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.