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Scentography is the technique of creating and storing odor by artificially recreating a smell using chemical and electronic means.

DigiScents Inc was among the more recent pioneers of the technology, developing DigiScent (later iSmell) in 1999 as a device that would plug into a computer's USB port and generate scents dependent on the online content being viewed. The company ceased trading in 2011.[1][2]

In 2013, Amy Radcliffe, a Master's student in the Textile Futures department of Central Saint Martins, London introduced a prototype of a desktop device to record aromas. For the project, she drew on headspace technology pioneered in the 1980s by Roman Kaiser to capture smells in the air around certain objects.[3]

Called the Madeleine, after the Marcel Proust episode from Remembrance of Things Past, the device is a working prototype of a new kind of camera to record smell.[3] It consists of a funnel to be placed over the object with the scent you wish to capture. This is attached to a pump that draws air into an odor trap made of a porous polymer resin. According to Radcliffe, it can take from a few minutes to a whole day to capture the odour in liquid form, depending on its intensity.[3]

So far, several samples have been sent for analysis in a gas chromatography–mass spectrometry machine at a fragrance laboratory. In the scenario developed for the prototype, the Madeleine would be taken for local lab processing in a similar way to conventional photographic film.[3][4]

The device was exhibited during Milan Fashion Week in April 2013.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Wired 7.11: You've Got Smell!". 2009-01-04. Retrieved 2013-07-02.
  2. ^ "32. Digiscents Inc — The 50 Worst Internet Startup Fails of All Time". Complex. 2012-10-18. Retrieved 2013-07-02.
  3. ^ a b c d Wainwright, Oliver (2013-06-28). "Scentography: the camera that records your favourite smells | Art and design |". Guardian. Retrieved 2013-07-02.
  4. ^ a b "Madeleine | Idol Magazine". Retrieved 2013-07-02.

External sources[edit]