New Scientist | Smell cannon targets virtual reality users

A new device can track an individual, shoot an aroma directly at their nose, and leave the person next to them completely unaffected.

The air cannon was developed by Yasuyuki Yanagi and his colleagues at the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute in Kyoto, Japan, as a technique for directing evocative smells to people exploring virtual-reality environments. The driver of a car simulator, for example, might sniff petrol as they drive into a filling station or freshly cut grass as they pass a sports field.

Saw it at Dottocomu.

Google | Google Gets the Message, Launches Gmail

Amidst rampant media speculation, Google Inc. today announced it is testing a preview release of Gmail – a free search-based webmail service with a storage capacity of up to eight billion bits of information, the equivalent of 500,000 pages of email. Per user.

The inspiration for Gmail came from a Google user complaining about the poor quality of existing email services, recalled Larry Page, Google co-founder and president, Products. “She kvetched about spending all her time filing messages or trying to find them,” Page said. “And when she’s not doing that, she has to delete email like crazy to stay under the obligatory four megabyte limit. So she asked, ‘Can’t you people fix this?'”

The idea that there could be a better way to handle email caught the attention of a Google engineer who thought it might be a good “20 percent time” project. (Google requires engineers to spend a day a week on projects that interest them, unrelated to their day jobs). Millions of M&Ms later, Gmail was born.

LATER: You mean Gmail is real? C’mon. I mean… C’mon.

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