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Smell-Blind

What if we can see with our nose?

Inspired by the extraordinary work of Sissel Tolaas, Smell-Blind is an interactive olfaction experience designed to challenge the idea of seeing with one’s nose.

With projection mapping, I modified a Processing code that covered a room with thousands of vibrating light particles. This particle field represented all the invisible smell molecules in the space. With a Kinect sensor to track users’ positions, I hid “easter eggs" and “hotspots” throughout the particle field that trigger appeared when users stumbled upon them. When users encountered a hotspot, trigger events occurred (a ring of light saying "sniff here”), inviting users to smell the specific part of the room.

As users waded through the particles, they also encountered quotes from Sissel that, of course, behaved like smells. They attached to users when users come across them. And when users continued walking and surpass a speed threshold, the quote detached and remained where it dropped off until someone else found it. This interaction reminded users how smells are volumetric and linger. See footage below!

Concept, Design, 3D Modeling, Editing | Edmund Liang
Custom Typeface (Ester Sans) | Edmund Liang
Mentors | Miles Mazzie & Ivan Cruz
Music | Try To Touch by Pablo Bolivar
Brochure Images | Google Searches
Brochure Copy | Mono.kultur Magazine


Exhibit Brochure

Exhibit Brochure

Of course it is scented.

Exhibit Entrance

Exhibit Entrance

A two-door entry inspired by our two nostrils — as if the exhibit is about to sniff you (and the logo) in. Projected particles represent the invisible smell molecules in the air around us. Also, notice the dark walls. I wanted to create an olfaction exhibit where the environment helps users focus on using their nose to navigate.

Smell Library

Smell Library

Small sample of Sissel Tolaas’s enormous collection of captured smells. The bottles here contain anything from the smell of fear to smell of Mars. Users are welcome to sniff anything and everything they please.

Installation Footage

Showcase of users wading through the installation of light particles and surprise easter eggs.

Ester Sans

Ester Sans

Ester Sans is a custom typeface I designed based on the molecular structure of smell molecules.

Tweaking Processing Code

Tweaking Processing Code

Edited an existing Processing Code get the desired particle behavior. The cursor you see there represents the user.

How It Works

How It Works

1 Kinect sensor and projector is mounted on ceiling. 2 Sensor sees user and sends new data to computer. 3 Computer sends projector new imagery.

Headspace Technology Poster

Headspace Technology Poster

Celebrating the method used by smell scientists, like Sissel, to capture smell compositions within a given volume of air.