Imagine you’re sitting on a beach, the salt is in the air, you have the smell of coconut oil around you and you’re digging into the bar-b-que you just grilled up. You send your friends a picture of this beautiful scene, but something is missing. What is really special about this moment for you is associated in large part to the smells of your experience. If only there was a way to share this with others to paint a fuller picture of the experience. Well that might not be as crazy of an idea as you think, and we are actually on the cusp of unlocking this technology.
Smells and scents are an incredibly powerful tripper of emotions and past experiences.we all know of the times you’re cleaning out your toiletries during the winter and catch a whiff of your sun screen and are transported miles and months away to the relaxing action you had last summer.
Enter the Cambridge based company Vapor Communications. Which makes a small cylindrical device called the Cyrano which is the breakthrough we’ve been waiting for. There are many programmed scents at the ready you get on day one with the device.
What is funny about this product is that the science behind it is fairly simple, much simpler in fact than what powers and makes your computer or smartphone work. David Edwards writes, “scents connects us more fully to our emotions and memories than any other sensation because only the nerve for scent foes straight to our brains.” It is the base line to the brain, when we smell something we don’t like, its a little more immediate than any other sense in this respect.
With VR taking the world by storm this is really the last variable in breaking down our sense of otherness to the experience and potentially fully emerge us into the space.
The Cyrano is a cool product the problem is that no one has it, and most people don’t really want it. This is not to say that people do not want the technology, but they don’t want it in this way. What I mean is that it is kind of bulky and you need to really take the time to give it a good whiff in a time and place which is a good naivety but after a few times I imagine it will be like when you discover your first Newtonian liquid. You are confused, then shocked, then amazed, then you get it, then the thrill is gone, and finally you get down right annoyed by its in your presence.
What is going to be the next application has to be something that puts this technology first and does not try to couple it with an existing medium of experience. What needs to happen is that people have a fresh association for this and how it is experienced, rather than understanding it in relation to existing products. Still after this there is going to be a new frontier of experience that awaits us in entertainment and education.