////////////////////////// September 11th UPDATE //////////////////////////
Thank you! The alpha launch of oPhone is over! We are delighted to announce that, with over 10,000 oNotes created, shared, and experienced during our summer Indiegogo sprint, and far more global enthusiasm than we could have hoped for (we had over 80,000 views of our oPhone video alone), we are, now, getting ready for the beta launch. So, yes, thank you, from us all. Mobile scent messaging is extremely new. We would not be here, and absolutely would find less joy and meaning in the experience, if we did not smell the rose, or the coffee bean, or the seascape. Can it really enter global communications? In the beta phase (starts November 1), we promise you will begin to see how. Please follow the oNotes revolution at www.oNotes.com -- and, meanwhile, enjoy this last glimpse of our alpha launch. This video, taken during a Saturday afternoon at the American Natural History Museum in July, will give so many of you, who have not yet experienced oPhone, a sense of the viral pleasure of it. And come to Café ArtScience (www.cafeartscience.com) from November to experience it yourself.
The oPhone Team
Video Credit: Raphael Edwards
What is the oPhone?
The oPhone is a revolutionary device that, in combination with our free iPhone app “oSnap”, allows you to send and receive electronic aroma messages. Think of it as a kind of telephone for aromas. With the oPhone, you can now bring complex scent texting into your mobile messaging life, and share sensory experience with anyone, anywhere.
Click here on your iPhone to download oSnap for free from the Apple App Store.
Why would I want an oPhone?
Think about what happens when you walk into a great cafe, experience a terrific meal, or walk on an amazing beach. Beyond the terrific sights and sounds there are the magical aromas. And it turns out that aromas do something to our minds and bodies that sounds and sights simply cannot. They elicit memories, diminish stress, and excite our emotions. Imagine sharing these memories and emotions with friends. This is what the oPhone allows you to do. Are you a foodie? A coffee lover? Ever take a picture of a memorable culinary experience? With the oPhone your experience can live on. Inside each oPhone is an "aromatic vocabulary". This is what allows you to create over 300,000 unique aroma combinations. Not only is it powerful, it is also beautifully designed and will look great wherever you decide to put it.
What’s in it for me?
During our Indiegogo campaign, the oPhone DUO is available
for a reduced price - $149 rather than $199 for commercial launch next year.
- We are offering free shipping to first supporters! (See details on individual perks)
This is Thomas Edison
stuff, and you’ll be among the first in the world to try this!
With your support, we’ll be able to launch our tooling / first full production run and get these into your hands so we can get your feedback on how we can do an even better job of capturing and sharing the world around us.
History of the oPhone
David Edwards teaches a class at Harvard called “How to Create Things and Have Them Matter”. The class is commonly oversubscribed, as it brings together students from a variety of disciplines to focus on realizing blue sky dreams. Rachel Field, a mechanical engineering undergrad, signed up for the class in 2012, never thinking she’d be launching a commercial product with her professor 2 years later. David encouraged Rachel and her classmates to think about creating a virtual world of aroma. The idea evolved over the summer in Paris.
After she graduated in 2012, Rachel moved to Paris with her Harvard classmate Amy Yin to continue work on developing the oPhone with David. Designers Baptiste Viala and Laurent Milon of Studio Milimetre joined the project shortly thereafter. By the next spring a first oPhone, a small device able to generate just a few aromas, was exhibited at David's Laboratoire in Paris. This was a good start as a proof-of-concept, but there was still more work to do.
Over the summer, David & Rachel figured out the key to eventually making a much more powerful oPhone, one that would ultimately be able to reproduce any aroma, and be carried in your pocket. With the "oChip" in hand, they worked with Laurent and Baptiste to create a second oPhone for David's talk at the Wired conference in London in October of 2013. See Tech Crunch review.
The oPhone DUO is our first commercial oPhone. It contains a set of revolutionary oChips inside of it. We made this first oPhone for a table or countertop.
How it Works
The oPhone DUO is able to diffuse over 300,000 unique aromas thanks to the small, inexpensive circular cartridges we call oChips, that fit inside the device. The oPhone DUO works with 8 oChips and each oChip contains 4 aromas - so the oPhone DUO works with 32 primitive aromas. They last for hundreds of uses, sort of like link cartridges, but for aroma. You can swap them in and out and capture any scent for which we have designed an oChip. And while we are starting with oChip families (what we call "aromatic vocabularies") around specific foodie and coffee experiences, we will soon be diversifying these in exciting ways.
Using oSnap with oPhone is like using an aroma palette with a paintbrush and canvas. You will want to try your hand at it, or as we say, "aroma doodle". And with the oPhone, you'll quickly get the hang of how it all works.
Past Attempts at Aromatic Communication
Smell-O-Vision, Odorama, iSmell... There is a landfill somewhere filled with all the products that have miserably failed in their quest to deliver a high quality aromatic communication experience. So much so that Google launched an April Fool’s product, just before our first oPhone exhibition, called "Google Nose". Actually, it's interesting to see how much things have changed in 2 years from when Google published their great video and now.
So why have the others failed?
The challenge with aromas is that they linger and diffuse, stick to your clothes, and don't rapidly dissipate. If we share with you the aroma of a freshly peeled orange, it is very hard to quickly share with you the aroma of a terrific espresso, then a moist chocolate cake without creating a single orange/espresso/chocolate aroma cloud. Aromas are great environment creators. They are, however, less adapted to delivering complex messages than audiovisual signals (pictures, words, sounds...)
With the oPhone, this has changed. The oPhone delivers very small volumes of aroma, in rapid sequences, and never delivers more than you need to identify the aroma. There are other great things about the oPhone (long-lasting inexpensive cartridges, broad range of aromas, etc.), but the ability to deliver "aroma words" is especially key, Here is why.
Think about the way we communicate. We start with words. From these we build sentences, paragraphs, essays, etc. Each word comes and goes. One sentence leads to the next, and so on. We experience aromas this way, too, as when we eat a great meal, or move through a food market, or walk outside on a summer day. But until the oPhone, we could not have or share that experience in our electronic communications. Now we can.
Experiencing an aroma with the oPhone is something like smelling a flower. Except that you experience the aromas only if you want to. When the aroma message is finished, you no longer smell it. This is why we call it a "phone". It delivers a message to you, and when you "hang up", the "call" is over. Until you pick it up again.
So let’s review…
1) Support our campaign and get the oPhone DUO for $149.
2) Download oSnap in the Apple App Store. Here’s the link
3) Take a picture with oSnap using your iPhone. Once you’ve tagged that picture with aromas and added a title, we call the photo + text + aromas an “oNote”.
4) Share your oNote with your friends via email, Facebook or Twitter.
5) From now until April 2015, come to one of our HotSpots to experience the aromas you have created. By the time we deliver your oPhone to you in April 2015, you'll be conversing "stereo-aromatically" with your friends in ways we have only dreamed of until now.
$300,000 – New Sets of Aromas
We will crowdsource the development of a new aromatic vocabulary. If you’re passionate about aromas, help us reach this goal and tell us what aromas you want us to include in the next oChips!
$2,000,000 – oPhone 4.0
We’re really excited about this. If we reach $2,000,000 raised on Indiegogo, we will design and build a 4th iteration of the oPhone that is smaller and portable. Help us reach this goal so we can bring you a more personal and more powerful oPhone that fits in your pocket!
$5,000,000 – The Aromatic Camera
This is what we’re really excited about. Imagine a future in which you can take a picture using oSnap and the software in the app can detect the objects in the image and their automatically tag them with their corresponding aromas. Recent advances in computer vision at leading universities point to a future in which such an "aromatic camera" can be made into a real commercial product. Help us get to $5,000,000 and we can develop this!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why the oPhone?
We communicate in many ways, via sight, sound, touch, and more. Among these is the process of olfaction, or smelling, and has a very special physiological effect on us. It influences our emotions, our health, and our appreciation (or dislike) of many experiences that are fundamental to us - like eating. If we could integrate aroma communication into the handy framework of global communications we can communicate better, more emotively, and lots of things would be easier. Like buying a coffee, or remembering a place, or feeling better. You can help make oPhone a reality by pre-purchasing one via our Indiegogo campaign.
Can the oPhone capture aromas in the air?
The oPhone can only diffuse the aromas that you create on oSnap. When you take a picture on oSnap, you choose the aromas that you want to add to the picture – the app does not choose them for you. One technological advancement we’re excited to implement when the time is right are computer vision algorithms that can detect objects within a picture and automatically tag them with their corresponding aromas. We’re not quite there yet, but help us meet our stretch goal and we’ll get there!
Why is it launching over a whole year?
Aromatic communication, in the sense we imagine it, is very new. We tend to think today of aromas as sensual environments that enclose us, remain with us, and in a way define a space and time. That’s not how we think of aromas. We are interested in aromas as words, sentences, and paragraphs. We are interested in being able to deliver many aromas over a short period of time and by this to communicate in a way that is similar to how we communicate with sounds and images. It actually takes just a few seconds to identify an aroma. Eventually our olfactory receptors saturate. So our noses are really well designed for “aroma tweets” and we want to see how people adapt to this idea. We are bringing this technology for free to people and will be watching, listening, following reactions and designing our devices, our vocabularies, our platform to make this work. We finally want the platform that emerges in 2015 to be one that we really do use.
Will I be able to send or receive “any” scent or scent composition?
Yes, eventually. Right now you will only have a “Foodie” vocabulary on your oSnap app. By October 2014 you will be able to choose other vocabularies, notably a great coffee vocabulary or two. Then by 2015 there will be many others. You will also eventually be able to design your own vocabulary and get us to make whatever you like.
What will this ultimately be (or mean to electronic communications)?
We will integrate oNotes into our communications just like we do images and movies today. Sometimes we share a photo all by itself. We’ll do this with aromas, too. Media forms with have oNotes. Like, oBooks, oSongs, oFilms. Any tweet, any email, any electronic communication that touches on a subject with aromatic content, will simply be better expressed, with an oNote.
Can anything bad happen to me (like, can I now receive a bad aroma)?
Nobody can send you a scent you do not wish to perceive. Why? You need to have placed inside your oPhone the aroma cartridges (oChips) with the very aroma you are looking to avoid. That is, you choose your aroma vocabulary, and if someone sends you an oNote with a different aroma vocabulary, you simply do not smell it.
Who are you guys?
We are a team of creators working to bring olfactory wonder to mobile messaging. Our technology is the brainchild of inventor and Harvard professor David Edwards, and led by his former student and co-inventor Rachel Field, with the talented designers Baptiste Viala, Laurent Milon and Robin Barata, our sensitive nose, Marlene Staiger, our production leader Manuella Passard, our business team Blake Armstrong and Antoine Mahy, and the very special team of Laboratoire Paris. Our company is Vapor Communications.
This is where we will be chronicling our updates throughout the campaign so you can see how far we've come.
////////////////////////// July 27 UPDATE //////////////////////////
Hello Everyone! We are almost at the end of our campaign! And the good news is -- we're just beginning! Over the last week and a half we have traveled with the oPhone between New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and back to New York. On Wednesday David will be on CNBC. And after Thursday we all go on a little vacation … Meanwhile, at the American Natural History Museum, this weekend and last, over 1500 people came through and tested their noses on various oNotes, from enchiladas to lemongrass tea. See the pictures below -- and the fun interview. Kids were amazing. Many had perfect scores. With the thousands of oNotes people have made these last weeks all around the world, the thousands of oPhone encounters, your contributions, and some emerging partnerships we will start to announce in the months to come, we couldn't be more excited. About the next phase of the launch, we'll share more in a few days. For now, thanks again from all of us!
David, Rachel, Blake
Photos&Video Credits: Raphael Edwards
////////////////////////// July 15 UPDATE //////////////////////////
Announcing the oPhone UNO! Get the amazing UNO for $1 with your oPhone DUO order during our Indiegogo campaign!
We have hinted at it -- now here it is. The oPhone UNO, what the oPhone DUO is leading up to. We are then excited to announce that all purchasers of the oPhone DUO, between June 17th to the end of our Indiegogo campaign, can opt-in to receive an oPhone UNO for $1 by purchasing the new oPhone UNO perk!
////////////////////////// July 4 UPDATE //////////////////////////
Hello Everyone and Happy 4th of July!
This week, our third, brought some very exciting news. An important contribution just happened, the first HotSpot Perk purchase, to bring the oPhone to a great city in the USA that we will announce very soon. And while we're super excited to be traveling with oPhone to some of the thousands who have made oNotes these last couple weeks, we're especially excited to be doing it in the context of healthcare. What exactly this means (scents, as you probably know, are not just essential to how we experience food, they also influence our health, our memory, and more) we'll explain very soon, particularly once David & Rachel begin their little tour of the USA. When is that? Starts next weekend. Yep, in another week we open our first HotSpot in America, in New York's amazing American Natural History Museum! At the AMNH all you New Yorkers are going to have a chance, from next Saturday (noon to 5pm), to download your oNotes -- and learn a lot about olfaction, and your own noses! More on this next week. For now, thank you, for all your oNotes, for your contributions, and for your support of sensorial sharing.
David, Rachel, Blake
////////////////////////// June 27 UPDATE ///////////////////////////
Hello Aroma Doodlers!
Well we doubled our campaign contributions this week -- thank you! -- and had an amazing party this evening in Paris. Students, creators, dreamers from around the world came to Paris for an annual creator workshop. This happens ever year. It started in 2008 with the visit of David's class at Harvard. Then students from the Boston Public Schools joined, and since many other schools and organizations have joined, from Singapore, London, Dublin, Brussels, and all around the USA via the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Students dream with David (and Rachel and lots of us) for a week. We ended the week with an oNote party. The most amazing oNotes were made. The Paris HotSpot overrun. Lots of aroma and emotion and memory.
On to next week! Some very cool gifts are in the works. Not sure if we'll be able to announce next week, but, maybe!
David, Rachel, Blake & The oNotes Team
//////////////////////// June 23 UPDATE /////////////////////////
Hello Everyone! Thank you for making our first days of our Campaign a success. Breaking the $10K mark last Friday (June 20), we broke through our goal of $20k yesterday (June 27)!
Beyond the buzz around our first transatlantic oNotes (see the Fast Company and WIRED articles) and the launch in Paris (a few photos below), an amazing thing happened. Thousands of people around the world downloaded oSnap since it became available early in the week. Right now an oNote is being created somewhere every two or three minutes. And the content is just amazingly emotive. We'll have some oNotes uploaded by next weekend on our site www.onotes.com. So, thank you, updates to follow early next week!
David, Rachel, Blake & The oNotes Team
////////////////////////// end June 23 update ////////////////////////