Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scents that are sent: oPhone delivers aromas

Date:
February 11, 2014
Source:
Michigan Technological University
Summary:
A technological breakthrough is on the horizon: a new kind of smart phone that sends scents. Scientists have created the oPhone, which will allow odors -- oNotes -- to be sent, via Bluetooth and smartphone attachments, to oPhones across the state, country or ocean, where the recipient can enjoy American Beauties or any other variety of rose.

Sending scents is closer than you think.
Credit: Image courtesy of Michigan Technological University

Say you forgot about Valentine's Day, and it's too late to send that certain someone some roses. Someday, you'll at least be able to send their scent.

A Paris laboratory under the direction of David Edwards, Michigan Technological University alumnus, has created the oPhone, which will allow odors -- oNotes -- to be sent, via Bluetooth and smartphone attachments, to oPhones across the state, country or ocean, where the recipient can enjoy American Beauties or any other variety of rose.

It can be sent via email, tweet, or text.

Edwards says the idea started with student designers in his class at Harvard, where he is a professor.

"We invite young students to bring their design dreams," he says. "We have a different theme each year, and that year it was virtual worlds."

The all-female team came up with virtual aromas, and he brought two of the students to Paris to work on the project. Normally, he says, there's a clear end in sight, but with their project no one had a clue who was going to pay for the research or if there was even a market.

With the early major buzz produced -- Wired Magazine, National Public Radio, and the British press -- Edwards is sure the market will come.

So, how does the scent technology work?

"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."

The secret is in accurate scent reproduction, locked in those chips plugged into the devices. Odors are first captured in wax after they are perfected using "The Nose"-- an aroma expert at Le Lab, Marlθne Staiger -- who deconstructs the scents.

For example, with coffee, "the most universally recognized aroma," she replaces words like "citrus" or "berry" with actual scents that will be created by ordering molecules and combining them in different percentages.

In fact, Le Lab is working with Cafι Coutume, the premier coffee shop in Paris, housing baristas in their building and using oPhones to create full sensory experiences.

"Imagine you are online and want to know what a particular brand of coffee would smell like," Edwards says. "Or, you are in an actual long line waiting to order. You just tap on the oNote and get the experience."

The result for Coutume, and all oPhone recipients, is a pure cloud of scent close to the device. Perhaps six inches in diameter, it is released and then disappears, retaining its personal and subtle aura.

And there other sectors that could benefit, Edwards says.

"Fragrance houses, of course, culinary, travel, but also healthcare."

He cites an example at an exhibition last fall in London when someone with brain damage came forward. He had lost memory, and with it his sense of taste and smell. The oPhone can help bring that memory back, Edwards says.

"We think there could be help for Alzheimer's patients, related to the decline and loss of memory and olfactory sensation," he says.

He's come a long way from a wayward student who nearly joined the Air Force as an undergraduate at Michigan Tech.

"Anton Pintar [professor emeritus] was my greatest mentor," Edwards says. "I was an unmotivated student until I took an applied math class with him, and he helped me get into grad school."

"I'm definitely applying all that math now!"

Improvements are already planned for an end-of-year Beta release of the scent-transmitting phone to a limited audience. They'll be seeking feedback before a broader release in 2015. The oPhone will eventually be smaller, "more intimate," according to Armstrong.

Form and function are both important to the oPhone, Armstrong says. And there's something more.

"At the end or the day, it helps open up your life to share," Armstrong says. "You can share your world and how you experience it with someone special."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Michigan Technological University. The original article was written by Dennis Walikainen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Michigan Technological University. "Scents that are sent: oPhone delivers aromas." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140211162511.htm>.
Michigan Technological University. (2014, February 11). Scents that are sent: oPhone delivers aromas. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140211162511.htm
Michigan Technological University. "Scents that are sent: oPhone delivers aromas." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140211162511.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Google Patents Contact Lens Cameras; Internet Is Wary

Google Patents Contact Lens Cameras; Internet Is Wary

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) — Google has filed for a patent to develop contact lenses capable of taking photos. The company describes possible benefits to blind people. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Walking, Talking Oil-Drigging Rig

The Walking, Talking Oil-Drigging Rig

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 15, 2014) — Pennsylvania-based Schramm is incorporating modern technology in its next generation oil-drigging rigs, making them smaller, safer and smarter. Ernest Scheyder reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
NSA Leaks Net Pulitzer For Guardian, Washington Post

NSA Leaks Net Pulitzer For Guardian, Washington Post

Newsy (Apr. 14, 2014) — The Pulitzer Prize for Public Service was awarded to The Washington Post and The Guardian for their work covering the NSA's surveillance programs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google Buys Drone Maker, Hopes to Connect Rural World

Google Buys Drone Maker, Hopes to Connect Rural World

Newsy (Apr. 14, 2014) — Formerly courted by Facebook, Titan Aerospace will become a part of Google's quest to blanket the world in Internet connectivity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins