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Computer Spread Aromas!
Computer Spread Aromas

They'll get you with this

A movie does have image, does have sound, but you cannot ... smell the action. However, this ‘problem’could soon be solved. Maybe not so soon, but the first step has been made: computer-controlled aromas. (After that happens, not many people will want to watch wildlife documentaries...).

If the image of a red wine or a delicious food in the window does not work, the computer-controlled aroma of oranges or lemons could do the job. The Japanese NTT Communications Corp. will test on Sunday for two months the effect of various aromas wafted through the air in front of the Tokyo restaurant and in an underground shopping mall, to see how sales are influenced by the computer spread aromas.

The scents will be generated by a computer-controlled device controlled through the Internet. This could be the beginning of a new form of advertising tackling with a poorly explored sense: smell.

Various scents will be tested at different moments of the day and their effects compared to those moments when the device is turned off. At lunchtime, scents of oranges and lemons are aimed to boost the customers’ feeling of hunger, while in the evening a woody smell could lure customers into the shopping stores.

Other trials have revealed the power of smell on humans: in a Tokyo mall, orange and lavender scents apparently managed to calm down customers. "As a result sales rose 4.8 %," said Shunichi Hamada, a supervisor with NTT's net business division.

The company tested the vanilla scent in its own building. It occasionally placed chocolates for customers and showed that when vanilla was wafted, people doubled the chocolate amount they served. For the moment, NTT's aroma diffuser can spread just three scents. "The scent will permeate an area around 5 meters from the diffuser when it is in operation,"
said Hamada.

Now, the company can deliver around 80 scents, most of them being the same essential oils employed in aromatherapy. Beer pubs must wait, since right now, a sausage scent has not been created. In 2006 the system was tested in two movie theaters, one in Tokyo and one in Osaka, to increase the feelings of joy, love and sadness of the spectators while watching a movie.