Remember the mobile phone that smelled? In 2007, Motorola applied for a patent to include smell by adding scent cartridges to their mobile phone functionalities. I refferred to it as a possible horror story in a train full of people. This were their original plans:
“Mobile phone manufacturer Motorola wants to make using your phone a more fragrant experience. It was recently granted a patent for a way of making a handset release scents by heating a special cartridge. It was inspired by the way plug-in air fresheners work.
The patent notes that it might not be necessary to modify a phone’s design much. Tests showed that the power amplifier in some Motorola phones reaches about 60ºC – hot enough to activate the fragrance in a disposable gel sachet. (source: New Scientist)
I never read or heard anything anymore about Motorola’s plans… To my surprise I read on Peter van Waart’s blog about a new product by Asus: the F6 Notebook Series. The laptop distinguishes itself not only by its design, but also by its scent! Feel fresh while typing….
Realized in a pastel green hue, this graphic motif is inspired by the love and respect for nature. Return to the embrace of Mother Nature for a crisp and refreshing awakening of the senses whenever you work on your notebook.
This type of product innovation which is meant to make us have a deeper and more meaningful experience with a product is in my opinion completely the opposite of what we as experience designers and researchers are trying to achieve. In principal, these ‘experiential add-ons’ do not create meaningul experiences. They can give us an impulse, and indeed a fresh smell can be experienced as pleasant or surprising. However, I think that when they are implemented in products that we use on a daily basis (like the laptop), these emotions ware out quickly.
What do you think?