The clever people at Harvard have invented the world's first device which enables you to transmit smells
The clever people at Harvard have invented the world's first device which enables you to transmit smells

Have you ever had the burning desire to get someone to smell something when they're not with you? Well, now you can.

A Harvard professor has created the ability for smells to be sent electronically to another location. Yesterday he sent the world's first scented text message, which smelled of champagne and passion fruit macaroon, from New York to Paris.

This is possible using a free iPhone app called oSnap, which allows you to take a photo of an object and then tag it in the app with some aroma notes.

There are 32 scents, which can be mixed together to create over 300,000 different notes. The scents include butter, balsamic vinegar, cocoa bean and fermented yoghurt.

Once you've made your smell, you send an oNote by text, email, Facebook and Twitter to another user.

Scented hotspot device

The oPhone Duo with the oNotes app
The clever people at Harvard have invented the world's first device which enables you to transmit smellsONotes

In order for your recipient to receive the smell, their iPhone will need to be connected via Bluetooth to the oPhone Duo, a new smelling station hotspot device that replicates the exact smell you programmed into the app, using oChips, which are something like ink cartridges for aroma.

"Sometimes we need a reminder from our other senses" said David Edwards, head of Artscience Labs and a faculty director at Harvard University.

"I can say to you that this coffee has notes of chocolate, almond butter and strawberry jam and you get a pretty good idea of what I mean, but no way of evoking a scent can produce the emotion of perceiving the scent itself."

Working together with Harvard mechanical engineering graduate Rachel Field since 2012, Edwards has designed the oPhone Duo and accompanying iPhone app as a commercial platform that anyone can use to communicate with smell all over the world.

Indiegogo campaign

oSnap app
You can tag objects with aroma "notes" in the oSnap iPhone appONotes

The device is now available at the reduced pre-order price of $149 (£87.92) on Indiegogo, and the team hopes to raise $150,000 by 31 July. So far, 34 funders have raised $7,626.

The creators have said that if they can achieve $5m in funding, they will invent an "Aromatic Camera" that can detect objects in images photographed and tag them automatically with aromas.

Campaign supporters are invited to attend the oPhone launch party in Paris at Le Laboratoire on 19 June at 7pm, and the product will be delivered commercially in April 2015.

Until then, users can have fun using the app to create new scents by tagging images with oSnap and marking the image with up to 16 different high and low aroma notes.

"They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Now, a scent is worth a thousand pictures," said Edwards.