'Sensing and dispensing' wearable tech is coming to smart jewellery and connected fashion. eScent is a system designed to monitor your mood, wellbeing or activity levels and create personalised scent bubbles when you need them. It can be embedded into clothes and accessories and works with sensors tracking stress, anxiety, heart rate and yes, body odour.
If eScent sounds like something straight out of science fiction, that's because it is. Its creator Jenny Tillotson, a reader in Sensory Fashion at Central Saint Martins, says the wearable tech was inspired by Philip K. Dick's 1969 novel Ubik in which a spray is used to alter reality.
"It creates a micro scale, personalised scent bubble. We call it the Ubik effect," Tillotson explained at a Digital Shoreditch 2015 talk. "You can create this very close bubble that's near the face or a larger bubble depending on how much scent is released. It can be programmable, customised, in tune with music."
Cues come from biometric sensors and sounds - depending on what quantified self sensors you are wearing, triggers include your heart beat, loud angry voices, snoring, blood pressure, sweat, flatulence, galvanic skin response and body odour. It could even be used as an automatic insect repellent as the system can identify mosquito sound frequencies.
"It's a kind of biofeedback loop," said Tillotson. "You'd have the eScent tracking your mood and your sleep, identifying your behaviour, the way you're feeling, filter this information then release a counteractive scent depending on your mood, depending on your anxiety.
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"You can also use sound sensors, for example if you're feeling angry it could release a scent to calm you down. eScent would work out which aroma from the scent palette to use for you. Everyone reacts to different fragrances in different ways."
Tillotson's research has looked into how fragrance can improve sleep, curb appetite, enhance concentration and reduce anxiety and mood swings. Mental wellbeing is her focus but eScent could be used in all sorts of inventive ways - in retail, aromatherapy, sports, AR and VR and in 'adult industries'.
The patent for this futuristic tech goes all the way back to November 2005 and with over a decade in the field of sensory fashion and applications, if anyone can make eScent a reality it's Tillotson.
"The launch is not confirmed yet as we are raising investment for this final stage," she told Wareable. "We have working prototypes that are being further developed in Cambridge where the company is based. The prototypes are being miniaturised so that they are truly wearable, ultimately invisible in some cases."