Japanese scientists create ‘Smell-O-Vision’ screen

By | April 2, 2013

Japanese scientists create 'Smell-O-Vision' screen

… 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. …

Here’s the abstract for the paper on a smelling screen:

Abstract

We propose a new olfactory display system that can generate an odor distribution on a two-dimensional display screen. The proposed system has four fans on the four corners of the screen. The airflows that are generated by these fans collide multiple times to create an airflow that is directed towards the user from a certain position on the screen. By introducing odor vapor into the airflows, the odor distribution is as if an odor source had been placed onto the screen. The generated odor distribution leads the user to perceive the odor as emanating from a specific region of the screen. The position of this virtual odor source can be shifted to an arbitrary position on the screen by adjusting the balance of the airflows from the four fans. Most users do not immediately notice the odor presentation mechanism of the proposed olfactory display system because the airflow and perceived odor come from the display screen rather than the fans. The airflow velocity can even be set below the threshold for airflow sensation, such that the odor alone is perceived by the user. We present experimental results that show the airflow field and odor distribution that are generated by the proposed system. We also report sensory test results to show how the generated odor distribution is perceived by the user and the issues that must be considered in odor presentation.

via NIH

Good idea? Bad idea? I can’t smell very well, so I probably wouldn’t get it.

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