Add the ‘smellophone’ to your Xmas list

It’s often said that we don’t yet live in the future, because there are no flying cars. Well, this pushes us a step closer. According to the U.K.’s Daily Mail, “inventors are on the verge of creating the first mobile ‘smellophone,’ a gadget which can capture an odor and then replay it back later.” Apparently, microchips in the device act as electronic noses that pick up different traces of odor through chemical sensors. The possibilities for this gadget are endless. Well, OK, they only cite two in the story, but they’re still good: Amateur chefs could use the smellophone to record the aroma of a favorite meal; and doctors “could be sent … smells around a wound to assess if it is infected.” I’m not going to kid anyone, there’s a good chance this device will a) not see a patent for 50 years or b) slip into obscurity after a brief flurry of curiosity. But it could be a gold mine for the practical-joke industry. The lactose intolerant, for example, could enjoy years of torturing their friends through timely use of this device. I’d explain how, but this is a family weblog. And if all goes according to plan, you’ll find out soon enough.

—Posted by David Kiefaber