It used to be that if you wanted to remind your far-flung paramour of those heady, sun-soaked days spent puttering around on the beaches of Ko Pha Ngan, you had to send a picture. Maybe you’d paint a portrait with your words, if you were feeling especially creative. How passé. We live in the future — that’s why you’ll soon be able to tag your missives with aromas meant to evoke what text and images can’t.
That’s all thanks to what creators David Edwards and Rachel Field call the oPhone, a concept that combines a bit of (forthcoming) odor-spurting hardware and a mobile app that lets you pair send photo messages with smells. The oPhone has been kicking around for a little while now — a prototype was recently demoed at a Wired event in London last year — but the team has brought the nascent product to Indiegogo in hopes of bringing those smell-ssages to the masses. The idea is simple enough: you snap a picture with the companion app (which appears to be iOS only for now) and select a, well, smellscape to go with it. Once that message is delivered, the app triggers the release of those aromas from a curious base station that houses eight interchangeable olfactory reservoirs called oChips.
$149 will net you the requisite base station and starter set of oChips, and future expansion packs will run you about $20. If we’re being real, that’s not an insignificant amount of money to spend on something that seems unabashedly nutso. Then again, it seems the oPhone by design isn’t meant to appeal to the intellect — it wants to tug at your heartstrings through one of our most potent, primal senses. It’s another way for someone you care about to touch you at a distance, and maybe in this age of remote relationships, that’s worth the asking price.