SpotScents, developed by Yasuyuki Yanagida at the Media Information Science Laboratories in Japan, uses scent projectors to deliver localized odors to a human’s nose through the air without requiring users to wear any special devices.
A scent projector is composed of an air cannon that launches vortex rings which can travel several meters. Because Scent Projectors emit only a small amount of scented air, different scents can be delivered within a short time frame without air conditioning equipment.
(Smoke ring launched from an air cannon)
Possible application: at home people can enjoy movies or videogames featuring smell switching that corresponds to changes in scenes or advertisers could provide a series of short “scented” commercial messages to be broadcasted on TV, artists could add odors to multimodal pieces without worrying about mixing smells from adjacent works in an exhibit.
Future versions of SpotScents will closely combine the olfactory experience with audio/visual content, so users can feel the air of “the world beyond the screen.”
PDF explaining the research.
Related: digital aroma.