Sunday, July 14, 2013

What If You Could Snapshot & record a Fragrance or an Aroma ?

Photo: Mine

Pozo Blue Sage at Mum's place has such an intoxicating fragrance that it quite literally can become burned into your memory banks. But what if you could not only capture the image of the source of the scent as above, but also it's very essence which characterizes and defines it ?

There was a published article which spoke about the power of fragrances, scents and other aromas which has the power to move you. Fresh-brewed Coffee, fresh baked bread or other bakery goods, walking past someone's house or in a Park where there is a Bar-B-Q, the sweet fresh smell after a summer thunderstorm, and so on. I have a number of personal favourites. Redshank or Ribbonewood (Adenostoma sparsifolium) after a summer thunder shower, Creosote Bush (Larrea tridentata) also after a summer thunderstorm. Many think it is the smell from asphalt pavement, but they are wrong. 

There was an article in this week's The Atlantic, which spoke about a new technology by U.K., the designer Amy Radcliffe who has created a project that explores this idea. It's a device that uses some of the best scent-preservation technology we have, headspace capture, to effectively take, "snapshots" of scents. It apparently works like something of an analog camera, and its goal is to convert sensory experience into a vehicle for nostalgic purposes. Seriously, how often do you run across what seems to be a familiar scent or aroma and instantly it has the power to make you recall from memory something you experienced from from the past ? Well. I've got my favourite 

Credit: Amy Radcliffe

"The Madeleine is, to all intents and purposes, an analogue odour camera. Based on current perfumery technology, Headspace Capture, The Madeleine works in much the same way as a 35mm camera. Just as the camera records the light information of a visual in order to create a replica The Madeleine records the chemical information of a smell. If an analogue, amateur-friendly system of odour capture and synthesis could be developed, we could see a profound change in the way we regard the use and effect of smells in our daily lives. From manipulating our emotional wellbeing through prescribed nostalgia, to the functional use of conditioned scent memory, our olfactory sense could take on a much more conscious role in the way we consume and record the world."

Credit: M.Dolly

(Adenostoma sparsifolium), Redshanks or less commonly, Ribbonwood, is a multi-trunked tree or shrub native to dry slopes or chaparral of Southern California and northern Baja California. It's another one of those amazing spicy sweet smelling chaparral the sets of beautiful fragrance during summer monsoonal Thundershowers. And yet, the shrub's scent can be released any time by merely spraying water from a garden hose on it.

Credit: Linda & Dr Dick Buscher

The Creosote bush (Larrea tridentate) is an evergreen shrub that commonly grows at elevations under 5,000 feet (1,524 meters) in the lower Chihuahuan, Sonoran and Mojave Deserts of northern Mexico and the U.S. Southwest. It is a highly aromatic bush and is responsible for the distinctive odor that permeates these lands during periods of rainfall.

Live Science: "Creosote Bushes: The Scent of the Desert"

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