Harvard professor invents phone that can send 300,000 unique aromas via messages

by Sayan Chakravarty

In the past, we have seen quite a few attempts by scientists to send smell, touch and other physical sensations over the internet or through smartphones, but this might be the most comprehensive effort till now. Developed by David Edwards, who is a professor at Harvard, along with his former student Rachel Field, the device names oPhone is an app-plus-atomizer combo that lets users tag images with scents and send them around the Web. The oPhone will come as a pair of cylindrical shaped receivers with each fitted with scent chips. The scent chips will be capable of creating over 300,000 unique smells and can be replaced much like ink cartridges. A pack of four will cost $20.

The inventor duo plan to launch a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo starting on June 17 and the phones themselves will be available for $149 in preorder mode. Users will be able to download a free app called oSnap on the same day and use it to tag an image with a scent from a select palette of aromas. Hotspots equipped with oPhones in Paris and Cambridge will let people smell the message in the form of an aromatic cloud.