Global Themes

On Globalization & Venture Capital

Aftershave…by email !

Read this on a flight to Tokyo last month (courtesy JAL in-flight magazine, “Skyward”):

A group within the Tokyo Institute of Technology has developed a gadget that can analyse and record odours in a digital format. The gadget uses 15 sensors to analyse odours and is then able to reproduce the “digital smell” using a combination of up to 96 different chemicals.

The inventors claim it has commercial application in the food and fragrance industries and even digital media (i.e. smells can be recorded onto and sent via email!)

Here is some more detail on how the machine works.

Wait, there is more: A new service from NTT will attempt to offer a completely different experience to cine-goers in Tokyo with by synchronizing “seven different smells to scenes from The New World starring Colin Farrell”.

“A floral scent accompanies a love scene, while a mix of peppermint and rosemary is emitted during a tear-jerking scene. Joy is a citrus mix of orange and grapefruit, while anger is enhanced by a herb-like concoction with a hint of eucalyptus and tea tree.”

Apparently, “the smells waft from special machines under the seats in the back rows of two movie theaters, which create different fragrances by controlling the mix of oils stored in the machines”

NTT has also been offering a machine for home use with this function: “Owners of the $620 home version can download different programs to emit smells to accompany a horoscope reading or work as aromatherapy”! Unfortunately, “NTT Communications would not disclose how many machines it has sold”.

Fine examples of innovation at the “Top of the Pyramid”?

Finally, link to a parallel effort that is (was?) going on in France.

January 4th, 2007 Posted by | Japan, Miscellaneous | one comment

1 Comment »

  1. Shantanu, this is interesting – and ultimately annoying to people like me, who are allergic to a range of perfumey-artifical smells and get headaches and vomit on being suddenly exposed, although admittedly vomiting will be annoying to many others too I guess.

    The use of smells in marketing and enhanced consumer experience is gaining traction in unlikely places. The role of smells and music in encouraging browsers to buy in departmental stores is long known.

    However you may also want to check out these posts (sadly all linked to obesity):

    Yale’s blog on obesity:

    A month ago, I too commented on the broader application of olfactory senses in food consumption and the inevitable leap to treating obesity on:

    Comment by Shefaly Yogendra | January 4, 2007

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