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oPhone to introduce 'smelting'

By Nicole Weddington     Mar 18, 2014 in Technology
Set for Beta launch in July, the oPhone is making its initial offering of sweet smelling messaging to take communication with meaning to new levels.
Creator Dr. David Edwards, biomedical engineer at Harvard and founder of Le Laboratoire, hopes to bring "smell" messaging, or "smelting" to the masses.
In this day and age of digital awareness and living, we rely heavily on electronics to get thing done. Technology advancements in telecommunications have us interacting across the globe, effortlessly, anywhere, anytime. We can talk and text freely, and videoconference with ease. Yet, these forms of communication are limited by senses of sight and sound.
oPhone aims to round out the communications experience with the sense of smell, which is one step below owning an actual spy mobile phone.
The digital age has made great strides in increasing the volume of communication we are able to complete. However, the quality has not kept up. Yes, we can talk. Yes, we can text, and both at rates we may never have imagined even just ten years ago. Topping both is the ability to videoconference with people anywhere in the world from anywhere, over a small device that fits in your hand.
Now, imagine explaining to someone halfway around the globe about a new recipe you just mastered, and how wonderful the aromas were in your kitchen. oPhone claims to deliver just that.
The oPhone comes equipped with a device that is filled with scents, triggered by “Ochips.” These scents are heated when triggered and then released to give the user a brief exposure to the scent. Sources of the scent are then quickly cooled so that the sensation is clearly separated from the next scent.
Details on how the scents are triggered have not been disclosed, but the description of the product claims that it can mix and match scents using four Ochips to create a total of 356 aromas.
The initial launch in July will go to a small group of coffee aficionados, and it will come with a social networking app. This beta group of user will be able to create and send smell notes that will be prepackaged and ready for use. These smell notes can be sent to anyone and will show as a text message. The text message can then be “decoded” into a scent at any of the hotspots around the city of Boston, which is the location of the beta offering. Decoding will emit the aroma from an oPhone device.
Edwards hopes that the technology-savvy will take this concept and push it forward. Many are looking for a way to express themselves that is not available through mere text. Trend analyst and editor of 'Green Futures' Anna Simpson states, "we're reaching a limit with what we can do with text data, and there is the potential to connect more deeply and personally through smell."
The use of scents not only enhances the message being sent, but can prove to have healthy benefits as well.
“Biologically we respond powerfully to aroma, so if we become familiar with the design of aromatic communication we might be able to say things we couldn't before," says Edwards.
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