Imagine watching a football match on a TV that not only shows the players in three dimensions but also lets you experience the smells of the stadium and maybe even pat a goal scorer on the back.
Japan plans to make this futuristic television a commercial reality by 2020 as part of a broad national project that will bring together researchers from the government, technology companies and academia.
The targeted "virtual reality" television would allow people to view high-definition images in 3D from any angle, in addition to being able to touch and smell the objects being projected upwards from a screen parallel to the floor.
"Can you imagine hovering over your TV to watch Japan versus Brazil in the finals of the World Cup as if you are really there?" asked Yoshiaki Takeuchi, director of research and development at Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.
While companies, universities and research institutes around the world have made some progress on reproducing 3D images suitable for TV, developing the technologies to create the sensations of touch and smell could prove the most challenging, Takeuchi said in an interview with Reuters.
Researchers are looking into ultrasound, electric stimulation and wind pressure as potential technologies for touch, reports Reuters.