Olfactory Exploration

This experimental design project explored synaesthetic connections between smell and health. Through a rigorous research process, we considered the ways that scent can affect a person's emotional state or behaviour at different times of day.

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In a series of experiments, we found that there is no universal understanding of scent, so we focused on the individual. Through thorough testing and association games, we created a methodology for finding an individual's personalised, colour-coded 'smell-scape', which can be used to self-regulate ones mental state. We prototyped a delivery mechanism pre-loaded with the scents that made her calm, happy, and energised, and used it to affect her behaviour and performance throughout the day.

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In a final experiment, we showed the test subject two alarming clips from horror films and measured her heart rate - both with and without the use of her personalised small-scape data. For the clip without scent, her bpm started at 74, and went up to 145. For the second round of testing (with the presence her 'calming' smell) her bpm remained much more constant - between 71 and 86.

Collaborators: David Leonard, Jingyi Wu, Davor Petricio Heredia