Editor : Michael BROWN, 19 December 2014 Friday – 14:49
The practice of digitally transmitting the scent of perfume, coffee or even nuovelle cuisine via SMS or Instagram will take off next year, Nesta predicted, as part of its annual list of trends it thinks will shape our lives over the coming 12 months.
Smartphones will be sending and receiving scented messages by the end of next year, experts say.
The concept is one of ten emerging technologies forecast by innovation charity Nesta to make it big 2015, with others including life-saving apps and food waste feeding millions of people.
It comes six months after scientists managed to send the smell of champagne and macarons from Paris to New York with an iPhone app using a device called the oPhone Duo.
The system consists of an oSnap app which allows users to create an oNote with a smell created out of a palette of 32 available scents that can be combined in 300,000 possible combinations.
The oNote can then be sent to the oPhone hardware – a device which is able to recreate the smell.
Other technology in this field is the Scentee device, which can release a favourite aroma at the same time as a phone clock alarm or when an individual receives a text message.
It also claims to be able to change the taste of food with its mini air-freshener-like alcohol-based aroma cartridges. A user can select to emit a puff of scent at will using the small plastic device.
City University computing professor Adrian Cheok developed the technology behind Scentee and is now working on a device that will send a magnetic signal to a mouthguard in the back of the throat.
‘The olfactory overload of a Sunday afternoon visit to your local flower market can be texted to a friend a thousand miles away. In 2015, I predict that the ability to digitally transmit smells will hit the mainstream.’
It has been more than half a century since the concept of ‘Smell-O-Vision’ was introduced to cinema audiences, making its first widespread appearance in the 1960 film Scent Of Mystery.
The film opened in three specially-equipped theatres in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles – with the idea being that certain odours would be timed to specific points in the narrative.
But the mechanism did not work properly and audience members complained of a hissing noise accompanying the scents – as well as a delay between the actions and their corresponding smells.
Mr McNorton added: ‘While we’ve turned our noses up at past attempts, I believe 2015 is the year “smell-o-vision” will finally lose its stink.’
Another prediction is of a huge innovation in first aid that will see ambulance trusts incorporate smartphone technology locating local trained first aiders, who can respond instead of paramedics.
It is also claimed that in 2015 enough fruit and vegetables will be diverted from food waste to feed millions of people, through ‘gleaning’ harvest food that would be otherwise left to rot in farms.
Of Nesta’s ten 2014 predictions, one of the most interesting is that there would be an ‘introduction of services that help us improve our lives based on the data that we give away every day’.