How To Teach People To Smell With Design

How To Teach People To Smell With Design

Research into the sense of smell features odor interpreting devices for those who cannot detect scent.

Laura Chase
  • 15 august 2013

“Odors have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions, or will. The persuasive power of an odor cannot be fended off, it enters into us like breath into our lungs, it fills us up, imbues us totally. There is no remedy for it.”- Patrick Süskind.

S sense is an investigation into the sense of smell and its uses. The key element to this project by Omer Polak is a device that helps anosmic people (those with reduced smell receptors) to learn different types of odors. The device diffuses pleasant and unpleasant odors that are translated into sounds and images on a screen. With this biofeedback odor learning program, people who have never experienced the sense of smell can learn and explore their odor memories. Polak also designed different odor spreading devices such as elegant boutonnières or rings.

omer polak

Omer Polek designed several models for odor learning devices:

I started the project as a personal research in odor. At the beginning I tried to experience the world through smells and without them, tried to learn my own smell through designated mask. I ‘recorded’ smells in primitive ways and spread them artificially. Then I tried to neutralize my sense of smell by using blurring ‘white odor’ as if I was an anosmic for one day. I created conceptual models for an instrument that would increase odor, and for an instrument that will allow you to smell danger/diseases.

S Sense is the graduation project of designer Omer Polak. This odor learning project was developed in collaboration with the Israeli Weizmann Institute of Science  and Bezalel Academy of Art and Design with the technology of Scent2You, a pioneering start-up company in the field of digital scent distribution.

omer polak  1

S Sense


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