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One of the shows that I loved watching some years ago is ‘Emeril Live’. Emeril Lagasse, a New York celebrity chef, was famous for his expressions ‘Kick it up a notch!’ and ‘Bam!’ everytime he throws seasoning to the dish he is cooking during the show.

One thing that I remember that he used to say to his studio audience is that although they could smell the delicious scent of his cooking, the home audience couldn’t because they don’t have Smell-O-Vision. This just makes me wonder more the tastiness of his dish that he is cooking.

Well, a new device could possibly pave the way for the Smell-O-Vision that Emeril was talking about.

Amy Radcliffe created a device that she calls “The Madeleine”.  According to description of the video that she posted on the Vimeo website, ‘The Madeleine is, to all intents and purposes, an analog odor camera. Based on current perfumery technology, Headspace Capture, The Madeleine works in much the same way as a 35mm camera. Just as the camera records the light information of a visual in order to create a replica The Madeleine records the chemical information of a smell.

If an analog, amateur-friendly system of odor capture and synthesis could be developed, we could see a profound change in the way we regard the use and effect of smells in our daily lives. From manipulating our emotional well-being through prescribed nostalgia, to the functional use of conditioned scent memory, our olfactory sense could take on a much more conscious role in the way we consume and record the world’.

In a article, it was explained how the device works.

When a smell source is placed under the device’s glass cone, a pump extracts the smell via a plastic tube. After being drawn to Madeleine’s main unit, the smell goes through a resin trap which absorbs the particles so molecular information can be recorded.

That data is expressed in a graph-like formula, which essentially contains a fingerprint of the smell. In a special lab, that formula can then be inscribed on a bronze disk to artificially reproduce the smell. The smell can also be recreated in small vials.

Depending on the subtlety and strength of the scent being captured, the process can take anywhere from a few minutes to a full day.

The Smell-O-Vision has been attempted since 1906 to coincide with the popularity of the movies and films. But I think it never lived up to what people expect of the technology.

I think with ‘The Madeleine’ this might be the right way to achieve Smell-O-Vision. The same way photographs led to the creation of movies.

Watch the ‘The Madeleine’ now!


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