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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 February 2007, 11:57 GMT
Fragrant future beckons for web
Net cafe in Seoul, BBC
Many South Koreans are serious video game players

Within a decade the net will be able to deliver smells as fast as it does data, predicts a report.

The forecast came in a wide-ranging survey produced by the South Korean government to find out what consumers will want from future technologies.

It also predicted that by 2012 batteries in mobile phones will last perhaps two months between recharges.

The experts taking part in the survey said that by 2018 robots will be routinely carrying out surgery.

The long-range predictions in the survey came from interviews carried out with about 3,500 technology experts in South Korea.

The country has long been known for its dedication to hi-tech.

Net-using citizens enjoy some of the highest speed broadband connections in the world, widespread high-speed mobile networks and the country's education system makes extensive use of the net to teach and track pupils' progress.

The hi-tech panel behind the report believed that, by 2015, the net will be used to deliver data about smells to a fragrance cartridge sitting next to a computer or other device accessing the net.

By 2015 the report suggests that soldiers will wear bulletproof and waterproof battle dress that can also change its appearance to match its surroundings.

Available soon after, by 2018, will be robots small enough to swim along blood vessels in the human body finding, probing and healing any health problems they come across.

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