Food porn is about to go next level thanks to the oPhone, a smell messaging device created by a Harvard professor and his former student. Using a mobile app called oSnap, you can now send photos accompanied by an evocative aroma.


The oPhone in use. (Photo: oPhone/ Indiegogo)

The free oSnap app let’s you take a photo, and then tag a number of smells in the image from a catalog of terms like “zesty,” “smoky,” “tropical,” “caramel” and “jasmine.” (The idea is that new aromas can keep being added, and users can one day download specific smell packs to describe things like coffee.)


Tagging an image using the oSnap app. (Photo: oSnap/ iTunes)

The snag is that you have to be able to identify the smells before you can tag them; simple enough if you’re sending someone a whiff of a vase of lilies, but a more challenging proposition when you have to pick out the complex aromas in a glass of wine.


An oPhone dock “reads” the aroma that you’ve sent and reproduces it. (Photo: oPhone/ Indiegogo)

Once you’ve finished tagging, you can send the scented image to your intended recipient. They’ll “play” your message using an oPhone, a dock that reads the tags and reproduces the aromas you’ve described.

But since the technology is currently in the crowdfunding phase and docks won’t be deliverable until next year, for now you’ll have to visit a public oPhone Hot Spot in order to sniff your missives.


An oPhone Hot Spot, which looks similar to Apple’s Genius Bar.

(Photo: oPhone/ Indiegogo)

While it’s a cool gadget, right now it’s difficult to see the practical, day-to-day applications of the device, which costs $149 on Indiegogo. But Fast Company reports that the American Museum of Natural History is exploring the oPhone’s potential to enhance exhibits, and as the technology develops, it could probably be integrated into more experiences—like watching a movie.

You might not care what your friend’s breakfast today smelled like, but a multi-sensory screening of Ratatouille is surely something we can all get behind.

[via Fast Company]