Does it Make Scents for Fun (2008).

To explore the role of smell with symbolic meaning in virtual navigation


Computer games, along with most other digital interfaces, are primarily about sight, sound and physical movement, so it’s only logical that other senses could play their part as well. The artist is interested in how smell, the olfactory, can be incorporated into gameplay, not just as a novel addition, but as an integral element within the interaction between the player, the game and other players. In this artwork, players will need to navigate their way around a virtual environment using their sense of smell. Sniffing becomes a radical new interface for play, as players will need to recall certain scents in order to accomplish tasks. Players can communicate by triggering these aromas, deciding when and what scents to be emitted during the virtual navigation. Is olfactory gameplay fun or unpleasant? Does it increase immersion in the virtual? This is an ambitious and highly original experiment that reaches into areas of interactivity that are just starting to be explored.

Collaboration with Mixed Reality Lab, National University of Singapore.

International Symposium on Electronic Art 2008, Mixed Reality Lab, National University of Singapore

PUBLICATION – Refereed Conference Paper
Lai, M. K. (2008, October). Angel or Devil? – The Role of Scents in Interaction and Emotion Design. In: The 6th Design & Emotion 2008 – Dare to Design Conference Proceedings. The Design and Emotion Society. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Hong Kong. 6-9 October 2008. pp.43. ISBN 978-988-17489-2-8.

1     International Symposium on Electronic Art 2008 – Main Juried Exhibition, National Museum of Singapore, Singapore, 25 July – 3 August 2008
2     Transient Creatures Exhibition – Microwave International New Media Arts Festival 2008, City Hall, Hong Kong, 7 – 16 November 2008
3     Restore – Lai Mei Kei New Media Art Solo Exhibition, The Juvenile Art Exhibition and Performance Hall, Macao, 10 February – 1 March 2009