The Future Is Here, and It Involves Coffee-Scented Text Messages

By Noah Kaufman |

© Joel Veak

Over the summer, Harvard professor David Edwards proposed a fanciful idea: What if we could send each other smells via our smartphones? Today, that idea has finally come to pass.

Edwards and Vapor Communications, the company behind the project, have actually expanded quite a bit from their original proposal. Initially, they suggested that people would be able to tag photos with a scent. Enjoying the best cappuccino you’ve ever had? Snap a picture and send it to a friend along with the accompanying smell of fresh coffee. To accomplish this, they created the oPhone—a futuristic-looking piece of hardware that has the capability of producing some 300,000 different smells.

The new oPhone Duo.

But Edwards has added to the oPhone a whole lineup of ways to enhance experiences with smell. You can smell the woods in a fairy tale using oBooks, wear personalized scents with oClothing and even listen to and smell oSongs. The team believes that with smell to accompany it, music can transport listeners in a whole new way.

And all of this has finally moved from the experimental stage to the commercial. The olfactorily curious can buy a oPhone for $300 or an oBracelet—the first piece of oClothing—for just $10.

The oBracelet.

You can find more details about just how smelly the future can be here or see the first performance of an oSong at Edwards’s Le Laboratoire in Cambridge, Massachusetts, starting April 17. 

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