A phone with a sense of smell

Trekkies rejoice; the tricorder has arrived. Key point: how will a phone with a sense of smell change how we move through our environment?

'How would it change your ideas about moving around in the world, if you could suddenly sense things you couldn’t see?' asks Eric Paulos, an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute. Paulos wants to put tiny environmental sensors in cell phones and turn phone users into roving citizen scientists who continuously sample and respond to their personal environment. This type of local and real-time environmental data would not only facilitate science and satisfy individual curiosity, it will empower people to uncover, visualize, and collectively share information about their own neighborhoods and cities. It could ultimately encourage active participation in protecting and improving those spaces.