Smell this! New app lets you send scented text messages
A new invention called the oPhone allows users to send a scented text message. (oPhone + oNotes/ Facebook)
Andrea Janus, CTVNews.ca
Published Thursday, June 19, 2014 11:49AM EDT
We likely hit “peak brunch” on Instagram long ago; if you’ve seen one Mayfair-tinted stack of pancakes, you’ve seen ‘em all. But what if you could send your friends a photo that captures more than how your breakfast looks but, perhaps more importantly, how it smells?
“Scent-based mobile messaging” is the latest invention of Harvard professor David Edwards and a couple of former students. Edwards and his team have created a device called an oPhone and an iPhone app called oSnap that allow users to send and receive “electronic aroma messages.”
How does it work?
A user takes a picture using oSnap, and then tags the shot from a list of more than 300,000 possible scents, such as butter or chocolate or thyme. The user then sends it as an oNote to friends, who can “play” it on their oPhone.
Words and images cannot adequately describe how something smells, Edwards says in a video explaining his new invention.
“Biologically, we respond to aroma in a powerful way that is very unlike how we respond to words, images and sounds,” he said.
“The word ‘croissant’ may grab my attention, but smelling one makes me hungry.”
For now, users can download oSnap for free to take and tag photos. But the oPhone is not yet commercially available, and the team has started an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds.
As of this writing, the campaign raised nearly $9,000 after just four days. However, that’s still far short of the $150,000 goal.
Right now, delivering an oNote can only be done at one of two locations in the world: at Edwards’ laboratory in Paris, or at New York’s Museum of Natural History, beginning in July. Users can pre-order an oPhone at the Indiegogo site for a base price of US$149. Estimated delivery date is April 2015.
“They say a picture is worth a thousand words,” Edwards said. “Now, a scent is worth a thousand pictures.”