First transatlantic 'scent message' exchanged between New York City and Paris

Creators of the oPhone, a the new smell-based messaging platform, claim it can replicate more than 300,000 scents using its palette of 32 basic aromas

If an iPhone app that lets you send just one word to your friends seems ridiculous, how do you judge a new communication platform that lets users exchange ‘scent messages’ across the Atlantic?

This is the oPhone, a crowdfunded gadget that was used to send smells between New York City and Paris earlier this week. Created by David Edwards, a Harvard professor, and Rachel Field, the oPhone uses a ‘palette’ of 32 smells to fabricate more than 300,000 unique scents.

An iPhone app works with the oPhone to let users take photos and then tag them with smells, selecting primary and secondary ‘notes’ to compose complex aromas just like a printer creates detailed images from only three basic colours.

The first demonstration of the device had collaboratorsin Paris send scent-tagged photos of typical French delicacies: champagne and macaroons.

“With the oPhone, people will be able to share with anyone, anywhere, not just words, images and sounds, but sensory experience itself,” said Edwards, CEO of Vapor Communications – the company behind the platform.

The oPhone is currently looking for funding on Indiegogo, with a pair of devices (because what good is just one) available for $149.

The creators are looking to raise a minimium of $150,000, though they promise that if they reach a target of $5 million (bare in mind they've not yet cracked $10,000) they'll create a device that automatically detects and tags smells. Somehow we're not sure if its responsible to offer such a power on iPhone users the world over.

Read more: Apps that can communicate touch, taste and smell: A taste of what’s to come
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