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Nose Travels: Osmo's Plans For Scent Teleportation

Published May 30, 2024
Published May 30, 2024
Troy Ayala

To date, scent teleportation has been a sci-fi fantasy to most. The o-Phone, an electronic device that allowed users to send scent messages, proposed a rudimentary model back in 2014. Now Osmo, the AI-led, future-thinking enterprise looking to revolutionize scent through computer science, is taking things one step further—proposing scent travel across countries, time spans, and formats thanks to its scent teleportation technology.

As the enterprise is teaching computers how to record, analyze, and reproduce smells through eco-conscious molecules, it is now in the early stages of applying that model to scent teleportation. It begins with capturing a scent molecule through a gas chromatograph mass spectrometer (a device that has been at play in the industry for decades, most notably to emulate bestselling fragrances), which identifies all the elements at play necessary for reproduction. Osmo’s proprietary scent map and AI are then used to recreate the original scent with a specialized, refrigerator-sized printer to release it all. One example could be bringing the lavender fields of Provence to a New York City lab. The company hopes to soon teleport scent combinations (such as a honeycomb, lavender, and apple blend) while creating a self-operating system in a portable and more affordable format.

“Succeeding here means that we have to teach computers chemistry, so training AI models that understand the data from chemical sensors, that also understand human sensory perception, and also understand molecules and mixtures, is a key challenge. It's at the heart of what we do at Osmo, and we're making great progress so far,” Alex Wiltschko, CEO of Osmo, tells BeautyMatter. 

While the company has received $60 million in funding to date, with backers including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wiltschko notes: “We're always interested to meet like-minded investors who see our vision and the massive possibilities in machine olfaction.” Osmo sees opportunities across both consumer and professional levels of the industry. “Anywhere that the chemical world contains signals of opportunity or danger, anywhere you can smell a problem before it happens, that's an application area. We also imagine allowing consumers to archive scents they love and replay them, such as the scent of a loved one, a special place, or a discontinued perfume with just one drop left,” he adds. Whether it’s teaching a computer how to smell or transporting scents across decades and country borders, for Osmo, scent certainly has no limits.


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