Friday, April 11, 2008

The scent of a mobile...

TOKYO, JAPAN - NTT Communications (NTT Com) announced today that it will conduct a pilot test of its new Mobile Fragrance Communication (Kaori Tsushin Mobile) service, a mobile version of an existing service for enjoying downloaded audiovisual content together with specific fragrances that are emitted by a dedicated device. The pilot test will run from April 10 to 20.

First launched for home use in 2005, Fragrance Communication is now used by companies and individuals to enhance indoor environments with pleasing fragrances. The new mobile version offers the convenience of using mobile communication to download Fragrance Playlists, or files of recipes for specific fragrances together with visual (GIF animation) and audio (MIDI) content.

The Fragrance Playlists are downloaded from the "i-mode" mobile website of sister company NTT DoCoMo. Using the phone's infrared port, the fragrance data is transferred to a device that has been loaded with a cartridge of essences, or base fragrances (Attachment 1). The device, a smaller, lighter and more stylish version of the previous model, then mixes the specific fragrances and emits them as the user enjoys the A/V content played back on their phone(Attachment 2).

The Fragrance Playlists also can be edited as well as shared with others who subscribe to the service.

Also to be tested is a device controller, called the Service Gateway, which controls the operation of devices in the Mobile Fragrance Communication system. The gateway connects with the Internet, so instructions can be sent remotely from a mobile phone. For example, commands could be sent to the gateway to instruct the fragrance device to begin operating just before the user arrives home (Attachment 3).

In the pilot test, a total of 20 male and female monitors will each receive a free Mobile Fragrance Communication kit containing a mobile phone and fragrance device. Five of the monitors will also be given Service Gateway modules. After using the service for ten days, the monitors will complete questionnaires and take part in a group interview. NTT Com will use the information to learn about the monitors' preferences for when, where and how to use the service, as well as their opinions of the fragrance device's design and usability.

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