Phone that sends smells could help treat Alzheimer's
A new device, called the oPhone, enables odors, called oNotes, to be sent via email, tweet or text to other oPhones using Bluetooth and smartphone attachments. The oPhone, created by scientists at the Harvard School of Engineering, does not work like a normal phone and does not transmit or receive sounds. The researchers think the oPhone may help treat those with Alzheimer’s disease, stress, or other mental disorders.
Instead of looking like a normal phone, the device is cylinder-shaped and consists of a set of disposable oChips that can store and emit hundreds of different odors for between 20 and 30 seconds. The fragrances currently are created by Marlène Staiger, an aroma expert at a laboratory in France called Le Laboratoire. She deconstructs the scents before capturing them in wax.
The researchers believe the oPhone could be used to restore a person’s memory, since smell is a strong stimulator of memory.
The oPhone is currently being tested in conjunction with a coffee shop in Paris, France, called Café Coutume. The aim is to provide customers with a sensory experience. When the product first launches, the oChips will produce over 300 scents, and the hope is to have it one day produce 50,000 or more.