The oSnap app lets you smell the roses, literally

Most of us are stuck in offices all day, so there isn’t always time to get out in nature and literally stop and smell the roses. But that doesn’t mean we can’t smell the virtual roses. Yes, soon we could all be sending and receiving photos with scents attached, whether of a field of wildflowers, freshly-baked bread, or a cup of coffee. (Less pleasant smells are thankfully still restricted to vividly-described texts.)

Tomorrow, teams from Vapor Communications in Paris and New York will attempt to send each other scented messages via their oNotes system, which consists of an iPhone app called oSnap and a device called the oPhone. (Get it?) Using the app, the sender takes a photo then tries to determine what they’re smelling (or what smell they want to recreate). Then they add up to eight scent tags from 32 choices, meaning there are over 300,000 smell combinations.

The recipient then plugs their iPhone into their oPhone, which recreates the message’s scent details thanks to its aroma database, pumping out a light spray of the desired smell. Users who don’t have all the kit can go to the website to see images they’ve been s(c)ent and the relevant tags, and then use their imaginations.

It was invented by Harvard professor David Edwards and his former student Rachel Field, who unveiled their prototype in London in late 2013. They have a sense (sorry) that scent-texting (and tweeting, and Instagramming, etc), could become the next big thing, but it seems like a hassle to have to carry an oPhone around to make the most of it. Perhaps Apple could think about integrating a tiny version into the iPhone 6? (There’s still time.)

Image via Rosa Dik 009’s Flickr.

Diane Shipley

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