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BOB.
An installation that explores
smell interaction design

Team: Arvind Sanjeev | Matt Visco | Keyur Jain

The Intro

Every day billions of people go through their daily routine, something like — wake up, have breakfast, go to work, finish work, go home, go to sleep, and repeat. Routines are nice, they help keep us grounded but sometimes we forget to break out of these routines, to take some time to appreciate the beauty around us.

Bob is a playful box that calls this to our attention with a simple reminder to “Stop and Smell the Roses.” Bob communicates through sound and smell — by hitting bob on the top it releases a ring of scented smoke that can be directed to hit a single person. Along with this scent ring, an audio track announcing the catch phrase “Stop and Smell the Roses” plays. This phrase changes its intonation based on how softly or aggressively one hits Bob.
Bob’s main goal in life is to help people take a moment to embrace the incredible smellscape around them.

User testing

Bob has been exhibited at two exhibitions till date, one being at Space10 (Copenhagen) and during the 2017 Copenhagen Maker Faire. People from different age groups interacted and experienced Bob.

The Process

Smell is the only sense that has a direct connection to the brain, bypassing the Thalamus. This is why smell is so effective at triggering detailed memories and emotions. However, smell is hard to quantify and express with human language. Try explaining to your friend what your day smelled like — not so easy to do.

During our course "As We May Sense" at CIID, our group conducted a number of experiments to learn more about smell. These experiments helped us better understand smell and led us to the final outcome: Bob. Some of these experiments include:

  1. Smell based navigation
    An experiment testing whether humans are capable of navigation using just olfactory information.
  2. Smell maps
    In this experiment, our team set out to record the different smells of the city using a fabric with an outlined of the city.
  3. DIY Perfumes
    Using a technique for making water based perfumes, our team created two perfumes which were extractions from flowers picked from different parts of the city.

More Pictures