The gadget called Madeleine is the invention of designer Amy Radcliffe at Central Saint Martins, who set out to bring a more meaningful sensory dimension to storing our favourite memories.
"It's like a huge electric nose. It processes the particles and produces a graph-like formula that makes up the smell. From this formula you can artificially recreate the precise odour," she said.
Users can take their exposed odour traps to the local lab in the same way they would take a 35mm film to be processed--- the product being not photos, but delicate vials of the scent, along with a bronze disk of the specific formula, bringing a precious, ritualistic quality to the process "Sense of smell has a direct link to emotional memory.
It is the sense we react to most instinctively, and the furthest away from being stored or replicated digitally," Radcliffe said.
In order to use the camera a person needs to place the funnel over the object or environment they 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.
The working prototype 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.