Smell You Later! Scented Messaging Is Here

By Joelle Renstrom | 7 years ago

paris hotspotJust when you thought people couldn’t possibly spend more time on their phones, a startup in Cambridge (of course) has come up with a way to add a little more dimension to messages by integrating them with scents.

Want friends to salivate over the garlic shrimp you’re about to devour, or your super-sized steaming mug of joe? A new iPhone app called oSnap allows users to attach scents to photos. oSnap is currently available for free download from the Apple App Store. The app allows people to take and make oNotes, which are photos, texts, and audio files that are tagged with scents and then shared. Much like tagging in Facebook, a user can click anywhere on the screen and add one of the various “confection” (butter, caramel, brown sugar, etc.) or “plantation” scents (balsamic, cocoa bean, yogurt). At the moment, it seems that people need a Facebook account to use the app, which already has people complaining, but that may change. The “aroma vocabularies” will increase, and developer Vapor Communications will continue expanding the available options.


Vapor Communications has its sights set on more than these smelly texts. They’re angling for an entire oMedia library of music, movies, and books that users can link to various aromas. They’re also launching their own hardware, the oPhone. Until the oPhone comes out, users have to access oPhone hotspots (only currently available in New York and Paris, but the Cambridge hotspot is coming soon) in order to experience the scents associated with the image or text. In order to fund the device, Vapor Communications has launched an Indiegogo campaign, and contributors can snag an oPhone for $149, 25% off the eventual retail price. In conjunction with the campaign’s kickoff, the first scented email message was sent from Paris to New York on Tuesday — macaroons and champagne. Reports indicate that, while the scent perhaps didn’t perfectly evoke the food and drink it tried to capture, it did indeed work and send something rather chocolate-like.

Of course, the first thing I think of is the various inappropriate and disgusting (but also hilarious!) uses of such an app. Has someone been shirking diaper-changing duties? Did the neighbor forget to clean up after the dog? Has the roommate left last month’s dinner in the fridge too long? These scented texts would be way more fun than the “these flowers smell great!” texts, no?