Intelliscents: Towards an Affective Olfactory Display

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University of Alabama Libraries

The human sense of smell is a primal ability that has the potential to reveal unexplored relationships between user behaviors and technology. Humans use millions of olfactory receptor cells to observe the environment around them. Olfaction studies are gaining popularity with the progression of scent, delivering commercial and prototype devices. Previous human-to-machine interaction research community have applied many techniques to stimulate users' sense of smell in a variety of settings. Although the literature on olfactory-based interactions (OBI) is steadily increasing due to advanced olfactory displays developed by researchers, there are few options available for novice researchers, long-distance experimentation, or customizable triggering mechanisms. The current lack of accessible and assembler-friendly olfactory displays may present a barrier to entry for researchers interested in creating OBI applications. This dissertation presents an article-styled investigation of developing an intelligent olfactory display to further multi-sensory studies that incorporate olfactory experiences in nontraditional settings. The display is an intelligent system that can release ambient aromas based on users' affective states such as focused or distracted. Article 1 is a systematic literature review that discusses common themes, concepts, and challenges that have been observed during previous core olfactory-based computing (OBC) studies. It highlights state-of-the-art OBC system designs, evaluation methods, and offers insights on ways to address current challenges relevant to OBC technologies. Article 2 is preliminary work that aims to extend previous research by exploring the use of electroencephalography (EEG) to augment our understanding of participants' responses to verbal stimuli. Article 3 presents a validation study that explores the impact of various scents during gameplay. We investigated a complex sensory functionality utilizing a paper medium as an olfactory display prototype while participants engaged in an online memory game. Furthermore, this work seeks to inspire further discussion of olfactory-based user studies that explore functions related to human moods, memory, perception, and behavior. The investigated work validates the exigency of developing an affective olfactory display. Insights gained on emerging systems, devices, and methodologies for leveraging users' sensorial/emotional responses are offered within this dissertation.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Human-Computer Interaction, Olfactory