oPhone - Scent-Based Mobile Messaging

By: on July 15, 2014
$149 - $199
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oPhone and its app oSnap believe them when they say some of the strongest memories we have are those we associate with scents. That around 90% of tasting is smelling. That odors elicit emotions in a way that sights and sounds cannot. When I think of this rat that once died in my mama's kitchen cupboard that we didn't find for a week, I believe them too. oPhone, though, looks at scent from the pleasant end of the smelling spectrum. It aims to bring what its creators term "complex scent texting" to mobile messaging with iPhones. In other words, I'd be able to text my favorite barista the smell of the ocean breeze I'm walking through without her by my side, or my friend Cornelius the aromas of the BBQ brisket I'm eating on my 2014 Meat Tour of Texas.

oPhone takes the experiences of walking into a coffee roaster's cafe or down a sidewalk blooming with jasmine and condenses them into circular cartridges called oChips. oChips fit inside the oPhone device and, in combination with the oSnap app, can diffuse over 300,000 unique aromas. The oPhone DUO uses 8 oChips, each of which contains 4 aromas, to work with 32 primitive scents. Consider them a palette of olfactory paints that users can intermingle to create their own "aroma doodles." oChips each have about the same longevity as a standard ink cartridge. Currently, the oPhone team (lead by a Harvard professor and his former student) has oChip families centered around certain foodie and coffee experiences. If their project is successful, they'll diversify the collection.

oPhone hardware consists of a countertop base with an iPhone cradle for connection, and two "rods" that hold the oChips. The oSnap app is free from the AppStore. oPhone DUOs run as an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign through July 31, 2014.