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This Tech Allows Users To Smell Movies, Video Games, And Anime

The appropriately named Aroma Shooter uses ‘digitalized’ smells to enhance users' anime, movie watching experience

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An image shows Cyberpunk: Edgerunners'  Lucy getting sniffed by a giant nose.
Reader, I hate how quickly I was able to make this image.
Image: Trigger / CD Projekt Red / Netflix / Kotaku / artpartner-images (Getty Images)

It’s official: the ability to smell shows and movies is finally here.

The cutting-edge tech in question, called the Aroma Shooter, was shown off at CES 2023 today by a Japanese-based developer Aromajoin. The Aroma Shooter can “digitalize aromas and create a new communication channel in the same family as text, images, and audio.” If you aren’t in attendance at CES this weekend, fear not, you can check out its demo video below:

Smell-O-Vsion-type products aren’t anything new to the entertainment medium. If you’re a millennial like myself, you may have experienced the 4D gimmick in action for the 2003 theatrical release of Rugrats Go Wild! that featured The Wild Thornberrys. However, instead of scratching a parchment of scented paper while watching a film or movie, Aroma Shooter…well, shoots smells at your face.

Aromajoin

The Aroma Shooter involves the use of two pieces of tech: the shooter itself and the aroma cartridge. Rather than using oils or mist, the aroma cartridge is a solid-state device that can apparently “toggle between scents in 0.1 second and blend scent permutations instantly with no lingering sensations.” When combined with the aroma shooter, a device PCGamer described as a wireless gadget that sucks in air and creates the scent fired toward your nose, you’ve got some sniff-able media.

As the video above demonstrates, users can program the Aroma Shooter’s over 100 scents to blast fragrances at their face holes in sync with a TV show, VR game, or anime like Quintessential Quintuplets or Cyberpunk: Edgerunners. For those curious, the featured scents for QQ are cherry blossoms, grapes, and peaches. The Edgerunners demonstration clip featured smoke, caramel, coffee, and clove bud. Chances are they’re still figuring out what cyberpsychosis smells like. You can also create your own scented viewing experience by linking a YouTube video to the software and marking timecodes when your techo-snoofs occur.

While I think the tech is impressive in passing, I’m not exactly sold on the daily practical use of it. Although the thought of programming the Aroma Shooter to its maximum capacity to smell bomb my apartment with gourmet food from any given Studio Ghibli movie is tempting, I can’t see myself using this ridiculously expensive device. I’m a lazy bitch who has enough of an imagination to carry me through watching anime characters gorge themselves on food that looks better than real life. Should the day ever come where Elon Musk’s Neuralink chips take off and the smells of my childhood memories are paywalled (you know he’s thought about it), then we’ll talk.

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Here comes the catch: The Aroma Shooter 2 packaged with six aroma cartridges will run you $998. Should you have enough disposable income to require more individual cartridges, they’re gonna cost you $54 each. Currently, Aromajoin is working on crowdfunding a VR/AR attachment for its smell-o-rific device, as well.