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First transatlantic 'scent message' sent from Paris to NYC

First Transatlantic 'Scent Message' Sent From Paris To NYC

We all know with smartphones you can share images and videos from anywhere in the world. (Via Flickr / dvpfagan)

But what if, in addition to sight and sound, you could share the aroma of freshly-brewed coffee, the smell of a tender and juicy steak or maybe the fragrance of a bouquet of flowers - or anything else that tickles the nostrils? (Via Flickr / waferboard, Jon Gales, Ronald Saunders)

Well, now you can. In a slightly different way. The creators of a new technology called "OPhone" sent the first ever transatlantic "scent message" from Paris to New York City containing - what else - some French delicacies. Here's how it works.

The scent-transmitting device uses an app called "OSnap" which allows users to take a picture and then mix and match the image with "32 primitive aromas" - kind of the same way an artist uses a palate, only using smells instead of colors. The user then sends an "ONote" - basically an email - to the recipient's device which puffs out the customized aroma. (Via YouTube / Vapor Communications, Twitter / @rachelacarr)

As for combinations, you'll have your hands full - or, nostrils, anyway. LiveScience quotes a company representative who says the tubular device can "produce more 300,000 unique aromas."

Harvard University Professor and Vapor Communications CEO David Edwards said his new device enters unchartered territory. (Via YouTube / Forum Network )

NBC reports "OPhone introduces a new kind of sensory experience into mobile messaging, a form of communication that until now has remained consigned to our immediate local experience of the world."

As great as this new scent transmitter seems to be, there are some limitations.

A writer for Wired said at least for now scent seekers will have to hit up one of three "hot spots" to receive their smell mail. There's one at Le Laboratorie in Paris, a second at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and a third zone scheduled to open in October in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

If you're eager to grab an OPhone yourself, you can pre-order starting June 17, but you'll have to wait until next Spring to get one.

Join the discussion

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onionson June 19 2014 at 5:34 AM

Great, they just gave my big brother another way to send a fart.

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3 replies
MYSELF June 19 2014 at 11:29 AM


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Kate June 19 2014 at 11:57 AM

Just what the world needs. Another way to put artificial scents into the air. The average human being has such a poor sense of smell anyway, they'll never be able to come up with something that remotely smells like what they are trying to duplicate.

'Noses' all over the world (people like parfumiers) must be laughing their heads off.

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Ernie June 19 2014 at 1:16 PM

Wow, this is sure to catch on. But flowers will be only one "great" smell. Being a little "dirty old man" conjures up some others. But it could spice up times when partners are apart. I can imagine - can you? Bacon is good for die-hard bacon fanatics like me, engine smoke would be another for thousands of hot rod enthusiasts, and your ladies' favorite cologne would probably be number one (at least until I get one.) Watch for my next comment when these creatures become really available. Let your imagination run wild.

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vcoratello June 23 2014 at 6:33 PM

It's "uncharted" territory, not "unchartered".

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