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Smell-O-Vision Has Pleasant Aroma For San Diego Researcher

— Sight and sound TV seems so last century. It seems the future of enhanced sensory entertainment could soon be smell-o-vision.

Movies like the “Scent of a Woman,” or a pizza commercial, can be seen and smelled according to Sungho Jin, Ph.D., a San Diego professor who was approached by Samsung Electronics to develop a smell-o-vision device.

Smell-o-vision prototype developed by researchers at UCSD Jacobs School of En...
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Above: Smell-o-vision prototype developed by researchers at UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering.

Jin, a researcher at UC San Diego's Jacobs School of Engineering said he and his graduate students developed a prototype than can emit up to 10,000 odors.

It works like this: Tiny compartments inside the device contain scented liquids that spray into the air when triggered by a preprogramed electrical signal.

“We send electrical current to the chambers and that heats up the interior. When the temperature goes up so does the internal chamber pressure which pushes the vapor out of the device and into the air,” explained Jin.

He also said the palm-sized aroma emitter is adaptable and mobile.

“The device can be attached to a TV or made small enough to be on a cell phone. It can also be placed on the walls inside a movie theater,” said Jin.

When the liquids dry up or the smells fade, the chamber is replaced like an ink cartridge on your printer, said Jin.

A few details still need to be worked out, like how to cleanse the air in between fragrance spurts. And, overcoming smell-o-vision’s stinky past will also take some effort.

Olfactory junkies may recall the idea of smell-TV made Time magazine’s list of the Top 100 Worst Ideas of the Century in 1999.

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Avatar for user 'dialyn'

dialyn | June 27, 2011 at 8:09 a.m. ― 5 years, 9 months ago

This is a terrible idea. It was bad in 1990 and it is bad now. It is bad enough that the air is polluted by noxious perfumes, tobacco, marijuana, booze, and vehicle emissions, but now we get to have idiots spraying random stench from their telephones? What is the point? Just to cause allergic reactions in those of us who have difficulty breathing? Another invention no one needed.

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Avatar for user 'sarahward734'

sarahward734 | June 27, 2011 at 10:20 a.m. ― 5 years, 9 months ago

YOU think it is a terrible idea and you may not be the only one. But there are other people who think it is an interesting development in entertainment technologies and I for one would like to see where they go with this. Cell phone usage may be a little extreme for this application but again...would be neat to see what it is really all about. Please dont be so closed minded, THAT is what is wrong with the world today and that is something that is TRUELY needed by no one

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