oPhone Device: Pranksters Call It ‘Fart Factory’


The idea of owning a phone device that can transmit different kind of smells via an email or text message, better known as an oPhone, may not be such a good idea as is being promised by the manufacturers, Vapor Communications. Pranksters have nicknamed the oPhone a “fart factory” and made the new technology a “butt” (pun intended) of jokes over social media!

Since the news of the oPhone has been making rounds over the internet, people have taken to twitter and Facebook to share their ideas of what the new technology can mean to them. Unfortunately, most of the tweets and comments have been about sending over fart smells to friends and siblings, with many more calling the oPhone a fart factory.

A Facebook user named only as Hex wrote: “… Why would anyone want this?! I would totally fart into it.” One Facebook user shared the story on his wall and wrote “I know my brothers would send me farts all day long.” Twitter user, Polter Geist, tweeted that “Every tax payer in the US should send one to the IRS!!!”

However, that is not only where all the jokes ended. In response to all the fart jokes, some Twitter and Facebook users said they would also like to send other disgusting odors such as burps and other bathroom-related smells. Almost every social media user mentioned the recipients to be either friends or siblings, and in some cases, their wives!

A few took to the social media to wonder when Apple would come up with an ‘iFart’ to enter into the competition of these new phones. Many others shared the story of the oPhone on their walls and called it a useless technology, with some also saying they are never likely to buy such a phone device.

However, a small minority was very impressed with the idea and said the new technology can be put to good use. Sally Cooper tweeted that the oPhone can be used by cosmetics, perfumes and beauty products companies to market their products and increase their sales revenues.

Putting the technology to good use is also the real aim of the inventors, David Edwards and his research team. Edwards said, “It may have beneficial effects with respect to memory, stress relief, weight control, among other conditions.” The research team also believes that people that are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease can be treated by familiarizing them with certain scents that can help trigger their memories.

Edwards should know. He is a biomedical engineer at Harvard and the founder of Le Laboratoire, which is known for producing the calorie-free chocolate spray.

What is the oPhone?

The oPhone — the ‘o’ representing olfactory social network – is a device that would allow users of emails, social media applications, mobile apps and text messages to send a scent of their choice to recipients via a Bluetooth enabled computer, smartphone or a tablet.

The scents would be transmitted through an odor chip, termed as an oChip, which would be able to “release thousands of unique odors for 20 to 30 seconds,” according to Edwards.

The oPhone is set for a launch on July 10 and will be available for use essentially in Massachusetts before its commercial launch later in 2014. The cost of the oPhone has also not been determined as yet.

Most importantly, unlike the expectations of pranksters, sending out fart smells would not really be that easy. The phone device would have its own database of aromas from which users will be able to mix and match and select their choice of scent. Although the first oPhone sets will be designed with oChips catering particularly to coffee drinkers, with 356 combinations being offered in the first wave, the later versions would have an exhaustive database.

By Faryal Najeeb

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