Invented by Haruka Matsukura and a team of colleagues at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology in Japan, the display is called the “smelling screen” makes smells appear to come from the exact spot on any LCD screen that is displaying the image of a cup of coffee, for example.
The smelling screen is a regular television with four fans mounted along its edges that pump odors in the right direction. It generates scent from hydrogel “aroma chips,” which are heated to produce vapor. Using the fans at varying rates, the system can purportedly give the illusion that a scent is coming from a certain portion of the screen. It’s directional accuracy that sets the smelling screen apart from systems in the past. The researchers have only been able to generate one odor at a time so far, but Matsukura says the next stage is to incorporate a cartridge with multiple scents that can be swapped out for different movies and programs.
In a paper presenting the research, inventor Haruka Matsukura points out that bakeries, popcorn stands, and other food retailers already utilize scent to attract customers. Matsukura’s displays, if proved to be reliable, could represent a powerful new tool for advertisers, who have been looking into similar tech for some time.
The screen was shown at the IEEE Virtual Reality conference in Orlando, Florida, last week. Matsukura suggests it could also be used to enhance advertising screens and museum exhibits.
Sources: extremetech, theverge