Send Smells Instead Of Texts With The oPhone

Image via Vapor Communications

In a new wave of potentially expensive, yet most likely useless technology that will soon become a simple gimmick, the oPhone is a sophisticated smell-messaging phone. Dr. David Edwards, a biomedical engineer at Harvard and founder of Le Laboratoire, which is known for producing radical sensory devices, is the creator of the oPhone.

Biologically we respond powerfully to aroma, so if we become familiar with the design of aromatic communication we might be able to say things we couldn’t before,” said Edwards in an interview with CNN.

The device, which is set to enter beta testing in July, will be given to a few select coffee aficionados. The smells are created by an oChip, which offers 365 aroma combinations. A free app—because every new product has an app—allows users to compose and send a smell note by text or email.

MIT electrical engineer Eyal Shahar designed the oChips, or aroma containers. They work by releasing the aroma when they are heated by the touch of a button. The device quickly cools to keep smells distinct.

For those unlucky few who don’t have an oPhone, the message can be downloaded from aroma hotspots that will first be launched in Boston.

Another aim of the oPhone, and other aroma devices, is possible healthcare applications. Certain aromas are beneficial to the mind and body, and the oPhone is just the latest iteration to wade its way into the market.

Call it smell-o-vision 2.0.

Our motto is ‘aroma tells a thousand pictures,'” said Edwards.

Edwards hopes that the oPhone will usher in a new method of communication. With the ability to add smells to messages and pictures, sharing experiences with smell adds a new dimension to the way we communicate our experiences to one another.

An image of a delicious meal can be shared in both picture and smell. A photo on the beach brings the sweet salty smell of the ocean with it as well.

We’re reaching a limit with what we can do with text data, and there is the potential to connect more deeply and personally through smell,” said Anna Simpson, trend analyst and editor of Green Futures.