2012 “AlterSCENT” – or simply nanonose – is a speculative product of the year 2030 based on real science. A nose plug featuring a reactive nanofibre mesh allows for the alteration of virtually all airborne molecules: Individual smells can be intensified, lessened or changed and previously odourless gases can become odourable. The prospects of the near-future development of a product like this open up the field for many wild yet plausible applications and implications.

Together with nanotechnologists from the Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH), Department of Polymer Composites, we sketched out a few of these plausible scenarios in a short film: Will we choose to remap certain smells? Will we have smoke detectors in our noses? Will we find the nearest point of interest by smell? Will the “smelling space” need to be regulated? Will we need to buy smelling licences, will we get sponsored scents, rogue scents, encrypted scents? – What would YOU like to do with the help of augmented smelling, if anything?

The device reaches the olfactory receptor cells inside the nose.

An official agency would regulate the distribution of augmented reality applications as well as inform the public. This is the logo of the fictitious “European Augmentation Agency / EAA”.

AlterSCENT update message for the 1st of May 2032

Early adopters would use the system to protect from allergens and contaminated air.

Given favourable wind conditions, the “Olfactory Guidepost System” lets people navigate the city through smell. Perfume dispenser disseminate the smell from points of interest: The smell of cigars and old leather would guide you to the city hall, the smell of disinfectants to the hospital and – for romantic reasons – train stations use the smell of steam engine’s smoke.


Technical University Hamburg-Harburg


nanotech, smelling, scents, nanonose, 2030, augmented reality


Additional Direction & Production
Ingo Johannsen

Additional Concept Development
Samuel T. Buschhorn
Ingo Johannsen

Udo Swann

Florian Kirchler

Animation Design
Ana Viegas

Logo & Transitions Animation
Philipp Kehl

Set Decoration & Lighting
Jakob Deutsch

Sound Editing
Chris Elsner

Nils Fischer

Technical Assistant
Henning Kruse

Additional Scientific Advisory
Luis A S de Almeida Prado

Chinese Translation
Jiang Wu