Smell is one of the strongest and most pronounced of our five basic senses yet unless you’re there in the moment, there’s no effective way to capture and share the experience with others – until now. A device known as Madeleine claims to be just that, an odor-capturing camera.
It’s the next logical step as we already have cameras to capture still images, videos and audio – or at least that’s what designer Amy Radcliff would like you to think. She notes the device works in much the same way as a 35mm camera. Just as a camera records the light information of a visual scene to create a replica (photo), the Madeleine records the molecular information of a smell.
Here’s how it works. The source of a particular odor is placed under a glass dome that is connected to the Madeleine via a plastic tube. Next, you’ll need to load an odor trap – a device that resembles a test tube – onto a series of tubes connected to the odor camera. After that, simply turn the machine on and wait for it to absorb the smell.
Unfortunately the process doesn’t provide instant feedback like a digital camera. Instead, the odor trap can be submitted to a lab for analysis. Once this step is complete and the scent has been recreated, you’ll receive a smell memory capsule back in the mail.
Radcliff believes the concept, dubbed scent-ography, could become a more ubiquitous way to consume and record the world.