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Cable Technology Feature Article

June 20, 2011

'Smell-o-vision' Officially More than Just a Catchphrase

By Juliana Kenny, TMCnet Web Editor

I have the distinct memory of a period I spent in college characterized by eating whole boxes of Wheaties and watching The Food Network hour upon hour. Naturally, Emeril Lagasse’s show was in the line-up, especially since it aired near Paula Deen’s Home Cooking show, which was a staple time-sucker. Emeril was the squat loud guy who said “Bam!” a lot. He said a couple of other catchphrases too, one of which was “smell-o-vision.” At least once per episode, Emeril would cook up something extravagant involving decadent ingredients such as lobster tails or tagliano cheese or andouille sausage, and he would turn to the audience at home to tell it how much it was missing out on the smells in his kitchen.

While I found this pastime of his to be rather rude (of course I wanted to be smelling the horseradish-encrusted trout simmering on the stove!), I kept watching and thusly imagined the aromas of his dishes wafting into my dorm room, replacing my handfuls of Wheaties with perhaps a crab cake or two. Yet Emeril’s taunting was not necessarily the stuff of fantasy. According to Fox News, researchers at the University of California San Diego are developing a devices capable of introducing “smell-o-vision” into consumers’ homes.

The device is supposedly crafted in collaboration with Samsung (News - Alert), and can attach to the back of any TV set or mobile phone. Including 10,000 chambers which generate thousands of odors, the device works its magic through an electrical charge which heats up and issues the aromas through a gas emission.

This new and frighteningly real “smell-o-vision” technology may prove quite useful for advertisers in the food industry (who wouldn’t run out and buy some Tollhouse cookie dough after being subjected to its sinful wafts through the TV screen?), though Emeril is going to have to find a new catchphrase.

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Juliana Kenny graduated from the University of Connecticut with a double degree in English and French. After managing a small company for two years, she joined TMC (News - Alert) as a Web Editor for TMCnet. Juliana currently focuses on the call center and CRM industries, but she also writes about cloud telephony and network gear including softswitches.

Edited by Jennifer Russell