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Cellphones It's funny.  Laugh. Communications Patents Technology

German Firms Patent Scented Text Messaging 127

praps writes "Two German companies have patented technology for sending scented text messages between mobile phones. The chip, which carries a range of around 100 pre-defined scents, has been developed by the Institute of Sensory Analysis and interactive services firm Convisual and will be on the market in one to two years. Naturally, the makers think that the chip will be used for sending pleasant odors to friends and family — vanilla, rose and Christmas cinnamon are on the list — but surely the claim to be able to send 'the smell of the beach and sunshine' is a little optimistic? SMS stink bombs cannot be far away."
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German Firms Patent Scented Text Messaging

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  • by Critical Facilities ( 850111 ) * on Thursday May 01, 2008 @08:50AM (#23261966)
    How long until the first text troll (complete with odiferous enhancement)?
    • I fart in your general direction!
    • 'The Beach'!! i wonder if Kramer will sue?
      • Heh. :-)

        This is really nothing new. Mattel tried to provide an enhancement to their game consoles back in the 80s. They called it:


        • My favorite game was Smelltopia, they really did a fantastic job of recreating the smell of a rainstorm....and the burning building/gunpowder smell when the rebels would appear was amazing.
    • Well, _if_ it got implemented, I'd bet it would be in an instant. I'm not sure it will see the light of day.

      See, the first time I saw this idea was in the late 90's, almost a decade ago. That time as a computer peripheral and IIRC also mentioned games as applications Turns out that almost noone was looking forward to buying it. Complete with comments along the lines of yours. Plus along the lines of, "egads, I'm not going in the sewers in RPGs any more, then." Or, "I guess it's time to give up on fishing ga
  • Mobile phones have been stinking for decades.
    • My little brother and I were scent-messaging each other a long time ago.
    • Nonono, that was the guy, not the phone. Though I'm sure certain ringtones will make you insanely popular, especially in public transport...
  • Call it "ink" or "toner" or whatever... there's going to be a refill-needing part that each phone with this tech is going to need. Instant goldmine.
    • Well, I can imagine many people will decidedly not buy a refill after having "enjoyed" too many smelly messages.

      However "this message smells fishy" will get a whole new meaning ...
      • Yeah you get an sms from your chicky babe telling you to haul arse round here right now, along with her own special bottled funk.

        You rock up, along with 50 other intent looking guys, to find out she hit "Reply All"...

    • by Dmala ( 752610 )
      The early models will only have one cartridge, so when you run out of "fart", you'll have to throw out "vanilla", "cinnamon", and "burning tires" as well. Second gen will introduce individual cartridges as well as "high resolution" smells, so instead of just plain "fart", you'll get "beer fart", "burrito fart", "dog fart", "SBD", etc.
      • Normally, that would just be funny... but considering this comes from germany... it's scary.

        Scented german mobile phone sheisse videos?
        • Scented german mobile phone sheisse videos?

          "Mom, if you were ever in a scented German mobile phone sheisse video, you'd tell me, right?"
          "Goodnight Eric."

    • The answer was sitting under your nose the whole time...
  • My cheap Nokia already comes with a bunch of bitmap images that can be sent as SMS, flowers, hearts, smiley faces, etc. I've never actually used them, and no one has even, in many years of heavy mobile phone use, sent one to me. Obviously there's demand for sending text you've written, photos you've written, and ringtones other people want, but I just can't imagine a market for mobile smellovision.
    • Sending smells you've created yourself? :-)
    • You are above the age of 12, I guess.

      Me, myself I even rarely use text messages. It was invented after I was young. Usually, I make a call. I do text information that has to be written down anyway (like addresses or phone numbers), or when information has to be relayed immediately and I can't talk for various reasons. Else, I make a call.

      Some people I know almost exclusively text. They grew up with text enabled phones, it's their primary means of communication. My guess is that picture messages is something
      • What country are you in? In most of Europe, SMS is so cheap and voice calls so comparatively expensive that SMS is popular among all generations. The only people I know who regularly make voice calls have very well-paying jobs.
      • by ittybad ( 896498 )
        While I think it is rather silly, one should not discount the use of smell. Marketing professionals have known for a long time that smell is the sense most correlated with memory []
        • Ugh. Did you have to...?

          I can already smell (pardon the pun) of the SMS based spam of the future. This is going to be especially interesting when you're using the subway.
      • I'm over 12 and under 40. I try to text when possible because I think it's more polite. You can read my message, and respond to it, at your convenience.

        Calling is asking someone to stop whatever else they are doing and devote all their attention to you. Which is nice, but rarely actually necessary and sometimes downright intrusive. Like sending a smell would be.

        Obviously it depends on your peers, many are probably more comfortable talking than texting, I guess.

        • That's what cells have voice mail for. You don't want to talk with me, just drop me into your box and listen to my drivel when you feel like it.

          The people I deal with on a regular base know about my rather limited love towards text messages. I rarely get any, at least from people who know me. Chances are good it will go unanswered. You will, though, receive a return call even if you don't leave a message on my box, because I will see you called and I will return it.
  • so, can we detect it with the smelloscope?
  • Hell, it's hard enough to find a phone nowadays which isn't trying to do 10 things badly.

    My 7 year old Motorolla T720 is a really good phone in that I always have coverage in fairly rural areas, and in places where other people don't get coverage.

    When I replace it, I want something which is going to continue to have good service. A camera, I don't want since my provider is going to use it as a means to gouge me as I try to download the images -- well, that and the fact that I already own four cameras. An
    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )
      Honestly you need to actuallt research phones when you buy them. Too many people go int oa store and point while screaming "I WANT THAT SHINEY!!!"

      Every phone I have owned I can easily upload mp3's as ringtones, downloaded the images from the camera, and uploaded my own stuff to it, etc.. I laugh hard at the fools that buy phones that are locked up tight so that you have to buy everything.

      Research the phones, buy what you want. My blackjack has a good enough camera that makes it a great tool for my job.
      • Honestly you need to actuallt research phones when you buy them.

        Yeah, I know. I'm getting close to the point where I'll need to replace my current phone. In my experience, trying to research cell phones is one of the most tedious and annoying things going -- it's almost as annoying as trying to compare plans between cell-phone providers, it's like comparing apples to lychee nuts. :-P

        Every phone I have owned I can easily upload mp3's as ringtones, downloaded the images from the camera, and uploaded my own

        • I just went through a bunch of research, I spread-sheeted the whole thing by accumulating ratings and a feature list. I came to the conclusion that all cellphones still suck in one way or another. So I picked the 2 most important features to me and went with it. They were: voice quality and battery life.

          It turned out my 3 year old Nokia was just perfect.

        • Researching your phone is very easy

          go to and scour their forums for info regarding either the brand of phone or by service provider.

          Not only that, but they show you how to unlock most phones that come locked by default from the cellphone service providers.

          Why pay for downloading cameraphone images (as crappy as they are anyway), when you can do it for free?

          I use a nokia E61i and a motorola K1m krzr, neither are exactly obtuse phones to find.
          • go to and scour their forums for info regarding either the brand of phone or by service provider.

            Thank you, that looks like a great starting point.

            I use a nokia E61i and a motorola K1m krzr, neither are exactly obtuse phones to find.

            Yeah, I've been happy with my T720, so if I can find a Motorolla phone which will allow me to transfer over my GSM card, that might be the route I go.

            • There is truly a wealth of information as well as wealth of information on what plan to get, and things like that...good search functionality and a website that is mobile-phone friendly (of course).

              Example: I pay a total of 36$/month including tax, and have unlimited phonecalls and internet use with a ton of text messages that I don't use, via a blackberry plan on the E61i (which I don't use anything blackberry), which I am cancelling the service on the other phone for....a plan I found via their forums spe
    • Answer the orginal commenter--

      Duh, Japan! This thing will be Mega-Godzilla-Happy-Fun-HUGE over there.
  • Just spend a summer in the Hunsruck [], where the honey wagons spread the previous winter's manure collection on the fields.

    Although, I have to admit, when it comes to stink, nothing beats an open sewer line in summertime Korea.

    • Just spend a summer in the Hunsruck [], where the honey wagons spread the previous winter's manure collection on the fields.

      I don't know about this specific instance, but in my experience, I'd rather be exposed to fresh manure than many colognes or industrial smells (or dumpsters near restaurants).

      Then again, from just driving by, I don't overly object to the smell of skunk, so maybe I have a strange sense of smell. :-P [ And, no, I've never been near 'ground zero', I'm sure it's a lot worse ]

      • Skunk is no fun if you really get nailed, but a lot of hunters use skunk-scent to fool prey animals' sense of smell...It's definitely possible to get used to it.

        I'm with you regarding perfume/cologne...More than a little and my eyes itch and water. Walking past a "Bath and Bodyworks" is a test of olfactory endurance.
    • > spread the previous winter's manure collection on the fields

      That's call "country air", and sometimes there's nothing finer.
    • by sm62704 ( 957197 )
      Ever been to Decatur, Illinois [], home of ADM [], whose corporate motto is "breadbasket to the world"?

      Decatur smells like someone killed a pig, let the carcass rot, threw it on a pile of pigshit, covered it with sugar and set it on fire.

      It's not as bad as Sauget [] (1/2 mile south of East St Louis, Il) used to be when I was a kid. When it was 100 degrees F and no car air conditioning you would roll your windows up driving up or down highway 3 because of Monsanto, Cerro Copper, and the other toxic industries there.

  • This technology dies after the first lawsuit from someone going into anaphylactic shock due to hypersensitivity to one of the chemicals used to generate the scent from the phone of the guy in the other row at the movie theatre.
    • You're absolutely right. The first time that someone texts a peanut butter and jelly sandwich smell to someone and the kid one seat over on the bus dies from his peanut allergy will be the end of this phone. This doesn't even consider how many workplaces that have scent/perfume/cologne restrictions and would ban the phone. What use is a cell phone if you can't bring it anywhere? This is another bad idea that is going to end up costing the investors a large chunk of change if it even makes it into producti
  • Yeah, this will really go over well. You take your phone to the bach and call somebody and they smell a generic, articifial "almost like a real yet generic" beach smell.

    Uh huh.

    One dimwitted company came up with this a few years ago (ten?) with the PC, now we all have internet smells enabled on our PCs. Yep.

    But what do I know? I predicted that quadraphonics [] was a stupid idea, since a $500 quadraphonic sound system didn't sound as good as a $250 stereo system (you need twice as many of everything), yet "5.1 s
    • You take your phone to the bach
      Please keep your phones switched off during the concert...
      • by sm62704 ( 957197 )
        Damned cheap keyboards thay make these days! Now if I was on a phone, instead of "bach" you would have heard a far easier to understand message. Like "Yeah [sshhsht] well You [KKKKKKKkkkkkkrumble] phoney [chchchshshshhshh] to the bitch and call [crackle] and they smell [pssht] articifial [pshtpshtpsht] bleach smell."

        Ot conversely,

        "@ bch cul8tr"
      • by rossdee ( 243626 )
        In The North Island of NZ, a bach is a summer cottage, like on a lake or seaside.
  • Krank calls just got a whole lot worse...
  • This is our May Fool joke. Who would permit stinkies to come from their own phone, let alone re-order the package that makes the smell?

    I smell a marketing exercise, designed to bring attention to the technology for other purposes. I suspect the real applications would not capture the public imagination, but instead be used in the retail and advertiing sector: sponsored phones, perhaps?

    • by sm62704 ( 957197 )
      This is our May Fool joke.

      Yes, in case you folks missed it, April Fool's Day was postponed [].

      1 April 2008

      WASHINGTON, DC -- Congress has passed a bill officially postponing April Fool's Day, originally on April 1, to May 1. Additionally, pranks on the traditional date will be a federal and capital offense punishable by death.

      Naturally, pranksters and liars all over the United States are flabbergasted, shocked, and whining.

      President George W. Bush said, "This is a national blasphemy to a major Western celebrati

  • Finally, something truly innovative! Finally, a patent I can heartily endorse!

    Here's hoping it winds up locked in patent battles for the next 20 or so years.
  • Users insert nostril tubes now. This could have been the next step. But apparently this was already done way back in 1960 for the film, Scent of Mystery. I think this cell phone will last as long as the Scent of Mystery did. All 125 minutes.
    • It is the year 2008 and where are the Smellovisions? I was promised Smellovision! I don't see any Smellovisions! Why why why?!
  • Now you can have "Silent but deadly" ring tones!
  • My first thought was how wrong this could go with someone coming out with the 'Adult Only' version of scents.

    Friend 1: Wat r u doing?

    Friend 2: hehe guess *smell*

    Friend 3: OMG!!1! BLUSH
  • This has to be one of the dumbest things I've read about today. No, actually I think it's THE dumbest thing I've read today, and I've been at work for three hours already. Why is this necessary?
  • I love the smell of the sun.
  • They should also add a cheap, clean, renewable energy source.
    Nah - that's useless. Let's make it so you can text farts!
  • d00d, sc3nt txt me quik

    wut up?

    dropd m fon n da toilet, need u 2 txt me lysol

    no lysol. febr33z. m gf sez i need

    d00d i dont care, just dload lysol, quik

    okok, hold on ...

    sh1t, copypaste wut m fon sez "Dear TmobileVerizon Subscriber: The German RIAA has placed an embargo on all German media content on this cell number, including ScentFon modules, due to unauthorized content access via FonTorrent."


    d00d, its da st00pid techno song u told me to dload last time!!!

  • Ahhh, the smell of canned spam.
  • will my phone smell like Gonorrhea?
  • it can actually capture and transmit any scent.

    imagine being able to call your _______ (politician, boss, ex; fill in the blank) and finally be able to truly express how you feel about them, where mere words just won't do.
  • >Send *fart*
    >BRAAAAAP *strong smell comes from man's pants*
    >"Ewww! Gross! This is the worst date ever!" *man's date leaves*
    >*friends laugh*

    >*woman sends nasty message to man*
    >*sniff sniff* "Does it smell like chicken in here?"
  • I can already smell the goatse links......
  • "Naturally, the makers think that the chip will be used for sending pleasant odors to friends and family"

    I've got bad news for them...
  • Is the iSmell far behind?
  • I believe, I'm 99% certain at any rate, that they tried this idea with movies in the past and they failed because they... Well... They stunk. Meaning that the scents just piled on and added too each other so that there weren't any real "normal" scents any more but rather just a giant pile of stink. Sort of like trying to use all the crayons and ending up with a mess. I rooted for a link but I can't recall the name of the movie.
    • by edraven ( 45764 )
      I've always assumed this was a William Castle thing, because it's really his style, but the invention you're refering to is apparently called Smell-O-Vision [] and was never used in a Castle film.
      • by KGIII ( 973947 )
        That'd be it, much thanks. I was trying to remember the name of the movie itself and searching brought up some newer stuff in Japan and a bunch of links about other movies with scent in the title. It is an interesting article - thanks for the link. I'd offer you more mod points but, well, I'm thanking you and I don't have any at the moment.
  • "Please sniff your cell phone, then choose the correct answer from the following list: (a) cinnamon; (b) roses; (c) french fries; (d) fart; (e) toe jam. If you have a cold or other scent-challenging medical condition, click here to hear an audio version of your sound."

  • "omg hu ct 1?"
    "he hu smlt it dlt it"

  • Does this mean that scented ring tones will be next? I guess instead of vibrate we can just set the phone to silent but deadly.
  • I've read TFA, but I'm confused about what actually got patented. It would make more sense if the patent was related to the chip they're developing as opposed to the use of the chip in a mobile phone. In the former case, the possible applications are extremely broad. Think online games and virtual reality. Imagine playing WoW and having scents recreated for you by a chip in your computer as you wander the landscape.

    However, from TFA, it sounds like the patent is more narrow than this. That is, it's spec
    • by szyzyg ( 7313 )
      Well technically with the amount of digital compression on modern media, those photos, videos and sound clips that people already send are merely representations of the original.
      • The original article says:

        ... there will be about 100 different prefabricated scents on the chip for customers to choose from.
        My interpretation of this was that you choose a scent from this list of 100 scents, the 'id' for that scent is sent to the receiver, and then the scent is generated at the receiver based on the id.

        So this is very different from photos, videos, and sound clips being sent.
    • I've read TFA, but I'm confused about what actually got patented. It would make more sense if the patent was related to the chip they're developing as opposed to the use of the chip in a mobile phone.

      The idea of smell synthesis is rediscovered every five years or so, so there's a great deal of prior art. It could be that the idea of cellular stinks was the only part of their system that was patentable.
  • Enough said.

  • Hopefully they'll charge exorbitant licencing fees for this patent, protecting us from the stench of Smelly Message Service for another 17 years.

  • Hey, I smell sex and candy!
  • This could definitely lead to some interesting implications for people cybering.
  • What does a patent smell like, anyway?
  • First Shipaturd, now this? Damn Democrats.
  • That is the most useless crap I have ever heard of, I can't believe they spent research money on that, its gotta have a back door kill recipient scent or something. Well I am probably biased as I have turned off messaging on my service because I don't want them popping up and annoying me. I find that if its important they will take time to make a voice call.
  • We have flickr [] for sharing photos, youtube [] for sharing video, imeem [] for sharing music I should get in early and register
  • I was really excited about DigiScent's iSmell product ( []) that never seemed to gain momemtum.
    You have scent cartriges (kind of like print cartridges) and the unit can generate smells. Neat idea.
  • ... wouldn't it be more likely to find such chip technology in room oder fighting plugins (to the wall socket)?
  • a 16 year old girl...

    They already send photos of their vaginas, why not smell too?
  • Will all phones come pre-loaded with a spam scent? I already get enough text message spam as it is but now I'm going to get... SCENTED text message spam? The scent cartridges would have to be refilled constantly in order to be remotely useful. Uh, I think I'll pass on this one. :p

  • No doubt this will soon follow. Cup o' tea gov'nor [] Entry #4.
  • I thought the German courts took a very dim view of scentology . . . .
  • Vista stinks.
  • I can see how this will play out with the middle/high school crowd. You've got your phone in your pocket, and someone sends a fart smell to your phone. Instant embarrassment! Although it also means you can blame a real one on your smell-o-text...
  • So much fun to be had when you know your friend is in a crowded lecture hall or important meeting.

    Who farted? Oh, yeah, YOU did, courtesy of me, bwahahahahahaha!!!
  • Tagged "cellphones". How disappointing, Slashdot.

    It's so obvious - SMELLPHONES.

To write good code is a worthy challenge, and a source of civilized delight. -- stolen and paraphrased from William Safire