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Olly and Molly

Web-connected robots dispense custom scents and candy treats

by Richard Prime in Tech on 25 January 2012

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When a creative brief tasked them to "make something connected to the Internet that doesn't live on the screen," Foundry, a small research team at Mint Digital, came up with Olly, a scent-based system rewarding social media activity or, as they describe it on their site, a "web-connected smelly robot."

Olly links up to web-based social applications and emits a fragrance—thankfully, one that you choose—when you receive emails, re-Tweets, instant messages, and various other pings across the channels of social media. Exploring the notion that smell is one of our most under-used senses in an over-stimulated world, Olly is a modular system that will have its own website from which the user can customize the way the smelly robot responds to web stimuli.

Joining Olly on Kickstarter is Molly, a robot Foundry will release today that graduates from scent to candy, dispensing one's chosen sweets upon receipt of virtual notifications.

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Molly operates in a similar way to Olly, which for scents stores a removable tray and a small interior fan to release the aroma. The user can customize various modules to assign different fragrances to different alerts—perhaps something sweet to soften the blow of a bill from your accountant, or a loved one's perfume or cologne for their notes. According to the team at Foundry, "Olly wants to be fiddled with."

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While Olly works around a more cerebral sense, Molly is all about indulgence. Together, the robot pair might just serve as the ultimate carrot and stick for the digital generation. Olly and Molly (available later today) sell on Kickstarter for $50 each. The project will only come to fruition if they make the $35,000 goal, so pledge now.

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