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The 1950s idea of films with an extra dimension in realism - added smells - has moved a step closer with the filing of a US patent for a device which enables consumer electronic products to produce smells.

Indian inventor Sandeep Jaidka has obtained a patent for digital signal processing technology that enable a device that produces smells - or even weather effects - to be synchronised with movies or music.

Jaidka told Reuters he needed about just over $100,000 to develop the "device and a process" as defined by US patent 6,152,829, more information on which is available on the Patent Office site here.

The patent explains: "The output of the electronic decoder is connected to an actuating device that releases gas/perfumes or energises a heating/cooling device to produce the desired effects corresponding to the scene appearing on the screen.

"The process includes recording the coded signals for producing effect of waterfall, rain, garden, mountain, desert, animals, kitchen and river scenes or advertisement either separately or embedded on the sound signals on the movie film or video tape."

Jaidka, whose previous inventions include a device which triggers an oxygen supply in a polluted environment, says a working prototype of his device is still in development, to which you can add a dozen caveats about the difficulty of creating a practical, and commercial viable, product. ®

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