Living with Moodo’s smart fragrance diffuser: DJ Smell is in the house

Scents and sensibility

Playing DJ with Moodo's smart smell box
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Nothing is off limits for the smart home, and thanks to Agan Aroma that now includes smell diffusers. Last year Agan Aroma went to Indiegogo and raised $200,000 for its smart scent box – an amount not to be sniffed at – and now the Moodo box is available to buy. I've even been trying one out myself.

The Moodo lets you play DJ with the smells in your home, controlling your concoctions from the device, the smartphone app or a voice assistant. On the top of the box are four circular slots to drop in your smelly capsules, little Nespresso-esque pods filled with ambiguously named fragrances like Shaman's Potion and Grandma’s Vanilla (no, me neither). It will then blast air through those pods, wafting the fragrance through the room.

Read this: How to get a high-end smart home on a budget

You get four pods in the box with the Moodo unit, but you can pick up additional packs of four which have other fragrances. Each pod should last about two months before it needs to be replaced.

Living with Moodo’s smart fragrant box: DJ Smell is in the house

The box itself isn’t destined to be a statement piece for your living room. It’s black, plasticky and kind of cheap looking. You’ll want to put it somewhere it’s not going to stick out, but where it can effectively diffuse around the room. The company claims that Moodo can cover rooms up to 600 square feet. The living room and kitchen in my apartment are connected and come to almost that size, and the Moodo has had no problem filling the whole area.

I was 50 Scent, mixing smells in my beat laboratory

As for the scents, it’s a mixed bag; some are a little too intense for my liking. The capsules come in packs of four – "scent families" as the company calls them – that are designed to work together. I got sent one called 'Cozzy' and another called 'Fresh vibrations', both of which had four different smells. Floral Magic is fine. Midnight Thrill smells like someone put on too much deodorant. Orange Sunrise is more palatable. Rather than using oils, the pods use scented beads, and while I'm no expert in aromatherapy, I assume this is why the smells are a bit more obviously synthetic.

Smell ya later

The Moodo lets you adjust the intensity of each smell being blasted out, but things get more interesting when you start mixing more than one fragrance together at a time. The Moodo knows which pods are plugged in, and the app will recommend different mixes to try depending on what's there, each one named something like Zanzibar or Carmel or some other nonsense.

However you'll need the right combination of fragrances – ie the right "scent family" – to get these recommendations. I tried mixing smells from different boxes together and it wouldn't suggest any recipes.

Living with Moodo’s smart fragrant box: DJ Smell is in the house

Then I discovered you could create custom mixes, using sliding scales to determine the ratio of each fragrance emitted. I was 50 Scent, dropping smells in my beat laboratory, trying to create my own unique fragrance, one never smelled before. But in all honesty I had no idea what I was doing, something which dawned on me during a musky mix that I have since titled Nausea Sunrise. My advice? Stick to the suggested recipes.

Sadly however, it’s the app that stinks worst of all. Not only did it take several attempts to get the Moodo connected to my home Wi-Fi during setup, a process that involved me having to actually type the name of my network instead of simply selecting it from a list, but it was buggy even when up and running.

Sometimes it will tell me that Moodo can’t connect to the internet, or it will suggest that it’s found a connection but not respond when I try and switch it on from the app. The idea is to be able to control my Moodo from anywhere in the house, but more times than not, it's been faster to just turn it on manually using the button on the box.

Living with Moodo’s smart fragrant box: DJ Smell is in the house

You can also use Alexa and Google Assistant to switch Moodo. I enabled the Alexa skill and asked to “Start Moodo”. It recognised it! Alexa asked me to name the fragrance I wanted to smell. “Wood Royale”. It didn’t work! After several attempts I gave in. I’d recommend just using the IFFFT integrations instead, which let you do things like trigger Moodo to turn on when you come home.

My other biggest criticism of the Moodo is the price. It's $189 for the main unit and an additional $30 for each pack of capsules. Two months of use from each pod isn't bad, but you can see how this can become an expensive gadget.

The result of all this is that my living room and bedroom have smelled a little better the last few weeks, but I don't think it's something I'll continue to use once the few scents I actually like run out. But if you're into aromatherapy, there could be something here, especially if Agan Aroma can fix those bugs and maybe drop the price a little.

TAGGED    smart home    inspiration

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