Just the other day, my son was asking me if you could send a smell to another person. We won’t get into what type of smell he was talking about, but I told him no. It doesn’t happen often, but I was dead wrong. A startup from Cambridge, MA called Vapor Communications has already achieved the ability to send scents via the oPhone, and its now getting ready to take digitizing scents to the next level with the oCase.
This might sound like a downgrade because the oPhone name gives you the impression that it’s an actual phone, but it’s not. The oPhone (pictured below) is actually a separate device that works in conjunction with the oSnap app to send oNotes. This device can receive oNotes with up to 300,000 different scents.
After a successful Indiegogo campaign, which enabled 10,000 people to try out the oPhone for $149, Vapor Communications wants to commercialize the concept with the oCase. The oCase will work the same way, but it doesn’t require the bulky oPhone device, so people will be able to receive scents on-the-go, and at any time.
Here’s a quick video showing the reactions of a couple of people who tried out the oPhone at the American Natural History Museum last July.
Digitizing scents is already a huge accomplishment, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg, as can be seen in Vapor’s partnership with the Center for Assessment Technology and Continuous Health (CATCH). CATCH was co-founded and is led by Dennis Ausiello, the Jackson distinguished professor of clinical medicine and chief emeritus of medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. Ausiello wants to use the oCase, and the entire oPlatform, to study the relationship between a person’s health state and their scent sensitivity. This could lead to a new generation of scent therapies to treat metabolic and cognitive diseases.
The oCase was on display for the first time on October 7 at a dinner held in honor of the Catalan chef Ferran Adria at Café ArtScience in Cambridge, MA. The plan is for the oCase to launch next spring. At that time Vapor Communications will launch oNotes 2.0, which will bring the oSnap functionality into the oNotes app. For now the app will only be available on the iPhone and iPad.
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If you can’t wait until spring for the oCase, the original oPhone will become available to all this November for $199 at onotes.com.
It’s pretty amazing to think that soon we will be able to transmit scents to our noses the same way that sound gets delivered to our ears.