Smelly Consoles In The Future?
At present, research into technology part-funded by the Ministry of Defence will allow computer simulations to release odours in to the air to teach recruits the importance of smells on the battlefield. The presence or absence of smell is intended to be used in training British Army recruits to assess the area and the potential danger that may or may not lie ahead, enabling them to react to the situation accordingly.
Often overlooked and underrated, our sense of smell has a powerful effect on behavior. Certain smells are able to brighten our moods and lift our spirits. Take for example the smell of freshly cut grass in the summer, or a warm cup of coffee on a dreary winter's evening, even the smell of perfume pricks up our smell receptors and changes our mood in an instant.
"So how does this relate to consoles?" is probably what you're thinking. If the technology proves to be successful, then Microsoft and Sony could use the technology on their next consoles in the next 3-5 years. In its current form the ‘scent delivery system’ can hold up to 8 small pots of wax which have had smells chemically embedded and are released into the air via four fans. If the technology does make a go in the console arena you may be loading up the likes of Far Cry 2 and finding yourself immersed in the aromas from the African jungle environment, or the stench of burning rubber as you tear up the track on your favourite racer.
As exciting and revolutionary as this all may sound, it's not without its problems. With only eight slots for smells at the moment, it would be difficult to implement the technology in consoles without it becoming a gimmicky feature of the next gen. With consoles generally getting smaller and more compact, adding more to them in the way of features isn't an easy task to embark on. To be successful on consoles at least 5 different smells per game would definitely add variety and longevity to the system, and drum up the interest of gamers. If game developers got in on the act, and a recognised system for distributing the varying smells for their games was put in place, then a big future for the technology could be on the horizon.