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Scent Vision: Providing Smelly Entertainment

Looking at ways to incorporate the sense of smell into entertainment systems is on the drafting table.

How to enhance your TV viewing time with a pilot olfactory display system is being developed by researchers in Tokyo, Japan.

Called the smelling screen, it has fans on each corner of the display. Odor vapors in a pellet form can be placed into the mix and dispersed through the airflow created by the fans. The scent produced is projected and can be recognized by onlookers.

Moreover, the focal area of the smell can be moved around various areas of the screen, making the emitted scent seem like it is embedded in the display. The watcher identifies the smell as coming from a certain part of the monitor, seemingly corresponding with the aroma in the scene.

Scent Vision: Providing Smelly Entertainment

Image source: ieeevr.org/2013/program/activities/researchdemos

They are conducting studies on the system to see if it can have the potential to actually make smell-o-vision reliably available on a two dimensional screen. They are also examining how the aromas impact the viewer.

So, do we need our TVs to smell?

Is making technology smarter by integrating a variety of senses a step forward, or is it a case of technology taking away from the real experience?

There are likely to be proponents on both sides of the viewing screen.

However, those who manufacture products based around aromatics may have good reason to be excited. The idea of a scented visual could be a goldmine for the perfume industry, restauranteurs and anyone else wishing to sell favorably smelling merchandise. There is also the potential for use in educational and therapeutic areas. Companies in the television industry are already starting to offer a scented experience along with their sitcoms.

Though this may seem like a groundbreaking effort, this concept has actually already made a viewing around 1960 in a film called Scent of Mystery and has been attempted in a few other products since its debut.

Technology will continually evolve, and making sure that we are enhanced by it and not reliant on it is something to watch for.

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