In today’s digital world, digital data is often stored away and wiped out by tech upgrades. The memory of scents, however, is persistent. The sense of smell can retrieve past memories instantaneously.
In this project, I am enriching family lives using the sense of smell, which is not yet taken advantage of in the design field but has a tremendous potential for innovation. I aim at result that allows parents to capture and collect scent and visual stories and also brings new perspective on how their children experience to view and smell their present moments. I hope this project will expand the possibility of utilizing the sense of smell and provide a new perspective of preserving memories for the future.
Inspiration and Method
“Simply by breathing in the different smells at the airport in Philippines, I was able to retrieve some memories from my childhood. Still today I like to cook what my mother had made for me growing up because my memories make me who I am today.” One of my friends, Alex- Half Swedish and Filipino
In the research phase, based on interviews, I was able to detect design opportunities, collect personal stories and establish relationships and roles of users. Cultural probe was another method for understanding targeted users in this project. In order to identify different types of scents, I created 10 types of shapes using watercolors. I developed shapes as I formulated abstract feelings while I sniffed different essential oils in order to capture the very first sensation evoked by the scents. In the developing phase, prototyping was a good way for efficiently evaluating concepts and designs. To understand the service flow and user journeys with the audience in a clear way, a service blueprint and storytelling were used to evaluate and depict the concept at the end.
The result of this project is a service named Scentimo (Scent-memory), which enhances a family with young children to share and preserve family memories. The service includes the bracelet and mobile app for different users. Parents can capture their memorable scents by the bracelet with three different modes. When their children grow up they give their children the bracelet as a reminder of their childhood and family stories. Children explore family scent stories by visiting a same location or set time by their parents.