Altmetric Blog

The next-generation of Altmetric donut is here!

Cat Williams, 1st April 2018

Our colourful Altmetric donuts have received a lot of love over the years – whether it’s people sharing them on Twitter, liking them on instagram or showcasing them on their websites.

We’ve been working hard on going beyond just visualizations though and we’re now delighted to announce that the next generation of donut is here! We call it the “Scratch and Sniff”.

The donuts have the same distinctive look and feel as the original Altmetric graphic, but on most modern screens they now come with an extra level of goodness.

When an item of research is mentioned online, the relevant colour of each attention source is added to the donut. Now each part of the donut will also emit a different flavoured smell when gently scratched.

The new technology leverages a quirk of modern day LCD screens, found everywhere from desktop monitors to tablets. These displays refresh at a rate much higher that the human eye can perceive, wasting energy. The faster DSP chips found on monitors built after 2015 allow the excess refresh cycles to be repurposed and instead vibrate air molecules at different speeds, creating different smells. Gently scratching the relevant pixel area releases the smell.

Here’s a breakdown of the attention source colours and their associated flavours: to see if your monitor is compatible, scratch each one gently with a fingernail:

Altmetric’s Founder Euan Adie, who was instrumental in the development of this new innovation, says “Fresh donuts are a big part of our day-to-day workflows here in the Altmetric office and now we can share some of that immersive experience with our users. We hope that people are excited to try these out and enjoy the flavours we’ve chosen!”

The donuts will be live on the Altmetric site from next week.


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