A new smartphone product called Ophone sends aromas like popcorn, chocolate and coffee to mobile phones to enhance and revolutionize the communications experience.
Hardly a new idea, aroma inspired messaging and advertising has been around a while, mostly as a complicated novelty difficult to deliver on a large scale.
But an engineering team from Harvard (yes, that Harvard) has perfected the technique and hopes to add the sense of smell to hearing and seeing messages sent through social networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
The new device is a series of four canisters containing various chemicals, set up at the receiving end, which, when mixed in one of thousands of combinations, delivers the smell of whatever subject is being discussed, be it a cup of morning coffee, chocolate pudding for a snack or a bowl of popcorn before settling down to watch a movie on the couch.
Beyond advertising, it’s hard to imagine what this app will truly be useful for. Some odors were never meant to be smelled for too long, if at all, so it’s possible Ophone can be used for some friendly pranking.
There’s a bit of snake oil salesmanship here. Using the product requires setting up and refilling the cannisters periodically. Will users remember the spray can next time they’re at the app store?
It’s hard not to feel like this is all some kind of cosmic joke. Is it the Harvard Lampoon who’s really behind this technology?
Of all the things the brains at Harvard yard should be involved with advancing, developing and promoting, it seems weird that giving the world a way to “smell” a phone call is a top priority. Has cancer been cured yet?
Oh well, it’s here. Smelling an incoming phone call will take some getting used to if this technology takes off.
And to think, we thought the guy who texted in the middle of a movie was annoying…