The Quest to Make the Perfect Smells


Over the last month or so, we have been doing lots of experiments to work out exactly what the best medium is for dispersing smells on demand. At long last, it feels like we are very close to working it out, and have a working system that lets out smells whenever the internet tells it to. I thought it might be interesting to just outline and reflect on the strangely cyclical process we have gone through to get to where we are now.

Pringles Fan

Our first smelly prototype was the Pringles tube with a fan in the top and air freshener in the bottom. It definitely worked to an extent, and the fan did distribute the smell - the main problem being that it smelt quite strongly whether it was switched on or not. And its hard to smell the internet when everything else smells too.


The next one was the hacked Glade air freshener we called the “Smell of Success”. This used the same aerosol canister as a normal Glade freshener would use, and consequently had the same problems - although it could produce a strong smell with very little liquid, it smelt absolutely awful and was very expensive to replace when it ran out. Furthermore, there is very little possibility, with aerosols, for people to make their own scents and customize their device’s output.


The next would-be smell-maker was the ultrasonic vaporiser/fogger, some experiments with which can be found here. This worked by vibrating water at such a frequency that it turned into mist. If you put essential oils in said water, the air would very quickly fill with their scent. Despite producing a very visually stunning effect, the downside of the thick fog was that it began to soak everything around it in smelly water. Which isn’t ideal. Particularly around computers and stuff.


We needed to find a way of spreading the more natural, pleasant smells of essential oils without coating everything nearby in the aforementioned puddles of stench. And to do this, we have somewhat returned to where we started. By creating a closed system between an essential oil container and a directional fan, we make it possible to distribute the oils’ smell on demand, without it leaking out all of the time. It works!

Sometimes a very simple solution like this goes through a very complicated process to eventually arrive at it. With the components and system now more or less in place, work continues on how we refine the visual form of the object into something that works, but also that gives the smell dispenser a unique and desirable identity.

I assure you, you’re going to want one.

- Chris

Posted on: Oct 13, 2011 at 10:25 AM


  1. mintfoundry posted this

blog comments powered by Disqus

Foundry is a research team at Mint Digital.
Foundry is all about exploring physical objects which connect to the web though digital technology.

We are currently working on:
The Smell of Success