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The New Smart Phone Technology You Have to Smell to Believe


Next year, instead of flowers you may be able to just send the scent.

A Paris laboratory has introduced a new kind of smart phone that will send scents to the person on the other end of the call - the technological breakthrough is called the oPhone.

The oPhone device receives messages from a Bluetooth or Smartphone device and releases the odor. The oPhone device receives messages from a Bluetooth or Smartphone device and releases the odor (Image via Michigan Tech News).

The device allows "oNotes" (the team's moniker for odors) to be sent via Bluetooth and smartphone attachments to the recipients oPhone and releases aromas that are generated through a combination of computer chips plugged into the device.

David Edwards, the lead scientist on the project who collaborated with an-all female team of student scientists who created virtual aromas, brought two students to Paris to work on the project and he said initially, they had no one had a clue if there was even a market for the product. Now, several scent labs eager to use the technology.

You'd want them even more if you could smell them right now. (Shutterstock). You'd want them even more if you could smell the chocolate right now. (Shutterstock).

The feat is achieved by accurate scent reproduction locked inside the chips. Odors are first captured in wax after they are perfected using "The Nose"-- an aroma expert at Le Lab, Marlène Staiger -- who deconstructs the scents, reports Michigan Tech News.

"We create unique aromatic profiles," says Blake Armstrong, director of business communications at Vapor Communications, an organization operating out of Le Laboratorie (Le Lab) in Paris. "We put that into the oChip that faithfully renders that smell."

Edwards said that the initial four chips that will come with the first oPhones can be combined into thousands different odors -- produced for 20 to 30 seconds -- creating what he calls "an evolution of odor."

It's a fun concept, but the oPhone may find serious users. Edwards says the device might eventually help people who have lost some of their memory. "We think there could be help for Alzheimer's patients, related to the decline and loss of memory and olfactory sensation," he says.

Scent is certainly a powerful agent in our everyday ability to recall memory. Have you ever smelled your loved one's shirt when they were away on a long trip? Or thought about your Grandmother when you smelled fresh baked cookies? The oPhone may be the perfect gift for a family member who is missing that special someone.

Of course, one only has to work with a handful of pranksters to know this same technology is vulnerable to hacking and funky-smelling horseplay.

Hopefully, at least on Valentine's Days in the future, the oPhone's scent power will only be used for good, and not evil odor delivery.

(H/T: Science Daily)


Follow Elizabeth Kreft (@elizabethakreft) on Twitter.

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