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UAE gets whiff of metaverse's smell potential

The United Arab Emirates's metaverse-friendly environment is attracting ambitious projects like Meta-nose, which can identify thousands of smells and convert them into digital data.
Meta-nose smell detector

DUBAI — Smelling online could become a reality with new technology that is finding a home in the United Arab Emirates thanks in large part to government policies that are attracting innovative metaverse startups. 

Open AI’s conversational ChatGPT, released in November 2022, served as a window into what's possible in tomorrow’s human-artificial intelligence relationships. Yet many futurists find it limiting and want more immersive technologies that allow people to not only talk to AI, but touch, taste and even smell in virtual reality environments. 

The UAE is investing in the metaverse's economic potential. It developed the Dubai Metaverse Strategy in 2022 to bring 1,000 companies into the field, support 40,000 virtual jobs and add $4 billion to Dubai’s gross domestic product by 2030. 

It's attracting the likes of Alistair Pernigo, a 21-year-old Italian inventor who is frustrated with the restrictions of digital experiences and markets that don’t understand the potential of the metaverse for humankind. He co-created Auralink, a startup for advanced technologies that detect, analyze and reproduce smells.

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