Students from Harvard explore ways to send smells across smartphones

by Gareth Mankoo

We all have those nutty friends who have to just snap every little thing they eat and share it, thus invoking envy from the malnourished. For such, there may be arriving a tool that could fall nothing short of overkill. The students of Harvard University are working on a tool that could send smells across smartphones. Though the foodie shutterbugs will have their fill of documenting all they eat, it is the food and beverage industry that could really make do with something like this. The sense of smell is yet to be widely explored i the age of the mobile phone. The students at work on this endeavor are working under the direction of a Paris-based facility Le Laboratoire, where they are busy creating a smartphone accessory (called Ophone) that could emit odors based on commands received. They believe that this accessory “will permit us to send olfactory messages instantaneously and around the world” as effectively as we send text and voice messages.

Le Laboratoire founder David Edwards explains that the product is being developed “not just to reproduce an existing way of communicating, but to create a new language.” He said, “We wanted to find a way of diffusing smells accurately and coupling those smells with images. It was these two ideas that formed the basis for the Ophone. The device therefore not only makes it possible to accurately receive and share smells but also pair them with images on the screen of an Android device.”

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