Japanese researchers have invented LCD screens with precision smell projectors.
It's not a big secret that quite a bit of what people taste actually comes from smell. It makes sense; when you have a burger on the grill it's not the taste of dripping meat fat that makes your mouth water, it's the delectable aroma of the beef as its sizzles to juicy perfection that leaves you panting like a hungry dog. The fact that our hunger is governed largely by our noses is something that advertisers, thanks to researchers, may soon be able to take advantage of.
Invented by Haruka Matsukura and colleagues at the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, the "smelling screen" has the ability to precisely project smells from an LCD screen. In the case of advertising this could mean Starbucks ads that smell like coffee, Cinnabon screens that smell like cinnamon buns, and McDonald's ads that smell like cheeseburgers.
The technology works by employing gel pellets that vaporize into four gentle streams of odorized air. The streams can be targeted to make it seem as though a specific spot on the screen is the source of the smell, rather than just blasting the area in general with the delightful scent of cheeseburger.
While Matsukura has also suggested the technology could be used to improve experiences like museum exhibits, the possibilities for this as an advertising tool could be tremendous, as could the implications. For instance, I love bacon. I would eat it at every meal if I could do so without dying. Now, thanks to Mr. Matsukura, I can picture a future where there's bacon smells wafting out of every wall. Bacon coming out of billboards and through my television. Bacon screaming at me so loudly that I can't help but drive to Wendy's and eat Baconators until I'm huddled in a corner and weeping from shame.
Thank you Japan. Truly this was necessary.
Source: New Scientist