SmelliPods @ eNTERFACE 2016, Netherlands


SmelliPods is an open source system for creating smell interfaces using an Arduino to control smell pods. The system consists of arduino control code, an electronic circuit diagram, CAD files for 3D printing the smell pods,  and a laser cut box. The system will be released on BitBucket very soon now …..

SmelliPods is the result of a collaborative research project on Smell Interfaces for Affective Systems at the eNTERFACE workshop in the DesignLab at the University of Twente in 2016.

The project was proposed by Prof. Adrian David Cheok (Imagineering Institute, Malaysia / City University London) and Emma Yann Zhang (Imagineering Lab, City University London). When Emma emailed out a call for for participation I joined Gökhan Turgut (Turkey), Emre Saracoglu (Turkey) and John Pender (Sligo Institute of Technology, Ireland) to work on a digitally controllable smell communication interface to be integrated into affective robots and communication systems.

Team SmelliPod,: Stephen Barrass, Emre Saracoglu, Emma Vann Zhang, John Trebutt (laptop), and Gokhan Turgut

The project began with a survey asking people whether robots should make smells, and most of the 90 respondents thought they should. Its interesting to note that most people thought that their sense of smell was better than average. Most of those who thought that robots should not smell rated themselves as better than average at smelling and considered smell to be important in their lives.

ShoudlRobotsSmellIn the literature review we found a history of commercial failure with smell interfaces, from the Smell-o-Rama for cinema in the 1950s up to the present day FeelReal VR Face mask. This lead to the idea to create an open source toolkit for smell interfaces that could allow niche applications without a mass market imperative. We spent the rest of the month experimenting with the piezo activation of water vapourisation under the control of the Teensy microcontroller, and 3D printing a physical pod to emit the vapours.


The SmelliPod chair is a prototype of an interactive smell interface installed in an egg shaped chair that contains the odour vapour. The SmelliPod chair provides an example of how smell could be integrated into interactive furniture, robots, and other interfaces.