Obviously, terminators can see and hear, but can they smell and taste, as humans do?

  • 1
    I doubt they'd be programmed to experience the senses the way humans do. Probably closer to sensors (to identify and cross-index components / molecules) than organs (that can experience stinking scents and bitter or sweet flavors, etc). Commented Sep 14, 2014 at 21:33
  • @MeatTrademark I dunno, it could have some uses. For example the infiltrator type Terminators would benefit if they knew how someone they were going to impersonate smells so they could maintain the same aroma. Commented Sep 14, 2014 at 22:11
  • 7
    I like that @T-1000 is asking all of these questions about human knowledge of terminators, almost as if its trying to figure out how much we know...
    – user20155
    Commented Sep 15, 2014 at 1:11
  • 3
    @LegoStormtroopr Call to John.
    – user30592
    Commented Sep 15, 2014 at 1:14
  • Q. How does a Terminator smell? A. With his nose. Duh.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 22, 2016 at 11:20

2 Answers 2



The Terminator (T-800) certainly has a sense of smell, as you can see from the image below from the 'biker bar' scene from T2 : Judgement Day.

The Terminator has cigar smoke blown in his face, which he correctly determines as "carcinogenic vapor".

enter image description here


In T3:Rise of the Machines we see the T-X Terminator using her tongue to sample blood. Note that the graphic shows that whilst she does this primarily as a means of delivering the blood to a DNA analyser, it also identifies (more immediately) that the initial sample contains "Material: Cotton" and "Blood".

enter image description here

  • 4
    Neither of these are compelling examples. They both seem more like merely analyzing samples as opposed to actual scent or flavor. "Why hell now, that there tastes like one a' them John Connor fellas I'm a' lookin' fer!" (I have no idea why I decided she's suddenly a hillbilly. Sorry about that.) Commented Sep 14, 2014 at 20:39
  • 14
    We analyse food the same way by interacting with the molecules and determining their "smell" and "taste" as to whether they are favorable to us or not. Since the terminators are gathering information using those senses, they would most certainly be considered to have a sense of taste and smell. It seems reasonable that they should given the advantages such environmental biological information gathering could give them in tracking human targets. Let's face it, no one is going to be terribly fresh in a future where water is in short supply... Commented Sep 14, 2014 at 21:13
  • 15
    @MeatTrademark - How would you define taste and smell then, if not the process of analysing samples? All taste and scent consists of is molecules held in suspension...
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 14, 2014 at 21:27
  • 10
    @MeatTrademark - You're getting all philosophical. How does a machine analysing and reacting to a particular molecule differ from a human "experiencing" a scent comprised of the same molecules?
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 14, 2014 at 21:33
  • 6
    @MeatTrademark "eww, that stinks" is actually a response to the initial reaction "this smells rancid, it is unsafe to eat". Revulsion is a reaction to the initial analysis.
    – user20155
    Commented Sep 15, 2014 at 1:09

In T3, the T-X samples blood with her tongue, implying some form of sensory input in the tongue.

In TSCC, Cameron Phillips eats chips, although whether she got anything out of it is a totally different question.

enter image description here

As to whether or not they smell, I don't recall anything from the movies. The closest I can recall is in T1, when the T-800 was rotting in the hotel room. I forgot about the smoke in T2, as mentioned by Richard.

  • Where was Cameron when eating the chips? If it was in private/only with the Connors, where there was no need to put up an act, then I'd see that as a point in favor of her just liking the chips
    – Izkata
    Commented Sep 14, 2014 at 21:46
  • @Izkata I think the scene was outside a gas stop/convenience store. John was trying to get Cameron to be better at acting human or something.
    – calccrypto
    Commented Sep 14, 2014 at 23:54

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