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The Camera That Captures Smells

By FDL on

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The Camera That Captures Smells

The quirky snap of the mobile phone camera is heard throughout life these days, at gigs, on holiday, standing in front of historical monuments and eating at the table - many lives are lived through the lens.

However, as much as we like to capture the imagery of special occasions, the memories linked to images are never as strong as something like those memories we associate with smell. In fact smells are the memories that create the strongest and most direct emotional links in the brain.

We've all had that great moment when we catch the faint whiff of a smell only to have a strong memory come rushing back. A food, drink, the cliche fresh cut grass - smells contain our strongest emotions yet they're actually the furthest away from ever being captured.

Until now that is. Thanks to the work of MA design student Amy Radcliffe who has created The Madeleine - a piece of equipment that's designed to capture smells. In what sounds like something from The Jetsons the machine includes a powerful sucker tube that is placed over the object or area of smell you would like to capture. It then sucks in the scent and forces it to flow over something called an odor trap, this trap is made from a special resin that absorbs the different particles that make up smells.

The time it takes changes depending on the smell a person is trying to capture, for example a strong odor could take just a few minutes where as a more subtle scent such as the smell of a room may take up to 24-hours before its properly captured.

Speaking about her design to The Guardian, Radcliffe said: "It's like a huge electric nose. It processes the particles and produces a graph-like formula that makes up the smell. From this formula you can artificially recreate the precise odour."

It may seem super futuristic, however, it's actually based on techniques from the 70s and is a way off from offering the instant hit that many photography apps  tout.  To develop scents users would be expected to remove the odor trap and take it along to a local odor lab where it would be developed and sold to the user as a liquid scent along with the negatives which will be bronze disc shapes that hold the specific formula for each scent.

It's a super modern, tech sounding invention but watching the prototype in action shows that it's not as far off as it may first appear. We love the idea of being able to capture the smell of a great meal and save it for later but wonder how long it will be before apps like Scentstagram are developed with people firing off scents left, right and centre. We can see a day when a scent is captured at the table, loaded into a mobile scent app before being mashed together with memory smells from your childhood using Scentic, refined further with Scentstamatic and shared, of course, on Scent Book.

Via The Guardian

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