The EMH clearly can hear and see. He doesn't have a sense of taste. Can he smell?

  • Why revert the nice new title Mar 5, 2017 at 20:23
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    I think the original is better. I want to know if the EMH has a sense of smell. Asking if he smells has more than one meaning. Mar 5, 2017 at 20:32
  • Yes, that was the point. A little joy/humour in life. The body unambiguously defines the question. Ah well. (Also, you mean "whether", not "if") Mar 5, 2017 at 21:10
  • Nobody said your original title wasn't "fine", but it could have been better and more funny for HNQ. Not sure you fully appreciate the reason for the edit. Just a bit of a shame is all. & you want to know whether the EMH has a sense of smell. It's not the case that you want to know <some unknown thing> if he does (and not if he doesn't) :) Mar 5, 2017 at 22:23
  • As Data states, "better" is a highly subjective term. Mar 5, 2017 at 22:53

1 Answer 1


Yes, the Doctor is fully capable of olfactory detection.

In the episode Future's End, Part II, the Doctor smells a tree, as referenced in the linked article.

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This is quite a sensible feature for a medical hologram to have, given that the capability exists. Many diseases have notable scents, and it would be useful for an emergency medical hologram to be able to use every conventional method of differentiation during triage.

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    Some diseases also have distict tastes, and back before more sophisticated technology was developed, doctors frequently not only smelled, but also tasted, e.g. diabetes was diagnosed by tasting the patient's urine.
    – user68965
    Mar 5, 2017 at 2:49
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    @DuaneDibbley as I recall, diabetes mellitus translates to "honey flavored urine"
    – Broklynite
    Mar 5, 2017 at 15:25
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    @DuaneDibbley that's certainly true, but I'm pretty sure that even in triage situations it isn't encouraged for Starfleet medical personnel to lick their patients.
    – Jeff
    Mar 5, 2017 at 19:53
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    @Jeff I'm sure there's at least one Federation species that uses its prehensile tongue for fine manipulation, so as long as it's done in a sanitary fashion Starfleet probably has provisions for it.
    – JAB
    Mar 5, 2017 at 19:58
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    @Broklynite With the risk of going too far OT, diabetes is derived from the Greek word for passing through, a reference to the excessive fluid intake and urination seen in patientes with untreated diabetes, and mellitus is the latin word for honey.
    – user68965
    Mar 6, 2017 at 0:47

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