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Japanese Printer Syncs Pictures With Smells

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girl sniffing flower


Keio University researchers will present an ink-jet printer that can print out a photo with the appropriate scent for the image at the upcoming ACM Multimedia 2010 conference in Florence, Italy.

The team has modified a Canon printer and replaced the typical ink cartridges with vials of four different aromas. Instead of sending out droplets of color, the printer makes a tiny, picoliter droplet of scent that can produce aromas of lemon, vanilla, lavender, apple, cinnamon, grapefruit, and mint.

Still, hurdles remain for the aroma-printer, such as synchronizing smells. A normal printer holds just cyan, magenta, and yellow to mix the colors on the fly, while the aroma-printer would need space for hundreds of vials for different smells. Moreover, the researchers need to develop software that would enable the printer to automatically recognize elements of an image and release the appropriate aroma.

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