Get a Nose for TV

I still can’t grasp the idea of being able to own a 3-D TV and already, an ABC news report says that two Japanese researchers think they’ve found a way to emit smells that associate with onscreen TV images. As someone who’s been skeptical of 3-D movies and still uses a TV from the eighties, I think the idea of a real-life Smell-O-Vision is amazing, but very strange.

I’ve been going over the pros and cons through my head all morning, and I’m still unsure of the whole thing. The different kinds of smells that could come through the screen are limitless, and might occasionally be something no one wants to smell. Think about watching an episode of the Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs. Not so appetizing. But then, flip to the Food Network for the wholesome smells of a roasted turkey or homemade apple pie.

Picture (and smell) this: a TV special about Rhode Island, complete with summer smells from the beach coupled with the fabulous scents of the Johnston landfill. I wonder if the smells would linger after watching TV. Can you imagine trying to explain why it smells like suntan lotion and rotten food in your living room?

I don’t know if there are immediate plans to mass produce the idea, but someday I have to believe it’ll be mainstream. I was pretty impressed with the scratch-and-sniff sticker when I was a kid and it’s incredible we can even realistically talk about this right now. But, when we can make Taste-O-Vision work and bring that apple pie to my kitchen table, then we’ll really be in business.