Woman falling asleep while driving (Shutterstock) (Shutterstock)
Woman falling asleep while driving (Shutterstock)

Innovative “active scent” technology keeps drivers awake and can also combat the scent of cigarette smoke, rotten food, and other nasty odors.

By United with Israel Staff

Moodify, an Israeli startup in Tel Aviv, is developing a high-tech non-invasive and safe gadget that not only combats bad smells, but also keeps drivers alert. It is also creating gadgets based on smell that can reduce stress and aggression. Its scientific approach is based on a decade of research on chemo-signals at the Neurobiology department in Weizmann Institute of Science.

Moodify’s founders are not high-tech wizards or car buffs. Rather, CEO and co-founder Yigal Sharon and his co-founder Yaniv Mama are psychologists with expertise in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Through their studies of ways to teach empathy by using a computer algorithm to improve well-being, they found that one of the most effective ways to manipulate human emotions for the better is through the sense of smell.

“When we sniff a scent, the odors are transmitted as odorants patterns to the brain where they are organized to become smells,” according to the company’s website. “Certain scents have a physiological effect on us. These scents are called chemo-signals and they deliver messages to our brain as a kind of communication. When we smell these specific scents, we react even without us consciously noticing them.”

Moodify, founded in 2017, presently is developing three different products. The first, “Moodify White,” works similarly to a white-noise machine that helps cancel out distracting noises. The product eliminates perceptions of bad odors by temporarily affecting how the brain interprets smell by confusing the brain with custom scents. It  transmits to the brain odor molecules so one doesn’t recognize bad smells.

This gadget is mostly geared towards use in cars, but can also be used in hotel rooms, hospitals or personal spaces, to combat lingering smells from cigarette smoke, rotten food, and other nasty odors.

For example, car dealers and rental agencies typically use perfume or air fresheners to mask offending odors. However, approximately 30 percent of people don’t like those smells either or are allergic to scents. Moodify White eliminates those issues.

The device can be located underneath car seats or in the ventilation system and only costs $50 to install. It comes with 12 cartridges that last a year. After that, replacement cartridges can be purchased.

The company is working to improve its technology so that each cartridge lasts up to a year and can thus be replaced during annual service checks.

Moodify White is expected to reach the market in April 2020.

The company’s second product is hoping to save lives by keeping drivers awake. Called “Moodify Red,” Sharon described to Israel21c that the gadget turns vehicles into an “empathetic car” that senses when a driver is nodding off. The device blasts sleepy drivers with a “not nice scent” to shake them out of their stupor.

“It’s like drinking something really cold,” said the CEO. “You get a brain freeze. But it will wake you up, even if you’re sleep-deprived.”

The company is also developing “Moodify Green” and “Moodify Blue.”

Moodify Green is a “natural compound based on human pheromones that has a proven effect in improving awareness and increasing alertness.” Moodify Blue is “a natural compound based on human pheromones that have a proven effect of reducing stress and aggressiveness and can also help improve quality of sleep,” according to the company website.

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