An Olfactory Factory

Ever have a scent memory? Boy can those be scary. One time, I was on the bus, minding my own business, when I got that feeling in my gut that something was definitely not right. Caroline is on this bus! My heart started racing. My vision – blurred.

I hadn’t thought of her much since we broke up two years ago, but there was no mistaking it; she was on my bus. I began to look around coyly, trying to find her without making eye contact. A minute later, the girl in front of me got up and left. Clearly, she was just wearing the same perfume as my ex-girlfriend and I just proved to myself (and probably everyone else on the bus) that I am certifiably insane. All-in-all a good day for me.

But, seriously, memories derived from scent are incredibly lucid. I don’t know if it’s ’cause your olfactory receptors are more closely connected to your brain than your eyes or what (I was a history major…). But for some reason seeing a picture of something will give you a moment of aww I miss that, while smelling a moment immerses you in that memory so deeply that you start being a creep on a bus.

Well, now you can freak out anywhere you want thanks to a camera that can supposedly capture smells for you to sniff at your leisure.


Image source Fast Company

I’m thinking this is a good idea, but one that could have disastrous implications. After living with four other guys in a suite in college, I could definitely see one of them mixing in a moldy banana scent in with my Cape Cod and Mount Katahdin scents. That’s not a risk I’m willing to take.

Posted by Ben

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