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A camera that can capture fragrance

Washington: A new camera has been developed that can capture the whiff of your first pet or the smell of the seaside holiday.

Designer Amy Radcliffe's 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.

Her project, developed in the college's Textile Futures department, draws on "headspace capture" techniques pioneered in the 1970s by Swiss fragrance chemist Roman Kaiser, for obtaining the composition of rare botanical scents for the perfume industry.

Radcliffe's " scentograph y" camera has a retro-futuristic form, referencing both this 70s heritage and our growing nostalgia in photography - embodied by clunky Lomo cameras and wistful Instagram filters.

With its faceted ceramic casing, glass funnel and plastic tubes, it also looks like a mysterious piece of scientific apparatus.

To make it work, you place the funnel over the object or environment you wish to capture, then a pump sucks the air across an odour trap made of Tenax - a porous polymer resin which adsorbs the volatile particles that make up the smell.

It can take anything from a few minutes to capture the scent of fresh strawberries, to around 24 hours to store the more subtle aroma of an atmosphere. (

(Agencies)

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