A team of designers at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology have created a “smelling screen” that can emit the scent of a displayed object right in the portion of the screen where it appears. It looks like a standard LCD display, but it contains air streams and fans that are powerful and efficient enough to send odors — vaporized gel pellets — to specific screen locations. In this way it differs from similar technology in that the scent is localized rather than diffused across the entire display.
What’s the Big Idea?
“Smell-O-Vision” technology in one form or another has been around for many decades, but it has never really become mainstream. Reasons for this include the expense involved in replacing the oils used to create the scents and the difficulty in coordinating the release of the scent with a specific point in a game or movie. The team hasn’t tackled those challenges yet, and currently their display can only produce one scent at a time. However, a day may come when you’re walking by a fast food ad screen and find yourself getting hungry even though the restaurant is several blocks away.