulus space, similar to how mixing light of many colours was perceived as white. If we could sense which mal-odour compounds were present, we could use mathematical techniques to figure out which other compounds was to add, so that the total percept is this 'olfactory white.'
Lav and his brother Dr. Kush Varshney put together a database of scents, matching odours compounds with ratings of various smell properties. Then they have built a model that used the database to take a scent you wanted to eliminate, and find its compounds with opposite smell ratings.
Using this model, the Varshneys have shown that a blend of 38 compounds could almost completely cancel out the particularly pungent odours of onion, sauerkraut, Japanese fermented tuna and durian fruit.
One application of the work is improving the indoor air quality in buildings, cars, planes, etc. by cancelling mal-odours that were present, another application would be to transform nutritious food that picky eaters find aversive into something they found flavourful, by adding other potentially nutritious additives and one can even consider creating 'smelltracks' for virtual reality, similar to soundtracks for movies."
This new research was published online in the arXiv preprint repository.