In the early 1960′s, … my father took my brothers and myself to the Santa Monica Pier, where I experienced an expensive experimental arcade game machine called “Sensorama”, now acknowledged as one of the first virtual reality systems. I experienced true multisensory… a 3-D film, stereo sound, vibration, wind and different aromas in one box. Created by Mort Heilig and patented in 1962. Spent all my change that day to run through his shows. As I remember, one was an over the sand dunes experience in a dune buggy… another included a bicycle, downhill motion, and included a wink from a pretty girl in passing. It sure beat my incense, strobe light and sync-sound light box projects of the 60′s.
In 1984, while working on the Baltimore Power Plant project for Six Flags, I experienced the “Sensorium Theater”, which I was not the designer of, but did see the processes used intimately, and the failures too, which taught me much about the benefits and deficits of such multisensory systems, especially the scent system with its chemical wax like pellets.
In 1985, as Project Designer, I proposed to Caesars Palace that we use scent to stimulate/excite their patrons as they entered the casino… through this ancient Rotunda… via a moving sidewalk. It was a pretty far out concept … to all involved. Got cut from budget. Capable systems at this time were primitive, lacking or unavailable. The concept of scent marketing is not new to me. alphasensory.com/Portfolio/Caesars/ProjectPage.html (see linked document ProjectScope.html)
A few years later, in 1987 proposed multiple scented environments within the Fairyland Restaurant/Theater due to be created at Sanrio’s Puroland. By 1989, the idea of… and use of environmental fragrancing was going full bore while I lived and worked in Japan. I advocated it on various retail-marketing projects, such as the Sanrio Gallery, and have been a big supporter of scent environmental marketing, but again technology was primitive.
Our Patents and Prototypes
In the late 90′s we were still unable to find a good multi-scent diffuser for our Multisensory Stimulation System (pictured above), then under development. So we began to develop our own technology.
In 1998 our first generation aroma system was built, and in November 2000 a Provisional Patent was filed. This utility patent describes both Method and Apparatus. The Patent for the aromaComposer was officially granted in August 2004. The patent permits from one… to any number of scents to be actively diffused or blended within the machine. Three generations of prototypes have been built and tested extensively, which are all based upon, and built according to the strict methodology described in our patent. Each version is technologically more refined.
A second patent and numerous trade secrets protect those advances.
Advantages of this system over the current state of the art include:
- Ability to switch scents “on the fly”, selecting from a number of different oils.
- Ability to blend thousands of scents from several sources and dynamically select different blends “on the fly”.
- Uses much less oil than traditional diffusers (essential oils are very expensive)
- Leaves virtually no residue or lingering scents, even in small spaces.
- Operates with pre-programmed music and/or voice CDs and DVDs (Relaxation, Healing, Creativity, Determination, etc.; See “Programmed Experiences”)
- Programmable via standard computer interface for complete control of the user experience (the therapist can also record and edit programs for later use and share blends over the Internet)
- System distributes trace amounts at close range to targeted user only.
- Able to respond to the needs of an individual as those needs change.
- Extremely quiet operation
These characteristics create a dramatic new experience for individuals, which when applied properly can reduce stress, alter consciousness and promote well being.
The third-generation aromaComposer… for Special Needs and Spa Applications – Had optional motion sensor switch activation, rechargeable battery operation, and a selection of nozzles for various purposes
Integrated Scent Marketing Systems
Since developing the basic aromaComposer and its controller systems I have received various inquiries from individuals and companies, through the years, from around the world, interested in using our system for scent marketing purposes. We have proposed placing all components into a single box, mounted within a kiosk or display, for dedicated scent-marketing purposes.
A new scent-marketing prototype finally exists… based upon our Generation-3 head, bottle and pump system, fit into a solidly mounted single container. Ten plus years in the making.
c.2009 R. Douglas Nelson. All rights reserved.
Integrated Scent Marketing Systems
Since developing the basic aromaComposer and its controller systems I have received various inquiries from individuals and companies, through the years, from around the world, interested in using our system for scent marketing purposes. We have previously considered placing all components into a single box, mounted within a kiosk or display, similar to our new prototype.
April 2008 -From a letter following conversations regarding a marketing display:
“The aroma composer is based upon a modular system, and size is dependent on the number of scent blends required. The more advanced versions produce (1,000+) thousands of different scents. If a system puts out only one “Signature scent” or just a few scents, the size is quite small. The system can be built into a pedestal base or a wall mount device…”
Question: “Did I understand correctly? We might use a solution that trigger scent once client approach close to our product and a … sensor trigger the scent to go.”
”Absolutely correct. We might even be able to detect the location and distance of a user, target them, and draw them in to view a display. All things are possible.”
December 2006 – Reply from Doug to a restaurant chain planning to use scent for marketing:
“We produce physical systems that diffuse high quality scents that can change over time depending on our designed programs. These scents often accompany sound tracks or other sensory effects such as mood lighting. Our patented systems are fully automated.”
“For Instance, in your case, you might want to produce a wake-up scent in the morning that complements your breakfast menu, or draws people into your space for that perfect wake-up meal, depending on it designed purpose. Late in the day it time to decompress… what scent complements or beckons soon to be customers toward a beer with Fajitas?”
“We use the emotional appeal of an aroma to drive customers toward a product or to stimulate an action or thought.”
“We work with various scent-designers and aromatherapists to produce scents and scent programs with targeted appeal. We program the scents and produce the hardware to distribute them best for desired effect. We can even project a beam of scent along a narrow path, which hits only a limited targeted area (like just outside of a doorway).”
“This is corporate branding taken to the extreme.”
July 31, 2007 – Email Reply to Belgium re: Scent-Marketing
Question: I am looking for aroma systems as a marketing tool, that can contribute for our Company Brand Awareness around DESIGN for Food & Wellness.
“In a kiosk or game application, blending and projection of different scents in combination with other media is very doable. Software to permit web triggering of scents is relatively simple. The cost of the hardware would be reasonable for professional kiosks, multisensory integration, trade shows or other commercial use, but is expensive for “average” home computer users. This is a high resolution, high end systems, designed for projecting true – organic aromatherapy essential oils, not for chemical simulated scents.”
“Wellness is one of the prime purposes of this soon to be product… also LOHAS market in USA.”
c.2009 R. Douglas Nelson. All rights reserved.
Here are a few questions recieved over the years from people interested in use of our technology for various purposes, including theatrical use of scent and scent-marketing… worth reading. RDN
Is the diffuser capable of “personal” delivery?
The aromaComposer was designed specifically for personal delivery, and excels at it.
More specifically, we want to know whether multiple aromaComposers can be used in a single room by multiple users.
Most certainly Yes!…multiple aromaComposers can be used in a single room by multiple users.
In such a configuration, would the scent from one interfere with the scent from another?
In a tightly packed movie theater with rows of people shoulder to shoulder and knee to back, this would present a challenge. In a video game arcade, or at a specially built bar, or within a room with several point of purchase displays or kiosks, the aromatic separation could be maintained.
Thus, in designing a production system, we would normally need to know:
How close together do you desire to place the users? Are they seated or standing? How are users positioned in relation to each other?
How large is the space… its volume? How many users typically per cubic foot of airspace?
What kind of air conditioning or purification system is usually installed within the desired environment? Could we specify something different?
How often and for what period of time is aroma being directed to the users? Short bursts on occasion or a constant flow?
Are we blending custom synergies for each individual, or projecting a small pre-designed palette to be shared by many, just at different times?
How many component oils are desired?
How do we want to control this unit? Is it interfacing with existing systems? Is it intended to be combined with other sensual media displays? Is the system controlled by simple selection of a predetermined program or does it happen automatically through the guest’s selection via conscious choice, or by biofeedback analyzed by a complex AI device? FYI: We use either a computer or a DVD player here for demonstrations.
A System FAQ can be found at this link. aromacomposer.com/AromaComposerSystem_FAQ.html