oSnap wants to let you smell your texts

Website front shot R2

Ever wished that your text messages came with a nice aroma? No. No you haven’t.

But naturally someone in Cambridge has, so now there’s a startup that reeks like a contemporary re-hash of the 40s era Smell-O-Vision.


The oPhone will connect to an iPhone via Bluetooth allowing transmission of smells using the company’s oSnap application.

That’s right: oSnap.

Believe it or not, this is not the first foray into mobile aromatics. For $50 you can already own Scentee, an iPhone dongle that also releases smells. But Scentee only emits 12 odiferous options, nothing compared to the 300,000 combinations and permutations to be offered by the oPhone.

There was also an Oscar Meyer bacon alarm clock that attached to your iPhone.

“Over the next year, this new communication platform will evolve to allow users to send and receive scent-infused messages and ultimately transform the way we communicate,” a statement from Vapor Communications said.

Transform the way we communicate? In the K-9 world, maybe, but humans typically interact with hand shakes, talk, eye contact, and writing. Communications-via-sniff we tend to leave to the dogs, and as such this venture is destined for the hind parts of the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog.

While scented SMS might seem far fetched, the brain power behind the oPhone bears quite the reputation. Harvard professor David Edwards is co-inventor along with a university student. In his other — more serious — work Edwards advances drug delivery systems to fight infectious disease in the developing world.

Edwards calls the oPhone “just the start.” The start to what I’m not sure.

But for those of you who can’t wait to send rose-smelling texts, on June 17th iPhoners will be able to snap pictures and tag them with smelly side notes. The real fun begins when the oPhone goes on pre-sale via Indiegogo for a 25 percent discount, giving it a price tag of $149.

If that’s too long of a wait, Edwards and company will be demoing the oPhone at his art/science/design center, Le Laboratoire, in Paris, France. Nothing quite like the odor of a stinky Brie de Meaux via text message in Paris.

Unlucky Bay Staters will have to wait for a sniff until the opening of Le Laboratoire, Cambridge, this fall.

George is a regular contributor to BetaBoston, and can be reached at george.levines@gmail.com.
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