Essence: Olfactory Interfaces for Unconscious Influence of Mood and Cognitive Performance

Publication/Creation Date
June 27 2019
MIT Media Lab (creator)
Judith Amores (creator)
Patti Maes (contributor)
Media Type
Corporate Video
Persuasive Intent

The sense of smell is perhaps the most pervasive of all senses, but it is also one of the least understood and least exploited in HCI. We present Essence, the first olfactory computational necklace that can be remotely controlled through a smartphone and can vary the intensity and frequency of the released scent based on biometric or contextual data. This paper discusses the role of smell in designing pervasive systems that affect one’s mood and cognitive performance while being asleep or awake.

We present a set of applications for this type of technology as well as the implementation of the olfactory display and the supporting software. We also discuss the results of an initial test of the prototype that show the robustness and usability of Essence while wearing it for long periods of time in multiple environments.

This video accompanies the publication in CHI '17: Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.

HCI Platform
Discursive Type
Location on Body
Wrist, Head, Neck

Date archived
February 12 2020
Last edited
February 12 2020
How to cite this entry
MIT Media Lab, Judith Amores. (June 27 2019). "Essence: Olfactory Interfaces for Unconscious Influence of Mood and Cognitive Performance". Massachusetts Institute Of Technology (MIT). Fabric of Digital Life.