Smelling what you can see on television could well be possible as a team from Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology in Japan has developed an accurate system for the same. The technology was demonstrated at the IEEE Virtual Reality Conference held in Orlando Florida.
The 'smelling screen' invented by Haruka Matsukura, Tatsuhiro Yoneda, Hiroshi Ishida provides a virtual odor source at a position on the screen where objects appear. Integration of this technology will now make advertisements for foodstuffs and beverages more appealing to the common man. Smell-o-vision as its known as in the sci-fi world was seen in the 1960 film Scent of Mystery also known as Holiday in Spain. The movie that was screened in specially equipped theaters in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York failed to impress crowds as the mechanism that produced odors failed miserably. Scratch and sniff was later developed to allow viewers to smeel what the could percieve while viewing movies and playing games. Polyester a 1981 comedy movie made use of this invention along with games Fifa 2001 and Gran Tourismo 2 to provide viewers/users with an opportunity to smell scents ranging from roses to flatulence to dirt sneakers to fresh grass(Fifa 2001) and burning rubber( Gran Tourismo 2).
The current system/technology makes use of odors generated by gel pellets and directs them to air streams that are situated in each corner of the screen. By varying the airflow, the scent is transmitted to an arbitrary spot on the screen giving an illusion of scent wafting from the display. Currently the system can propagate only one scent at a time, however, in the long run a cartridge like the one used in printers will be used to produce a number of scents/smells more easily. 'Smelling screen' technology could be used by advertising agencies, gaming companies and exhibition halls to enhance the experience of viewers/users respectively.