The sense of smell is a tough one to work into media — attempts at getting it into movies date back to the 1930s, and Disneyland and Walt Disney World include scents in some of their attractions. Technology companies have tried adding it to video games and television, so it was only a matter of time before someone tried to add it to a smartphone.
ChatPerf, a Japanese company, is rolling out a smartphone add-on about the size of a USB stick that attaches via the 30-pin connector on an iPhone (a company spokesperson told Diginfo TV that an Android version would be available this fall). The add-on is tiny “tank” that contains a given smell. After it’s attached to the phone, a screen comes up with a “puff” button that the user taps to release a scent.
The idea is that besides pictures and sound clips, one can send scents. ChatPerf seems to see a big application in gaming, one could smell gunpowder or maybe the poppies in the fields while watching The Wizard of Oz. The company also sees itself selling scent tanks with different scents. ChatPerf has also released a software development kit, to see what ideas smell-hackers might come up with.
The question is, of course, whether this will catch on. Smell-O-Vision-type systems did not prove a hit in movie theaters, even with the technological advances that made them cheaper to install. It might add another dimension to sending recipes, though, so there may be a market among foodies. And an online perfume outlet might find it useful. This device does require that the user’s nose be close by, and many people might not take to sniffing their phones.
Homepage image courtesy of Don Kennedy, DigInfo TV
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This article originally published at Discovery News here