We expect to see movies and games in 3D and listen to them in surround sound. But will we soon expect to smell them as well?
Folks have tried to implement surround smell for decades. AromaRama, Smell-O-Vision, and Odorama, lie among the attempts that just never caught on.
A little company called Scent Sciences is taking another run at it. Its ScentScape is a USB peripheral for computers and game systems that emits odors on cue—be they the smells of spices to accompany a cooking video, pictured, or the smell of a forest or ocean as avatars move through a game environment.
The company is selling its peripheral for $20, with software that allows consumers to add scents to home movies. Truthfully, that’s not something I’m likely to do; transferring movie files to DVD is already enough of a chore. But, the company is not placing its bets on the home movie package; it hopes other manufacturers will incorporate its system into next generation game and other products.
Tekla S. Perry is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., she's been covering the people, companies, and technology that make Silicon Valley a special place for more than 40 years. An IEEE member, she holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Michigan State University.