Every weekend, I inevitably open up Instagram and see an onslaught of (sometimes tantalizing, often eye roll-worthy) brunch pics and wonder: how can I one-up these amateur food photogs with some next-level snaps of my eggs benedict? On Monday, an IndieGogo campaign launched for a futuristic tool to seriously up your food photography game. Enter: the oPhone and oSnap, a respective device and app that together allow users to send scent messages alongside photos.
Created by Harvard professor David Edwards and student Rachel Fields, the oSnap app allows you to select a combination of user-selected scents that are made and ultimately inhaled through the oPhone machine. Eight base aromas (made from chemicals) can be used in one message, while the app has a total of 32 different base scents—allowing 300,000 possible scents. Base aromas include smoky, onion, bergamot, green vegetable, and coffee. Edwards described the options like how "one uses a flavor wheel," in an article on NewScientist.
When a user receives a message on the oSnap, they tap the app and see an image. To smell the related scents, they have to be within Bluetooth range of an oPhone, which is filled with small chips that release the chemical-based aromas when air is passed over them. The chips work like replaceable ink cartridges, and the team is starting with oChip families, or "aroma families" that focus on "specific foodie and coffee experiences," says Edwards.
The oPhone, which looks like a mixture between a video game controller and plastic microscope, will cost between $150-200, and if the IndieGogo campaign is a success, it could be on William Sonoma shelves (let's be real: Brookstone and Skymall catalogs) as early as next year. After two days, the team has raised $8,000 out of a $150,000 goal.
"Think of it as a kind of telephone for aromas," the creators wrote on IndieGogo. "With the oPhone, you can now bring complex scent texting into your mobile messaging life, and share sensory experience with anyone, anywhere." The also described the tech like using "an aroma pallette with a paintbrush and canvas. You will want to try your hand at it, or as we say, aroma doodle."
Personally, I won't be making any "aroma doodles" any time soon—too many immature ideas come to mind—but the possibility of sending photos of some dank BBQ to my twin brother across the country certainly sounds appealing to me.
Read more about the oPhone over at its IndieGogo page here.