When was the last time you bought flowers from a florist? If you’re anything like me, you can’t recall the last time you bought flowers from a flower shop as it seems like such a distant past. In Japan, the annual sales of the flower market have plummeted within the last 14 years. Ota Floriculture Co Ltd, a wholesale of the Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market and Les mille feuilles de liberte, a flower shop collaborated on a project to create a new idea around flower for gifting. The project was aimed to bring back previous consumers by introducing them to a new concept of flowers.

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Combining Memory and Scents

As humans, we have strong attachments to scents. Whether it’s the coffee beans from a cafe that you used to visit with your ex or a whiff of perfume that your late grandmother used to wear, scents have an interesting way of evoking our forgotten memories. With the help of acquired funding from crowdfunding, the project team created the world’s first memory and scent matching technology that can extract scent data that matches the scent attached to your memory. The amazing thing about this scent sensor is that it will provide a bouquet of flowers that has a scent that’s linked with your past. While there were previously scent measuring devices that could measure the strength and weakness of a smell, this is considered to be the first attempt to measure the pleasantness of a smell.

How it Actually Works

First, you need to put an item that reminds you about a particular event and a photo that has captured a moment of this memory inside the device. For example, if you wanted a flower that matches the memory of your marriage, you would most likely put in your wedding ring and a photo that was taken during your wedding. Once you’ve placed your items inside the box, the device will start to extract data by analyzing scents that could match your memory. The device will use the photo to derive more information about your memory, such as where the photo was taken. Was it inside or outside? Was it near the ocean or in the mountains? Such information can drastically change how the device analyzes your memory. After combining all the accumulated data that the device has extracted, it will find a flower that matches your memory. Once the whole process is finished, you’ll find a bouquet of flowers that remind you about a special moment in your life.

Examples of Scents Created by Data Derived from Memories

・A Honeymoon in Hawaii

Item: wedding ring Photo: a photo taken during the couple’s honeymoon in Hawaii

・A Couple’s Home

Item: A towel from the couple’s home Photo: a picture of the couple taken inside their humble abode

The digital age has made purchasing gifts easier than ever before. Just check out any e-commerce website and you’re bound to find a list of gift ideas that will impress your loved ones. An interesting coffee-table book, wine glasses, candles, you name it. However, when it comes to anything that has to do with scents, people still have a tendency to steer away from buying them as each person has their own preference. What smells heavenly to one person may be too pungent for someone else. The fascinating thing about the Fragrant Memories project is that it derives data from your personal memories and items. This means that it’s highly unlikely to take out a flower from the device that’s unpleasant. Can a present get any more special and personal than a flower that reminds you about a precious moment in your life? I don’t think so.

Top Image @mrhayata