Thanks to scientists at Samsung and the University of California, San Diego, the next time you’re watching Jersey Shore, you won’t have to imagine the smell of spray tan, jagermeister and Axe body spray, because those scents could be right there in the room with you.
Over the last two years, the UCSD team has been working on a device that could not only create potentially thousands of odors at will, but also fit onto the back of a TV.
The most attractive application for this is of course for advertisers. For example, not only could a coffee company liven up their TV spot with the scent of its burnt brew, but they could also do scent-based product placement within TV shows and movies. You could advertise a Whopper without having to dedicate an entire channel to it.
“For example, if people are eating pizza, the viewer smells pizza coming from a TV or cell phone,” said Sungho Jin, professor in the departments of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and NanoEngineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. “And if a beautiful lady walks by, they smell perfume. Instantaneously generated fragrances or odors would match the scene shown on a TV or cell phone, and that’s the idea.”
One problem is that the smell-forming solutions in the device will eventually deplete, meaning people who actually want smell-o-vision would be locked into having to buy refill cartridges like they do for their ink-jet printers.
Forgetting the cost and refill factors, would you even want something like this on your TV?