Hold on, I smell a sweet new tweet. That's the idea behind the oPhone, a device in development equipped with an odor chip for sending and receiving specific smells via phone call, text or social media.
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The oPhone was created by David Edwards, a biomedical engineering professor at Harvard, and his students Rachel Field and Amy Vin. Edwards and his team collaborated with French designers Baptiste Viala and Laurent Mion to produce a working prototype that was displayed at the arts and design center Le Laboratoire in Paris. Hat tip Gizmag.
First, scents are deconstructed by an aroma expert at Le Laboratoire. Then specific aroma profiles are captured and loaded into an "oChip." Each oChip can release thousands of unique odors for 20 to 30 seconds, according to Michigan Technological University, Edwards' alma mater.
Vapor Communications, Edwards' organization working on the device now, first exhibited the oPhone last fall. They're currently working with a Parisian cafe on a way for customers to smell the coffee profiles before they order, Michigan Tech reported. The organization also plans to beta-test the phone at the end of this year before potentially doing a broader release in 2015.
They'll likely have stiff competition. A Japanese company called ChatPerf has a smartphone add-on that puffs out scents and the Scentee app offers aroma cartridges. Likewise I've seen advancements in smell cameras and smell-o-vision.
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Edwards and his team envision being able to use their oPhone to send complex smells to people. He's indicated it could even help Alzheimer's patients recover old memories. But there's a potential downside, too. You could receive a telemarketing call that's really a stinker.
Photo: The oPhone can send specific odors to recipients using Bluetooth and smartphone attachments. Credit: Vapor Communications.