TV Smell-o-vision May Be Closer Than You Think

NEW YORK -- Someday in the future, your TV set will smell -- and it turns out that day is not that far away, the New York Post reported late Sunday.

Researchers at the University of California San Diego, in collaboration with Samsung, have developed a compact device capable of generating on command thousands of aromas, according to a paper published in the scientific journal Angewandte Chemie.

The device is small enough to attach directly to the back of any TV set or to mobile phones.

The smell comes from solutions held in 10,000 tiny chambers in the device. A small electrical charge heats the solution, turning it into a gas with the desired smell, the developers claim.

The idea of smell-o-vision has been around since at least the 1950s -- when it was tried in movie theaters -- but has never caught on with consumers.

But, if the new system proves practical, advertisers would likely be the first to use it -- paying extra to release the aroma of, say, baking cookies during their dessert commercials.