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Nothing beats the scent of fresh coffee in the morning

As we move towards fall, and the days get shorter and crisper, it seems about time for that annual beverage migration: away from the iced coffee, and returning to the traditional morning cup of hot, fresh coffee.  For me, possibly the best part of hot coffee is the smell. Nothing inspires me to roll out of bed and face the day quite as well as the wafting scent of coffee. And now, research shows that there is a scientific reason for this little boost. Researchers in South Korea claim that the scent of coffee reactivates certain genes which are suppressed by sleep-deprivation, thereby waking you up. Furthermore, coffee has been shown to be one of the most complex scents in...

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Why does chocolate+vanilla remind me of my grandmother?

Fresh cut grass reminds me of playing outside as a kid while my dad cut the grass on Sundays. Chocolate mixed with a hint of natural vanilla reminds me of the cookies that my grandmother used to bake when my parents were gone and she was babysitting. Burnt hair reminds me of that one time in high school chemistry class. The way that scent can so quickly trigger a memory is actually a well-documented phenomenon, called the Proust Phenomenon.  Marcel Proust first wrote about this in Remembrance of Things Past, in which he describes how the scent of a Madeleine cookie dipped into a cup of tea inevitably reminds him of moments in his childhood when his mother and aunt served...

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Why does sunscreen smell like that?

For me, the thought of summer always cues the feeling of sand between my toes, the taste of fresh watermelon, and the scent of sunscreen. But why does sunscreen smell like that? People have been getting sunburnt since the ancient times. Ancient Greek documentation even mentions the use of sun-shielding clothing and veils to try to prevent this. After all, this was the society where Helen’s fair skin launched a thousand ships...avoiding a tan was highly prized. Unsurprisingly, some ancient civilizations developed their own sunscreen. For instance, the ancient Egyptians used a combination of aloe vera, calcite, clay, and herbs as their sun protection. Of course, this smelled nothing like our current sunscreens! The sunscreen that we are accustomed to...

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The Story of Vapor Communications

We began with the idea that our digital lives are missing something fundamental, that we would live healthier, more fulfilled lives, should all of our senses work for us, not just two.  Scent is the most emotive of all sensory signals. Others have tried to bring scent into digital communications. We decided to make it happen. The idea, first developed by Harvard Professor David Edwards and his student Rachel Field at Harvard University, took shape at Le Laboratoire in Paris with a first exhibition, Virtual Coffee, in the summer 2013. We started our company in the fall 2013, were joined in early 2015 by experienced tech entrepreneur Don Zereski, and more recently, by Brendan Regan, and by our CEO Denis...

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