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Olly, the gadget that makes your tweets smell

Social network alerts via scent

Some people live and breathe social media. Now at least you can smell it.

A new gadget called Olly watches social networks and alerts you when your name is mentioned, retweeted or talked about with a whiff of scent.

The net-connected robot watches messages swirling around social networks to spot when its owner gets a mention, Like or retweet.

Any time the owner gets an @mention, comment on a post or “any notification at all”, Olly gently releases a scent into the air.

Olly (short for olfactory) is an intriguing project by Benjamin Redford for technology company Mint.

"We wanted to reward people in the physical world for their digital and social interactions," Redford told the BBC.

"We are gradually spending more and more time on screen and it's good to have some other form of sensory stimulus rather than just video and audio," he told the broadcaster.

Scents can be tailored to suit the owner’s preference. The gadget has a rear drawer where any scents can be added.

Redford says that one of the smells tested was “vomit”.

Olly’s fan picks up the scent and wafts it around the user’s desk. Mint recommends using essential oils as “they’re relatively cheap, come in loads of different scents, and you get a lot of smell from very little substance”.

While Olly is not yet available for sale, you can make a version of Olly yourself “using a 3D printer and off the shelf parts”.

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