Scientists from Japan have been working on creating printer ink with a difference.The experts, from Keio University, are developing a printer – complete with printer cartridges – that can produce actual scents on pages.However, work on the technology is still continuing and improvements will have to be made to the device and to the printer ink involved.
Currently, the fragrances produced only last for a short time before dissipating.
The printer is a modified version of a Canon inkjet, but instead of using regular printer cartridges, it relies on shooting jets of scented fluid onto paper.
Commenting on the printer, Kenichi Okada from the university said the “ink-jet printer’s ability to eject tiny pulses of material” was ideal for the job, because it allows for precise control in terms of managing the scent.
So far, aromas like lemon, mint and vanilla have been used in the device.
Also, apple, cinnamon, grapefruit and lavender have all been trialled by the team.
However, the researchers are a long way off developing a matrix from which many scents can be produced.
After all, mixing fragrances to create others is not easy like it is when dealing with colours.
Also, the experts are having to work out how to make the printer automatically recognise elements of an image and release the appropriate aroma.
Achieving technology that is capable of making objects smell like other things is something that has fascinated scientists for a long time.
Many consumers are familiar with the scratch and sniff offerings that came out in the 1990s.
The products included T-shirts that released a scent when they were scratched by people.
Such items were flawed though in many ways though and a great deal of progress needs to be made before more effective versions of the technology are created.