Smell The Colour Of The Rainbow: Sensory Systems For Wearable Product Technologies To Reduce Stress And Sleep Disorders

Lead Research Organisation: University of the Arts London
Department Name: Central Saint Martin's College


The aim of this Knowledge Transfer Fellowship (KTF) is to improve on the design of the eScent technology Dr Jenny Tillotson developed in collaboration with Professor Andreas Manz (funded by an AHRC Innovation Award), for the benefit of the fashion, health, fitness and the ecological consumer market, through collaboration with Philips. eScent is an example of a design led wearable wireless technology: a user-worn controlled delivery device, capable of dispensing sensory effects in response to a stimulus (i.e. timer, biometric sensor or switch). The invention is of interest to a broad community and Philips because it offers 'controllable fragrance or actives release and targeted delivery' for psychological end benefit relating to Health, Wellbeing and Lifestyle.

eScent is a device that is triggered by an electrical signal through a built-in microfluidic micro-electro-mechanical-systems (MEMS) device, which can be embedded in 'smart' textiles, clothes and jewellery. It is a patented sensory system of precisely metered fragrance delivery and release, with the potential to replace less controlled technology of the past (i.e. the traditional perfume bottle). It has demonstrated the capability to deliver minute doses of fragrances on demand, in response to user driven stimuli, creating a personal 'scent bubble' around the end user.

eScent has also been developed as a therapeutic version, using multiple reservoirs for the dispensation of aromatherapy, for stress and anxiety reduction, and could potentially be used to complement orthodox routes to treatment. This is due to the new science of fragrance called 'Aromachology' which proves that certain fragrances have the ability to reduce performance related stress, as measured physiologically, for example:-
- lavender to relax, improve the 'sleep-wake cycle' and promote sleep
- neroli to reduce anxiety and depression by offering an antidepressant effect to promote a positive mood
- lemon to stimulate the brain.

With Philips as the non academic partner, the KTF aims to achieve outputs which generate new wearable scent platforms to commercialise eScent, by exploiting appropriate lifestyle products in conjunction with digital and emerging technologies and the ancient art of perfumery. Examples of businesses which would benefit from an application of eScent include fragrances in conjunction with SAD lamps (for the benefit of Seasonal Affective Disorder sufferers), or Mother and Childcare products (to promote 'calmness' in a new born baby, reduce post natal depression in the mother and reduce overall malodour).

Over twelve months, Dr Tillotson will transfer the knowledge from the eScent project to Philips, in order to create advanced prototypes in wearable, functional products at Central Saint Martins (CSM), supported by the Royal College of Art (RCA). The products will be designed specifically for Philips businesses and include 'responsive jewellery'/innovative product forms which display a 'spectrum of fragrances', such as a tranquilising lavender aroma/purple colour effect, or confidence boosting neroli aroma/orange colour effect, depending on the degree of olfactory and visual intensity.
As the Knowledge Transfer Fellow, with a track record in creating 'wellness' design-led wearable technologies, Dr Tillotson will witness a long line of research being commercialised through a major international consumer electronics company. She will achieve this through support from Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge and a global authority on 'Aromachology'. In the longer term, the KTF will develop into a compelling fragrance product which will benefit the NHS and metal health community.

Philips will have the opportunity to collaborate on an exciting new interdisciplinary project with Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art. In return, staff and students will benefit from seminars by Philips Research and/or Philips Design.

Planned Impact

The unique value of this project is the considerable potential for impact that computerised scent-output brings to a general audience and the fashion, health, fitness and the ecological consumer market, through the initial benefits for Philips.

In the longer term potential beneficiaries would be:-
a) Selfridges & Co department store, Contemporary Cosmetics, Lifestyle, Living Beauty and Wellbeing
b) Samsung Mobile Technologies 'aroma phones'
c) Fragrance industry, especially Givaudan, International Flavours & Fragrances, Firmenich, COTY, Procter & Gamble Prestige Products, Unilever
d) Mental health Charities (MIND, SANE, MDF Bipolar Organisation)
e) NHS, especially Addenbrookes Hospital (i.e. Well-Being Institute, Psychiatry dept, cancer care unit)
f) Institute of Psychiatry, London

They will benefit in the following ways:
a) From a future pipeline for production commercialisation in both 'wellness'' and designer fine fragrance products. Exclusively launch and sell wellbeing/aromatherapy products. Working with range of researchers and commercial producer/company such as Philips.
c) Unconventional approaches in the application and use of fragrances and sensory ingredients New distribution methods including removal of solvent (ethanol) usage etc
d) Developing new psychological therapies for mental health service users
e) Mother and baby - help resolve insomnia in mothers and babies, reduce post-natal depression. Sleep Disorder - enhancement of SAD lamps. Bipolar affective disorder - reduce stress and SAD
f) New psychological therapies for testing /evaluation in clinical surroundings

What will be done to ensure that they benefit
a) Major London store shows keen interest to launch eScent exclusively based on
Sensory Design & Technology (SD&T) providing a compelling fragrance product.
c) Dr Tillotson maintains regular contact with the Fragrance Industry in France, UK, Switzerland and USA. Provision of samples and demonstration visits will allow the industry to evaluate the benefits of the technology.
d) and e) Trialling of fragrance technology to yield quantitative data on wellbeing will be available to NHS Products

In the short term during this stage of development and investigation and will directly benefit:-
Philips Research Laboratory, Cambridge and Philips Design, Eindhoven

How will Philips Benefit
1.Feedback factors in designing successful new products and solutions utilising the powerful impact of smell and scent on health and wellbeing
2.Prototypes that will lead to production of new commercially viable products
3.New concepts based on smell/olfaction science i.e. controllable fragrance or actives release and targeted delivery; Prototypes on how to do this, which are commercially viable

What will be done to ensure that Philips benefit
Dr Tillotson will be offered sufficient working space at Philips Research in Cambridge to ensure communication and engagement plans succeed throughout the duration of the project. In return, Philips Research will have regular meetings with CSM and RCA in Cambridge/London. A further meeting will be arranged in Eindhoven with Philips Design
Plans for exploitation through Sensory Design & Technology Ltd are currently underway
IP issues have been addressed to ensure that the research is protected and collaboration arrangements and are in place between Philips, CSM, RCA, and SD&T.
Relevant experience and track record is evident in the CV of both investigators for the KTF (CSM and RCA), who between them have experience in:
- 'Wellness'/healthcare products for lifestyle, fashion etc
- Fashion/Product Design Industry
- Design Led Wearable Technologies, sensor networks
- Bio/active/responsive materials/nanotechnology
- Controlled/targeted release delivery systems
- Me


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Description Over the course of eighteen months, the team engaged in an active KT programme to explore opportunities resulting from Dr Tillotsons's patented work on 'eScent(R)' in areas of interest to Philips. The aim of the fellowship was to:

o advance ways of improving the quality of care; to reduce stress and improve sleep, using fragrances in wearable technologies.

o demonstrate the effectiveness of working prototypes that react to physiological response of the wearer (e.g. to reflect mood).

Significant knowledge transfer took place during the KTF benefiting Philips and Dr Tillotson. The identified application has primarily been within 'Philips AVENT' (mother/child) and 'Vitalite' stress/sleep businesses (therapy/ 'mood' lamps).

The findings center on essential oils as the basis for wearable technologies using joint expertise in design, fragrance, colour and technology. These elements were introduced into the world of health and wellbeing, using mood-enhancement as the route. Oils were validated and correlated with colour, to create a personalized 'therapeutic rainbow' pendulum, ranging across de-stress/relief-calm/peaceful/relax-super-energise.

A deep understanding of the therapeutic nature of the oils in terms of physiological and psychological effects on the body were found and demonstrated in prototypes. Clinical evidence on the properties of lavender and sweet orange were critically reviewed and scientific data was extracted in support of the value of essential oils to alleviate stress, aid sleep and improve memory. Medics volunteered to trial eScent(R) prototypes although this did not take place during the KTF. NHS midwives are campaigning for clinical trials to endorse the therapeutic effects of essential oils. The KTF found that eScent(R) could potentially save on drug bills.

The KTF demonstrated that pre-existing manufactured methods can be used to generate a macro-fluidic platform for the facile dispersal of scent using heat. The technology comprised of a circular MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical-system), heater and piezo-electric pump, delivering a controllable and measurable, olfactively perceptible dose of lavender and orange oil vapour from 'pod' cartridges. The prototype dimensions are too large for jewellery but feasible for a bedside application. The aesthetic design attribute of the liquid in the MEMS is a notable key finding.

A miniaturized 'gen 2' version was explored but results relating to this did not materialize before the project ended. However, these findings pave the way for research and development on miniaturisation, appropriate materials for storing multiple oils for long-term, intensity, and sensing ability to trigger physiological and psychological responses in the user.

The KTF found that recent regulations in the Far East have highlighted safety issues for shipping liquid electronic consumer products, with a preference for solid-scent delivery to prevent spillage, over-heating and cross-contamination. Multiple attempts to commercialise electronic scent systems have failed because liquids are incompatible with electronic bases. The findings will contribute towards future development of eScent(R).

The eScent(R) patent was assigned to Sensory Design & Technology creating a University spinout company, however further technological work is required before launching products at Selfridges. At a time when the fragrance industry is facing new challenges, IFRA endorse eScent(R) as "a new product that sends out a very positive message to the fragrance industry".
Exploitation Route Due to the nature of the project e.g. KTF, it has a great deal of relevance in a non-academic context. There is a wide range of opportunities in the healthcare sector and current markets which are increasingly becoming ready for an additional (scent) dimension to the existing user experience.

Philips has enabled Dr Tillotson to hold meetings with relevant parties in the UK and the Netherlands, including Philips Research, Philips Design, trend forecasting and Philips Consumer Lifestyle. Concepts were developed around Mother/Childcare.

In the medical field, eScent® (electronic-scent) has been acknowledged as an innovative tool to dispense aromatherapy effects and benefit Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). Further interest has been expressed by NHS cancer-care, maternity, psychiatry, dementia and pain relief. In the mental health community, eScent® has been identified as a potential tool to reduce stress and manage lifestyle for mood disorders. This could be used in addition to 'self-tracking' tools pioneered by 'Quantified Self' monitoring originating in Silicon Valley in 2007, and as a cybertherapy tool to complement online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy treatments.

eScent® provides manufacturers with an opportunity to reshape scent-delivery modes within the fragrance industry and enter new markets where fragrance has previously had limited success. Today's consumer technology and fashion reaches out to visual, auditory, or kinaesthetic senses to enhance users' experiences; however, due to technological constraints, there has only been limited use of scents to enhance a user's olfactory experience. eScent® fills this gap and unites aroma, technology, wellbeing and fashion.

The fashion and fragrance sectors are particularly attractive markets to promote the innovation. The luxury accessories market is growing, and innovative ideas which seek to create a unique style and image are constantly being introduced. eScent® has attracted the attention of Colette, the Parisian IT/concept store; Richemont, the global prestigious luxury group (Cartier, Dunhill, Chloé) and VF Corp, a leader in lifestyle and outdoor apparel (The North Face, Eastpak, Wrangler).

The KTF has found a demand for alternative safe, delivery modes that use fragrances strategically and sustainably. This is because:

(1) the trend is towards alcohol-free fragrances and natural products due to the presence of harmful substances in perfumery

(2) the consumer's need is for a 'wardrobe of mood-enhancing fragrances', as the demand for quality essential oils increases.

(3) of the declining use of fragrances amongst the younger population, although electronic scent gadgetry is expected to attract younger consumers

There is also a growing market for adding scent as a 4th dimension within game consoles, e-books, tablets and mobile phones. Other electronic scent applications include e-menus, toys, pet-care collars and car interiors. Currently there is a shortage of quality car fragrances; eScent® represents an innovative approach to transforming this application.

There has been strong support for eScent® as a sampling vehicle as more companies are recognizing the value of scents and their marketing. By stimulating the sense of smell, a memorable identity is created that resonates with customers. eScent®, through its unique set of attributes, offers a significant advantage over existing techniques (scent strips, scratch-n'-sniff, HVAC- diffusers).
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Healthcare,Retail,Other

Description To prepare for next research projects in the mental health sector
First Year Of Impact 2014
Sector Creative Economy,Healthcare
Impact Types Societal

Description Scentsory Design® to Enhance User Experience Through the Sense of Smell - Our most Evocative Sense 
Form Of Engagement Activity Scientific meeting (conference/symposium etc.)
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Type Of Presentation keynote/invited speaker
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Cambridge Wireless User Experience SIG jointly sponsored by Philips Research and Granta Park

'Improving the User Experience in the Next Decade: A 2020 Vision'

The event brought together presenters from a variety of backgrounds who were all looking to the future, focusing on emerging lifestyle scenarios, and the methodologies by which new technologies can match their users' needs and expectations to provide an intuitive and satisfying user experience. Presenters include Philips, Orange, Dr Jenny Tillotson and ARToolworks

Dr. Jenny Tillotson, Senior Research Fellow, University of the Arts London
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012