Scientists at the University of California San Diego are collaborating with Samsung to invent technology that can add aroma to your television experience.
They have demonstrated that it is indeed possible to make "smell-o-vision" come true by generating odor, at will, in a compact device small enough to fit on the back of your TV with potentially thousands of odors.
"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.
Jin and his team of graduate students used an X-Y matrix system in order to minimize the amount of circuitry that would be required to produce a compact device that could generate any odor at any time.
The scent comes from an aqueous solution such as ammonia, which forms an odorous gas when heated through a thin metal wire by an electrical current.
The heat builds pressure, causing a tiny hole in an elastomer to open, releasing the odor, which is measured by the detector.
"It is quite doable," said Jin.
"This is likely to be the next generation TV or cell phone that produces odors to match the images you see on the screen," Jin added.
The study was recently published in the journal Angewandte Chemie.