Smell-Recording Device Captures Scents of Objects

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Because scents have such a nostalgic affect on humans, they are very important to us. But some unique scents, like freshly cut grass, are not always available for our smelling pleasure.

With the invention of a new "smell camera," however, any type of scent can be captured and preserved forever.

Amy Radcliffe designed the device, which is an "analog odor camera" based off of "Headspace Capture," which was developed by the perfume industry to analyze and recreate odor compounds.

To use it, a smell source is placed under the device's glass cone. A pump then sucks up the smell through a plastic tube and the smell goes through a resin trap. The trap absorbs the particles and stores the molecular information.

The information is expressed through a graph-like formula, providing the "fingerprint" of the smell. In a lab, the formula can then be put on a bronze disk to artificially produce the smell and it can also be put in vials.

The process is relatively fast, taking anywhere from a few minutes for less complex smells to a full day for stronger ones. 

In the description of the product, Radcliffe writes, "If an analogue, amateur-friendly system of odor capture and synthesis could be developed, we could see a profound change in the way we regard the use and effect of smells in our daily lives. From manipulating our emotional wellbeing through prescribed nostalgia, to the functional use of conditioned scent memory, our olfactory sense could take on a much more conscious role in the way we consume an record the world."

Sources: Fox, Vimeo