There’s a new app at South by Southwest (SxSW) 2014, and it’s not turning heads, it’s turning noses instead.
Olfacio, which is Latin for “smell”, brings Smell-O-Vision of the past to your device of the future. The app by Cartamundi is a free (hurray!) card-based game for the iPad in which you grow virtual flowers inspired by the artwork of Belgian artist Peter de Cupere.
The app combines smell recognition technology and a more low-tech feature we’re more familiar with: scratch-and-sniff. With each download of Olfacio, you’ll require the set of 10 cards (about SGD$27) that each feature a different flower, ranging from sweet-and-sexy Fragaria Flores to the silky Persici Flores, as well as a scented panel you can unlock with your fingernail.
To start growing your own fragrant garden, scratch and sniff to pick your favourite flower scents, accompanied by a brilliant fusion of art and technology.
Once you’ve got your favourites, place them inside Olfacio’s on-screen “odour incubator” and your tablet will “smell” your flowers based on touch-recognition patterns built into each card. An image of each plant will appear on your iPad, and the app fuses the two flowers you picked to form a unique new plant that blooms happily on your screen.
It actually does seem like your iPad is “smelling” the cards as you put them to the odour incubator, but once that wears off, the entertainment is mainly in the old-school appeal of scratch-and-sniff. Still, the app has plenty of entertainment value for younger users since the touch-recognition feature is very well hidden.
Though it might not turn your device into a Smell-tastic Shazam (wouldn’t that be nice?) the app still opens up room for a new genre of apps based on smell recognition. We’re looking forward to seeing companies let you create smells from home for personalised perfumes, or decks of interesting scratch-and-sniff cards that add fun to your Kindle read.
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