Senti8: NASA SpaceAppChallenge NYC Winning Entry

in Blog, Press


SCENTI8 was the winner of the 2014 NYC NASA Space Apps Challenge! Eight people came from three states to NYC to create Senti8 at the 2014 Space Apps Challenge. We designed, we hacked, we won!

What is Senti8™ ?

With astronaut DouglasWheelock

With astronaut DouglasWheelock

When asked what he missed the most while in space, astronaut Doug Wheelock said, “Believe it or not, just the smell of earth… you know soil”. Research has shown that space travelers, as well as others traveling at high altitudes, experience diminished senses. The environment on a spaceship is also very musty and sterile, leaving travelers  yearning for the smells they miss the most. Our sense of smell is probably the most important sense for creating and remembering events from our pasts.







Armed with that thought, we decided to create a piece of wearable technology that would allow people in space to experience the smells they miss from home and thus the Senti8™  Scentband™  was born.


The band is a lightweight armband with six patented Senti8™  Cones placed around the wrist. These 3D printed cones house refillable Scentation ™ cartridges that you can replace with your favorite scents from home, or away. Each Scentation  scent will activate an icon on an OLED touch screen adjacent to the cone. Pressure applied to the icon that you want to smell will release a short, powerful burst of vapor. The vapor contains a secret blend of natural oils that will leave your body in space, but take your mind right back to the joy of the place you remember.

The Scentation ™ cartridges will be available at airports and SkyMall catalogues or online via subscription. With our initial rollout we will only stock scents from Earth, but as we venture further into the cosmos, we hope to distill scent from space to share with loved ones at home.  Currently we offer Scentation cartridges from our Nature, Food, Family and Home ranges, but will soon also have Custom Scents available. prototype4

We are also developing a version of the Senti8™  ScentConnect™ band for couples and families.  A special connectivity feature allows loved ones and friends to share a favorite scent together, regardless of location. It’s a way of being in the same moment together, or more importantly, letting someone know that you miss them.


Senti8 Presentation

Considerable research has been done for our product. We examined issues of gravity with the design of the Cone Inhaler feature, to insure proper dispersion. We also made sure to include a natural glycerin base in our scents to add moisture, as ships have low humidity. As astronauts and other travelers are often burdened with devices or luggage, we made the band easy to operate with one hand. In fact, it meets Section 508 Compliance, as one does not need to see to operate the device. The buttons are raised and easily discernible through touch. We’ve also taken into account that the product is marketable in many ways. Astronauts may miss earth, earth dwellers may be curious about smells in space, and people on planes may just want a pleasant distraction. Customization is important, and we’ve happily taken that into account. Our Scent Mall allows the purchase of new smells, including those suggested by our customers.

We are anticipating partners of essential oils and other natural fragrances for production and sales. The sophisticated system suggested on our site includes tagging, so one can “Google a favorite smell”. We are anticipating significant growth in this area, from earthies to ET’s. There is research that shows that smells affect circadian rhythms and emotions. How might these devices help travelers in confined spaces, or help settle young children with ADHD? We are looking forward to the research and are even considering sensors which may be able to identify elements. It’s our pleasure to provide a product and service that has such a positive impact on the human spirit. As humans, whether in space or on Earth, we will always be a little #scentimental.

How the Senti8 prototype was developed.

Scenti8 was created using Arduino code scenti8prtoand a Flora board from Adafruit. We also used 3D printing to create the scent distributors that attached to the bracelet. For remote connectivity, the Senti8 mobile app was coded in Objective C for iPhone and it triggers the LED indicator light pattern when a user selects a particular scent. We hacked a small (e-cig) vaporizer to distribute the fragrance. Want to see the process of putting Senti8 together? You can see the Iterative Process Tumbler for Senti8. The code for the project is on Github.

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