The world is full of brilliant scientists asking questions like, “How can I make the world a better place?”  Many are those who are engrossed in the study of all kinds of cutting-edge fields like synthetic neurobiology, artificial intelligence, artificial life and everything in between. However, Ani Liu, a designer, and researcher at MIT Media Lab is wedged somewhere between science fiction and science fact

Liu is constantly asking, “What is better?” As a researcher, he understands too well that technology is not neutral because it reflects a context before reflecting reality. Nonetheless, there are still billions of questions that ought to be answered besides the experiments on synthetic biology.

Liu’s intriguing research on what makes a human smell like a human

Its sounds like fiction, which is perhaps fairly complicated but the researcher has answers as to what makes a human smell like a human. He largely talks about one’s diet, medication bacteria, and microbiome as being responsible for the body odor.

Ani’s collection of bacteria from different sites of my body catalogs into a perfect concoction of 10% collarbone, 30% underarm, 40% bikini line and so forth. Nonetheless, the smell of the body has been perceived differently outside of the context of the body. Some people will say it smells like flowers, like chicken, like cornflakes among others.

However, Ani still seeks to understand the carnivorous plants that possess the ability to emit fleshlike odors to attract prey.  But the more he probes, the more fascinating the discovery becomes to a point of agreeing with a chemist and a plant scientist that it is possible to engineer a plant that can love him back.

But what is the threshold between science and its ability to shape emotional landscape?

There are so many questions that will go into this; the likes of what is nature? Can we re-engineer its properties, and when? What would it be like if our plants could sense the toxicity levels in the soil? We must also understand why plants grow towards the sun. Clearly, scientists and researchers have a long way to go.