From the New Scientist:
Imagine being able to record a smell and play it back later, just as you can with sounds or images. Engineers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan are building an odour recorder capable of doing just that. Simply point the device at a freshly baked biscuit, for example, and it will analyse its odour and reproduce it for you using a host of non-toxic chemicals. The device could be used to improve online shopping by allowing you to sniff foods or fragrances before you buy, to add an extra dimension to virtual reality environments and even to assist military doctors treating soldiers remotely by recreating bile, blood or urine odours that might help a diagnosis. While a number of companies have produced aroma generators designed to enhance computer games or TV shows, they have failed commercially because they have been very limited in the range of smells they can produce, says Pambuk Somboon of the Tokyo team.
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