Scentography: the camera that records your favourite smells

From the whiff of your first pet to the smell of that seaside holiday, the Madeleine captures the scent of your memories

With the one-click simplicity of Flickr and Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, recording our memories has never been easier. But with such ease has come overload. More than seven billion photos are added to Facebook every month, while 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. We are drowning in a sea of hastily snapped images, our entire existence flattened into a scrolling feed of frozen frames.

"We take pictures of everything and load it all online, to the point where it is all infinitely replicable and disposable," says designer Amy Radcliffe, whose MA project at Central Saint Martins set out to bring a more meaningful sensory dimension to storing our favourite memories.

What if you could recapture the aroma of that freshly baked birthday cake, or the scent of the wild flowers in that Alpine meadow on your last holiday? Or maybe you would choose to recall the musky pong of your first pet, or the comforting whiff of that shampoo your girlfriend used to use?

The Madeleine – named after Marcel Proust’s story of involuntary memory prompted by biting into a cake – is Radcliffe’s design for a new kind of camera that records not images, but smells. “Sense of smell has a direct link to emotional memory,” she says. “It is the sense we react to most instinctively, and the furthest away from being stored or replicated digitally.” (via Scentography: the camera that records your favourite smells | Art and design |


We know you’ve thought about capture scents before, because we certainly have. Designer, Amy Radcliffe, thought about it and acted on it, which is how she created “Scent-ography: a post-visual past time,” a project that aims to capture the exact aromas you want to last forever.

So, how does she do it? Radcliffe describes it as a simple process: “Just place the plastic dome over the object whose scent you want to extract, then attach an “odor trap” over the central mechanism. The unit is connected to the dome and trap via a set of tubes that suck the scents from the former to the latter.”

The final stage of the project is to replicate the scents in liquid form. She hopes to eventually send the liquids off to a lab where they’ll be capsuled. The final details are very important, as Radcliffe demands she doesn’t want the “fragrances to be confused with perfume because they’re not to be worn, but instead to be experienced.”

For more information on “Scent-ography” visit Amy Radcliffe’s website


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Check It, Proust: A “Camera” That Captures Memorable Smells

Forget Instagram. One Designer Envisions A Scent-Capturing Device That Aims To Preserve The Smell Of Your Favorite Memories.

The world in 2013 is a very visual place. We are compelled to document every inane part of our days, updating our Instagram,…

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