Display Technology of Images with Scents and Its Psychological Evaluation

Display Technology of Images with Scents and Its Psychological Evaluation

Akira Tomono (Tokai University, Japan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2521-1.ch022
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Scent is an important component of every individual’s real life; it has many psychological and physical effects. Therefore, if a visual image is presented along with a matching scent, we expect it will possibly carry more detailed information and be perceived as a more realistic sensation than it would have on its own. In order to do so, it is necessary to solve some problems. First, the qualities for a device to be able to integrate a scent with an image are discussed. Second, a new method in which scents are emitted through a display screen in the direction of a viewer in order to enhance the reality of visual images is described. Third, the psychological effects on a viewer when scents are integrating with images are described. The authors investigated the viewing experiences and eye catching effects when applied to movies, a digital-signage, and virtual reality.
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Many researchers have studied high-intensity visual displays, such as large and high-definition screens, and the control of fields of sound. However, scent is also an important component of every individual’s real life sensory experience, and we know that scents have many psychological and physiological effects (Ayabe, et al., 2008). Therefore, if a visual image is presented along with a matching scent, we might expect that it will carry more detail and seem more realistic than it would have on its own. For instance, by presenting a picture of grass on a large screen, a real scent of grass comes to a viewer with the sound and the air of the wind. The viewer would be attracted to the picture on the screen and feel as if he or she was in the picture of the grass. In addition, by adding a scent to a commercial video, it will attract a viewer’s eyes to the video, and a person will remember the contents displayed on the screen for a relatively long time. By doing so, the additional value from adding a scent will increase the value of the contents.

Such audiovisual images with scents are called KANSEI multimedia, and various applications have been researched recently (Nakamoto, et al., 2008). KANSEI is Japanese word that means sensibility and feeling. It is necessary to solve some of the following problems in order to employ scent manipulation for this purpose. First, in the development of a scent presentation device, the ability to switch the scent of a prescribed density at high speed corresponding to changes in the image and present it near the observers' nose is necessary. In short, it is expected to be able to present the scent at a pinpoint location, spatially and temporally. Moreover, it is preferable to use non-wearable equipment in order to appreciate the image for relaxation. Second, for the scent discharge control, it is necessary to select the image scene that should present the scent, prepare an appropriate scent, and link the scent to the image as if the scent were being discharged from the displayed object. Third, in the psychological evaluation of images with scents, it is required for KANSEI multimedia to select its effective application field and clarify its effects, and also to discuss the ways of presenting appropriate or inappropriate scents and its psychological effects. There are two methods for the evaluation of images with scents: (1) a psychological method of asking subjects for subjective judgment by questionnaire, and (2) an objective measurement method using a biological response measuring device. It is required to improve the assessment accuracy by combining both methods.

This chapter introduces the authors' approach to these problems as follows:

  • The meaning of scent presentation with an image is described.

  • New olfactory display method is explained which can present scents through a display screen so that an object with a scent can be expressed with realistic sensation.

  • Experiments of examining the psychological effects (such as realistic sensation and eye-catching property) when a scent is presented together with a sentence or image is described.

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