Bill Gates' new fragrance smells like a world-changer

Bill Gates (YouTube / Gates Notes)
Bill Gates (YouTube / Gates Notes)

Multi-billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates is launching his own fragrance - but don't expect to see it in stock when you come back through duty free.

Far from the revenue-gathering endeavours of celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Britney Spears, the Microsoft founder's charity is the driving force behind a new scent-altering piece of technology he hopes will reduce public defecation in the developing world.

The issue of people excreting in public places is seen as a key driver of unsanitary conditions in poor countries, which is in turn responsible for the deaths of 800,000 children each year.

In a video produced for his foundation, Gates explains the core of the problem he is working so hard to fix.

"One of the reasons that new toilets have failed is because they smell bad. They don't get used because they're concentrating really bad smells - so people just go out and defecate in the open," he said.

"So we thought, 'is there any science anywhere that can help us get rid of this smell?'"

That question took them to Swiss firm Firmenich, the largest privately-owned fragrance company in the world.

Some of the business' scientists visited toilets in poorer nations to work out just what the smells were, and whether they could be counteracted by taking a scientific approach.

Firmenich's director of cellular biology Matthew Rogers says the company has since produced fragrance ingredients that alter the signals that tell your brain that it is has encountered a bad smell.

That means when you're faced with an awful stench, you're totally unaware of it - and that results in latrines, which would not be ordinarily be utilised because of the appalling smell, once more being usable.

"I think they'll achieve both the goal of having a good product and improving the world - so it's been a pretty amazing partnership," Gates said.

The Gates Foundation and Firmenich are now launching trial runs across India and Africa, which will look into the effectiveness of the fragrance.