We’ve all used the line “Can you hear me now?” a million and a half times, wondering if our BFF on the other line is catching all the gossip we are dishing. Thanks to a genius Harvard professor, now it seems we will find ourselves asking, “Can you smell me now?” instead.
Word on the street is that Professor David Edwards is basically the new Willy Wonka, opening our world up to the possibility of pairing smells with words and images. With the help of one of his former students, Edwards has created the oPhone, a pair of cylindrical receivers that house scent chips. These small, replaceable guys are super similar to ink cartridges, except they have the ability to create over 300,000 different smells. The oPhone will eventually allow users to send aromatic texts, called oNotes, and associate scents with almost any kind of communication.
Until the oPhone goes into production, the plan is for there to be oPhone hotspots (see above) where people can go to smell the messages they’ve sent or received in the form of an aromatic cloud. Basically, you would use a free app called oSnap to tag images to scents before uploading them to the Internet or sending them via text to your buddies. Then your friends could visit a hotspot to download and sniff. The app will be available for download early this summer, and the first hotspot will open up in Cambridge in July.
If the oPhone gets through its development stages, we could be sending each other sweet aromas all day long. Imagine your friend in Italy tagging a spicy scent to a picture of a deliciously awesome plate of pasta, or your friend in Napa not only posting an image of the winery she’s visiting, but tagging the nose on that glass of chardonnay.
Is all of this smelling good to you? Mark your calendar. oPhones will be available for preorder on June 17 via crowdfunding platform Indiegogo, and they will be priced at $149 until the campaign ends on July 31. After that, oPhones will spike to a retail price of $200. The scent chips will be packaged in fours and are set to cost $20. So get your noses ready. If all goes according to plan, oPhones could be a thing early next year.
(h/t Bloomberg Business Week)
What do you think of scent-focused communication? Think it will catch on? Let us know in the comments below!