Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The sense of smell in interaction design

I came across the concept of a Scentsory phone by Nokia on Gadgettastic. The phone uses the human senses of sight, sound, touch and even smell for an ultimate multi-sensory experience. It could detect, transmit and emit smells, as well as radiate colors, lighting, and temperature from the caller’s environment. Its electronic nose works with highly sophisticated (i.e. unknown) sensors. The nose samples the odor of the caller’s environment and transmits this to the recipient electronically.


Nokia Scentory Phone


Smells' detection and re-creation is a fascinating topic today most probably because it is still very hard to achieve technically. Last year I started developing the Odora Storyteller, a smell collector. It encompasses the experience of the everyday collector and creates an associative memory of smells, places and objects. The prototype was conceived for children to collect samples from their environment. The children can reveal and create associative connection between smells, textures and visual components of elements that they gather. The collected elements are then used to create and recall stories. I also envisioned this for persons suffering from Alzheimer's disease. People with Alzheimer’s could benefit from associative memory between smell and souvenirs of places.

Apparently it could work due to "distinct genetic patterns that are associated with every odor, and it’s simply a matter of matching electrical harmonics with gene activity" sounds like the equipment involved in this affair would go beyond the portability of such device. Could the perception of a smell by electrical stimulation be technologically induced?


Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure
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