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Brief Published: 16 Sep 2014

Scented Mobile Alerts


A device that issues scent-based mobile alerts has launched on Kickstarter.

The iScent is a 3D-printed desktop device in the shape of an ancient Chinese tower, designed by Qblinks, a China-based tech research and development team. It connects to the user's phone via low-energy Bluetooth 4.0 and emits pulses of custom-scented, atomised mist when the phone receives notifications and calls.

Qblinks based the concept on ancient Chinese 'wolf towers' – towers that alerted soldiers to approaching invaders via smoke signals. The team said in a statement: "We are inundated with social media notifications. At the end of the day, those notifications are just like the smoke signals rising from the top of the 'wolf tower' messages."

Smell is one of the most powerful senses: humans can detect more than one trillion distinct scents, according to 2014 research from Rockefeller University in New York. Brands are beginning to use scent to enhance our everyday activities and create immersive sensory experiences – see Sensory Science for more.

See also Beyond Wearables, part of our latest Macro Trend, for a look at how scent-filled bubbles could revolutionise advertising.