We don’t know about you, but ever since noise cancelling technology entered the audio game, the headphone experience has changed forever. To be able to hop on a bus or plane, or even just chill at home, and hear nothing but the sweet tune jamming in your ear is more than just a privilege today, but an audio standard. However, not all of our five senses get a chance at “solitude”, among them smelling has been neglected over years. This has led to rancid smells violating your private space. Now, an Israeli startup claims to have developed a way to cancel out those nast odors.
What is “White Odor”?
To find a solution for eliminating odors, the startup Moodify started from a different but similar place of digitizing odors. “To this day, the perfume industry is based on perfumers (perfume pharmacists) that mix ingredients based on trial and error. Moodify technology makes it possible to define a target odor, and determine which molecules will be required in order to reach the same target odor, "explains Yigal Sharon, CEO and co-founder of Moodify, in a conversation with Geektime.
That is, instead of a manual perfume making process, it is possible to enter the desired odor into the system and get an output of an accurate recipe. Sharon explains that the time it takes to make perfumes, for example, can be significantly shortened. This also has an economic impact, since now the company knows how to work with specific molecules, and only use "green" odor molecules that can be defined in the system, and not those that can harm our health or the environment.
But we know you're here for odor cancelling, so we asked Sharon how it works exactly? He tells us that just like how white noise eliminates other noises, there is also a “white odor” (based on a patent from the Weizmann Institute of Science’s Biology department). If ANC technology in headphones works by transmitting a reverse wave (anti-phase) to the sound around you, thus giving an effect of noise cancellation, Moodify technology can also take "inverted" molecules, mix them with the same "intensity" of the odor compound around you, to receive a white odor. Just as the company's technology knows how to define a target odor and output of required molecules, it can also define an odor that it actually wants to eliminate, and create molecules and concentrations that will do that.
Before you panic though, according to Sharon, it’s unlikely that you’ll have to wear a necklace or a device on your nose to mask all the odors in the world, but the company has chosen to focus for now on one specific problem. If you have a cat, then that means you probably have a sandbox, and after a while you’ve probably become highly acquainted with one of the harshest smells on earth: cat feces. This led Moodify to release Moodify Pet, which resembles dog tags and is hung over the cats' crate. It already contains the opposite scent to these harsh odors. The company claims that the feedback received from customers has been excellent, and currently the company operates on a monthly subscription model. Dog tags should be replaced once a month, and the company claims to have thousands of monthly active subscribers.
What if the technology is used for criminal activities? It could mask the scent of gas, gun powder, or even mold
Sharon: “As with everything, technology as well could potentially be abused… The responsibility of each and every company is to build a set of values and procedures adapted to all the business circles that surround it. From the very beginning of Moodify, we’ve built a system of values and procedures that we adhere to that put the user's best interests first. "
Changing everyone’s favorite cooking show?
Right now it seems that Moodify’s solution for eliminating odors is to treat one problem at a time, so as to not eliminate for example the odors from your kitchen, without using air purifiers or popular perfumes. Sharon also tells me about the future as the company sees it, and he claims that its technology is mature enough to enable the transmission of odor digitally, so that through what he calls an "odor speaker", which is a type of odor printer with dedicated cartridges, made by the company, allowing you to smell products before you buy them. Such as with perfume.
In a slightly more creepy case, Sharon explains that the company may finally be able to get chefs and contestants in cooking shows to stop saying “I wish you could smell it,” and also connect to your TV and allow you to smell scents that match the scene you are watching. Did anyone say "Smell-O-Vision"? According to Sharon, between 5-7 basic scents will allow the company to reproduce every scent in the world in real time. Currently, the company is still busy sniffing for those basic scents, meaning the product would be operational "another 5 years from today". In parallel with this activity in the B2C world, Moodify also operates in a B2B model, developing fragrances for various consumer products for other companies, from which it collects royalties "on a large scale", according to Sharon.
Today (Monday), Moodify announced completing an $8 million Series A round, from Toyota Ventures, Next Gear, OurCrowd, and Taisho. Though, the possibly most interesting participant in the round was Procter & Gamble, a provider of popular brands: Pampers, Brown, Gillette, and more. Moodify was founded in 2017 by Yigal Sharon and Dr. Yaniv Mama, and employs a team of 25 researchers and developers at its Kfar Saba offices. The company reports that it plans to double its roster by the end of the year, enhancing the team with AI scientists to help develop new digital odor products.