Now Possible: Email You Can Smell

First fragrant message 'scent' across the Atlantic

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 18, 2014 12:55 PM CDT

(Newser) – For the first time, a smell has been sent across the Atlantic. Scientists on Tuesday emailed a fragrant photo from Paris to the the Museum of Natural History in New York. The email featured an image of food (specifically, passion fruit macaroons, notes Yahoo!) and champagne tagged with the corresponding scents; it was received by a new gadget called an oPhone, which fired out the smell, LiveScience reports. "With the oPhone, people will be able to share with anyone, anywhere, not just words, images, and sounds, but sensory experience itself," says Harvard professor David Edwards, who invented the system with Rachel Field.

So how does it work? The sender creates a so-called oNote using an iPhone app dubbed oSnap. The app allows the user to create an appropriate scent by selecting from a combination of 32 basic smells; some 300,000 combinations are possible, according to Edwards. The message is sent to an oPhone, which has an "aromatic vocabulary," as Edwards' company, Vapor Communications, puts it: It's got embedded chips that release the selected combination of scents; each lasts about 10 seconds, and "play" one after the other in the event there's more than one. The oPhones are set for demonstration in Paris cafes soon, and are also being sold for $149 via indiegogo. (The million-dollar question: Can it transmit the scent of hongeo?)

The smelling system, as displayed at indiegogo.   (indiegogo)
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