TECH
17/07/2013 07:49 BST

Madeleine Smelling Machine Can Bottle Scents And Will Take You Back In Time (Not Literally)

We all know how a smell can instantly whisk you back to a long-forgotten part of your memory and remind you of summer days, a mountain lake or maybe just some cake.

Now a very inventive masters graduate at London's Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, Amy Radcliffe, has created a 'camera' that can capture scents instead of pictures.

Called a Madeleine - named after a pastry in a Marcel Proust novel that triggers 3,000 pages of childhood memories - the smells can even be bottled.

smells

The Madeleine

Radcliffe says on her website: "Our sense of smell is believed to have a direct link to our emotional memory. It is the sense that we react to most instinctually and also the furthest away from being stored or replicated digitally.

"From ambient smell-scapes to the utterly unique scent of an individual, our scent memory is a valuable resource yet to be systematically captured and archived."

The device works by drawing scent from an abject into a small tube containing an absorbent resin.

In theory a gas chromatography–mass spectrometry machine could be used to analyse the captured scent and recreate it.

People could visit a lab to develop smells just like they used to develop photo negatives.

Speaking to Wired magazine, Radcliffe, said: "Your odour memories are very fragile. If you smell something too often, you’ll erase that memory.

“With the Madeleine you snap them open, get a hit of that memory, and then it’s gone.”

Watch the video to see how it works...