People have never been satisfied with just watching the action on a screen, they want to be immersed in it. What better way than with our powerful sense of smell? Japanese researchers from the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology have developed a smelling screen that puts the nose into play.
While early versions of “Smell-O-Vision” in movie theaters worked by floating odors into the air, the new screen is a bit more sophisticated. The scents can be located on specific parts of the screen. That means a person onscreen could be waving a piece of bacon around in the upper corner, and the smell would emanate from the same spot.
“The smelling screen is a new olfactory display that can generate a localized odor distribution on a two-dimensional display screen. The generated odor distribution is as if an odor source had been placed on the screen, and leads the user to perceive the odor as emanating from a specific region of the screen,” reads the explanation for a demonstration of the product at the IEEE Virtual Reality conference, which took place last month.
The screen works thanks to four strategically placed fans. Odor vapor is introduced to the space in front of the screen and the fans blow it into place. The fans can be set so low, it makes it hard for the viewer to notice any airflow. Rather, it seems like the smell is coming from a certain part of the screen.
So far, the smelling screen is just experimental, and unfortunately there has been no mention yet of plans to commercialize the technology. I, for one, can’t wait for Smell-O-Vision “Game of Thrones.” Ah, the rich scent of roasting horse, mud, and terror.