Strawberry-scented emails, coffee-flavoured Facebook likes and a rosemary alarm: the Scentee is a curious new means of communication. Controlled by a free app, the small device plugs into your phone or tablet’s headphone jack and shoots out an aromatic vapour whenever you receive a notification. The device can also be used as a scented alarm clock.
Five scents are currently available (rose, strawberry, coffee, lavender and rosemary). Scentee told WebMagazin that it plans to add „aroma oil, the scent of flowers, flavours of food and drinks and even some that kindle your imagination and remind you your childhood.“
The smell of technology
Initially only available in Japan, the Tokyo-based company is now also shipping its products worldwide. The device itself is an affordable $35 (about €25) and scents cost $5 (roughly €3.60) each. But with around €20 in shipping costs, users will want to stock up on scents.
Scentee is not the first example of aromas being used to enhance a user experience. Given the long and rather embarrassing history of scented technology, one wonders how long the sensation around Scentee will last.
Scented cinemas, screens and USB devices
Since as far back as 1906, filmmakers have experimented with a scented cinematic experience, sometimes referred to as ‘Smell-o-vision’.
The experiment was updated last year by Japanese researchers that developed a monitor that can send smells from specific parts of its screen, with no mention of commercial implementation.
The iSmell device was one of several USB-powered devices that released specific scent whenever a computer user visited certain websites.
As in cinema, the use of smells in the digital realm has witnessed little long-term success.Quickly iSmell was declared one of the “25 Worst Tech Products of all Time” by PC World Magazine.
It’s unclear whether Scentee is another chapter in the history of scented technology, or the start of a new trend. But for now it looks like everyone wants to find out what it’s like to smell emails.
You can watch Scentee’s stirring soap opera advertisement below.
The prices named in this article are reference prices only and may vary.