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In Japan, signs are smelled as well as seen

Digital signage emits scents to attract customers.

NTT Communications

After the introduction of scented phones, it was inevitable that more technology playing to the olfactory glands would make its way to the public. Yet we didn't anticipate seeing it put to use in commercial signage.

NTT Communications is doing just that in Tokyo, where it's been experimenting with "its latest aroma-emitting digital sign technology, called 'Kaoru Digital Signage,'" according to Pink Tentacle. And its test site is one of the most significant venues in Japanese culture: a pub. Outside the Kirin City Beer Hall are 19-inch displays that provide aromas to match particular images. But for some reason, rather than the smell of hops and barley, they're emitting such scents as lemon and orange. Go figure.

One interesting technical aspect of the displays is its control via the Web; instructions for particular types of fragrances and their concentration levels can be dictated remotely to cover as much as 5,400 square feet. Which makes us think that NTT had better invest in some security, because the last thing they'd want would be a hacker messing around with this stuff.