The evolution of virtual communication has been short but significant. Initially, text messages were just that, text. Then, emoticons were integrated (:D). These days, we can communicate with photos, videos, voice memos, and emojis—you never have to actually type again! Now, thanks to Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences professor David Edwards, a completely necessary new way to communicate is available, the smext.
Smexting, not to be confused with sexting, (the “o” stands for olfactive, not that other sensory experience—we don’t think anyone’s working on sending that virtually yet), is the ability to send smells via a new device developed by Edwards. According to the device’s website, a scent message is a “moving gesture of friendship”...like when your friend crop-dusts you?
The device is an attachment for your phone and contains a chip that can create hundreds of odors. You can’t yet “capture” a scent and send it to your friends, so no texting the scent of a Veritaffle to wake up your roommates or the odor of the person in front of you in lecture to make sure your friends feel (smell) your pain. But maybe that’s a good thing?
With help from Harvard students, who now work full-time on this venture, Edwards has been spreading smells all around the world. He is opening a lab in Cambridge this year where the device will be for sale sometime this summer.