Retailers, hotels and real estate agents have been using aromas to entice us to part with our cash for years now and there have even been a few attempts to transmit smells via the internet and mobile phones. California-based company Scent Sciences is now looking to bring an olfactory dimension to computer games with its ScentScape personal digital scent delivery system.

Scent Sciences’ President and CEO, Bill Wiles, told Gizmag the ScentScape system uses a combination of hardware, software & algorithms and chemistry – all covered by patents – to produce the smells. The system consists of a unit that plugs into a PC or gaming console via USB and generates smells using scent cartridges.

Each cartridge provides 20 basic scents and last about 200 hours, depending on personal use. The scents come in standard, which produce a range of more general smells, or media-specific versions to suit particular games, with smell strength controlled via a “volume control”.

Wiles says that gamers will also be able to use the company’s SDK along with the ScentEditor application to create their own scent-enabled games. Players will even be able to share the code they have created with other gamers who have their own ScentScape system to allow them to enjoy their creation.

Similarly, the ScentScape system and ScentScape Editor can be used to add smells to home videos. Specific themed cartridges such as holiday, summer, ocean, etc. will also be available for this purpose, along with special cartridges for aromatherapy and other applications.

Scent Sciences was showing its ScentScape system at CES 2011 and will be introducing the ScentScape Gaming Suite at the Game Developers Conference 2011 in February, where it will be continuing talks with game and game platform developers regarding building ScentScape capabilities into games. Wiles says the company will also work with the game developers to develop scent cartridges to suit their particular games.

Scent Sciences plans to begin shipments of the ScentScape Gaming Suite later this year at a price yet to be announced.