While so-called Smell-O-Vision isn’t exactly new, the race to see who can develop and market the best scent-delivery interface is a never-ending contest.

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The latest contender comes compliments of Tokoyo University of Agriculture and Technology researchers Haruka Matsukura, Tatsuhiro Yoneda, and Hiroshi Ishida who have created a new “olfactory display system that can generate an odor distribution on a two-dimensional display screen.”

The proposed model would have four fans on the four corners of the screen to generate air flow and direct it to the user. Therefore, a virtual odor could be shifted so that it appeared to emanate from an object on the screen. For example, if a piping-hot pizza appeared in the lower, right-hand corner of the screen, the fans would direct the scent to that specific region.

New Scientist describes the scent as being created by gel pellets that vaporize when fed into the four air streams. While the current system only dishes out one scent at a time, Matsukura says the next step will be to incorporate cartridges that will allow smells to be changed more easily. He envisions the smelling screen could be beneficial in advertisements and museum exhibits.

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Matsukura and colleagues demoed their Smell-O-Vision last week at the IEEE Virtual Reality conference in Orlando, Fla.

via New Scientist

Credit: Haruka Matsukura