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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/M029425/1
Title: 'Creating a Stink - Investigating Olfactory Transport Streams'
Principal Investigator: Marshall, Professor AJ
Other Investigators:
Taylor, Professor S
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Agilent Technologies Ltd Purdue University Q Technologies Ltd
Traffic Observation & Management TOM
Department: Electrical Engineering and Electronics
Organisation: University of Liverpool
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 07 September 2015 Ends: 06 September 2018 Value (£): 492,065
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Analytical Science Instrumentation Eng. & Dev.
Networks & Distributed Systems
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
15 Jul 2015 EPSRC ICT Prioritisation Panel - Jul 2015 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
If we are to enjoy the benefits of truly immersive environments, then future communicaitons networks will need to be designed to be able to transport more sensory information than the visual and auditory senses they serve today.

The research proposed here seeks to investigate how we can combine communications theory with recent advances in olfactory technologies. The coupling of these two disparate disciplines opens up radically new areas of research, and this project will investigate two key aspects that are essential in order to take this forward.

Firstly, we will investigate how we can characterise and then efficiently transmit odour (scent) over conventional communications networks such as the Internet, and accurately recreate it at a receiver, particularly when it is transmitted alongside video streams as envisaged for future immersive services. This is essentially 'scent teleportation', however in order to accomplish this we need to understand how can we design networks that can efficiently transport this type of information and how it is affected by network impairments such as packet loss, delay and jitter, i.e. what is the quality of service required to transmit scent?

Secondly, we will investigate how we can employ scent technologies to create a completely new communications medium. To achieve this we need to understand how we can modulate data symbols onto scent carriers (plumes), and consequently what types of modulation are available to do this (leading to devices that can produce odour streams that are digitally encoded), what are the factors governing this type of transmission though the air, and what are the typical entropy rates that can be achieved?

We will also investigate how we can employ this as a secure communications channel, e.g. whereby the data (carried over a scent plume) is only coherently received at a specific location and instant (or window) of time. Such channels may be used to securely distribute encryption keys.

We will also explore opportunities to commercial exploit the research developed in this project; through IP protection, collaboration with our start-up companies and Industrial partner, and through the development of a follow-on proposal designed to demonstrate the technologies. We anticipate substantial interest from a range of sectors and industries, as identified in the impact strategy.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.liv.ac.uk