Olfactory interactions and interfaces are extremely relevant in a variety of use and application contexts, from entertainment to rehabilitation, supporting learning experiences to enhancing the creation of immersive experiences such as in virtual and augmented environments. Olfactory stimulation in interaction design may not only augment users’ experiences with technology and create novel interactive experiences (e.g., navigating in virtual environments), but also amplify sensory perception for people with sensorial impairments (e.g., blindness and deafness). Moreover, olfactory stimulation can provide creative solutions for conveying information through smell and facilitate decision making processes in situations that are suffering from visual overload (e.g., driving a car). In this project. we propose the idea of olfactory widgets (OWidgets). OWidgets aims to expand the existing range of widgets (interface elements known from graphical user interface design, such as sliders or buttons) through olfactory widgets. To achieve this ambitious aim, we combine knowledge on olfactory perception with a systematic analysis of the technical parameters of scent-delivery devices. This knowledge-mapping will allow us to guide the design and introduce OWidgets as a new non-existing layer of information delivery through scent. This project is funded by the European Research Council (ERC Proof-of-Concept).

Press coverage:




24 April 2017



About the SCHI Lab

The SCHI Lab research lies in the area of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), an area in which research on multisensory experiences makes a difference on how we design and interact with technology in the future. The interdisciplinary team explores tactile, gustatory, and olfactory experiences as novel interaction modalities.



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