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Crazy or brilliant? A Twitter-controlled air freshener

Every time someone retweets something posted by the @mintfoundry Twitter account, this strange contraption squirts air freshener into the air.
Every time someone retweets something posted by the @mintfoundry Twitter account, this strange contraption squirts air freshener into the air.Mint Digital

Stop me if you've heard this one before. Some guys walk into a design firm and are told to "make something connected to the Internet that doesn't live on a screen." They gather up some electronic parts, stray household objects and various cables. Then they cobble together an air freshener that spits out a bit of fragrance every time their Twitter account is retweeted.

No, that's not the setup for a terrible joke — it's the true story of "The Smell of Success," the project that was born when four young recruits at British design firm Mint Digital became part of a research team which focuses "exploring physical objects which connect to the Web though digital technology."

This research team is called The Foundry and it must reside in one of the sweetest-smelling (or, depending on the choice of air freshener, stinkiest) offices ever built, especially after The Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal called attention to the project and its Twitter account, @mintfoundry.

You can check out how the whole setup works by watching the video below. And then you can either build your own by studying the Instructables guide created by The Foundry — or simply retweet @mintfoundry until someone decides to unplug the machine.

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Rosa Golijan writes about tech here and there. She's obsessed with Twitter and loves to be liked on FacebookOh, and she can be found on Google+, too.