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Thanks to This Gadget, Your Message Alerts Can Smell Like Coffee

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Customized ringtones? That's so yesterday. How about message notifications that you can smell? Yep, it's happening.

The latest craze in smartphone notification technology comes in the form of Japan-based Scentee, a bubble-like device that plugs into your phone's headphone jack and releases a puff of scent into the air whenever you get an email or someone comments on your Facebook page.

Yes, you read that right. It's like smell-o-vision for your phone.

You can choose from a dozen collectible scent cartridges, from coconut to jasmine to coffee, the Scentee site says. There's even curry, cinnamon roll and corn soup, if you prefer food scents.

"Check out our evolving scent catalogue for new olfactory options," the website suggests. "Have a few on hand to suit the mood, the message, the event, or simply your personal fragrance preference."

The Scentee accessory is paired with an app that the user configures to tell it when to release its scent. You can set it to send out a stimulating olfactory experience whenever someone likes something on your Facebook, or tell it to work with your phone's alarm clock to ease you into the morning with the delightful smell of cinnamon rolls or coffee.

Another app that works with the Scentee device is called Hana Yakiniku, or "Nose Barbeque." Paired with three scents -- beef ribs, salted tongue or buttered potato – the app "releases an overflowing scent and you'll be drooling all over." The Scentee creators suggest that you can even use it to make the most boring meal a mouthwatering experience.

The Scentee device costs about $37.50. The special scent apps are free to download.

Whether the soap opera-like long video (in Japanese) or the shorter English-language video, both of which can be found on the Scentee website, are completely serious is up for debate. As with many wacky Japanese gadgets, it's safe to assume there's probably something lost in translation.

What crazy apps and gadgets have you come across lately? Let us know by emailing us at or by telling us in the comments below.


Katherine Gray

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Katherine Gray is a freelance writer, photographer and desktop publisher based in western Maryland.