Why the Sense of Smell?

Olfaction (our sense of smell) is a powerful tool for creating impactful experiences. With direct connections to our emotions and the memory areas in our brain, the sense of smell can greatly enhance an experience and interactions with our environment, objects, and people.

OWidgets (Olfactory Widgets) allows you to explore the potential of smell to augment your content, service, or product to create novel customer experiences.

Our Services

Scent Design

Scent Design

We guide clients through the process of scent experience design through our consultancy services, using our expert knowledge to create the optimum impact.
Scent Hardware

Scent Hardware

Our hardware solutions are optimised for providing the best perceptual experience and can be integrated with third-party tools.

New grant tackles the loss of smell and its impact on our wellbeing


Digital smell healthcare applications

The aim of this ERC PoC is to enable the design of new digital smell healthcare applications (e.g. smell training) through the development of a highly accurate, efficient, adaptive, and affordable smell-delivery technology (hardware and software components), and demonstrate its use to healthcare professionals. The human sense of smell is powerful, it makes an important and yet often undervalued contribution to our life and wellbeing with a unique link to emotions and memories. Smell dysfunctions or loss (even temporary) give rise to a range of problems, which can affect personal safety, enjoyment of food, personal hygiene, and can cause serious mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety and social isolation. In Europe and the USA, around 20% of the general adult population has some form of smell dysfunction and this number rises to 75% for people aged between 70–80 years.


Our Projects

Render of a tree from the VR experience

Tree VR

Tree is an experiential piece of interactive storytelling from the VR studio New Reality Company. This award-winning virtual reality film transforms you into a majestic rainforest tree. With your arms as branches and body as a trunk, you experience a tree’s life from a seedling to its fullest form and witness its fate firsthand.

At exhibitions the Tree experience makes use of multisensory elements to enhance the immersion factor. OWidgets has helped New Reality Co. to upgrade and automate their scent delivery, increasing the impact and reliability of their experience. We have been working with Tree since 2018 and have presented with them at notable events such as the World Economic Forum in Davos (2019 & 2020), the World Government Summit (2019), and at long-term installations in Singapore and New York.

The fully automated OWidgets scent-delivery system took our Tree experience to another level, no need for dedicated assistants to administer the smell! The quality and the accuracy of the delivery is incredible!

Fly VR

Fly is an interactive, full motion, multisensory experience that traces humankind’s relationship to flying. Created by Picture This Productions, award winning virtual reality creators, and an Oscar-winning practical effects team, Fly was unveiled within the British Airways Flight of The Future exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery in London. Fly enables visitors to become a time-travelling pilot, from the earliest imaginings of Leonard da Vinci and his ornithopter, past the Wright Brothers’ success on Kitty Beach and BA's first inaugural passenger flight to Paris, users will experience Concorde, the brand new A350 and the imagined flight of future.

OWidgets supported the creation of Fly through the design and implementation of the multisensory components. We lead the scent design from story-board to final setup, helping select scents that would drive key parts of the narrative, and liasing with scent producers to tweak to perfection. Synchronising skin-feedback such as radiant heat and cool wind with the scent and storytelling elements of the virtual reality completed the sensory immersion.
Fly VR experience - Man on leaning motion platform with VR headset on

The Team

Emanuela Maggioni

Emanuela Maggioni

CEO & Co-Founder
Over 8 years of experience in consultancy related to smell, including Unilever, Benetton, IFF, with a PhD in smell perception and emotions.
Florin Udrea

Florin Udrea

Over 20 years experience in power devices, high voltage and smart technologies, micro-sensors and MEMS. He is a Professor of Semiconductor Engineering.

Richard Hooper

Hardware Engineer
Over 8 years of experience working as hardware development engineer in various companies and universities.
Marianna Obrist

Marianna Obrist

Scientific Lead & Co-Founder
Over 15 years experience in human-computer interaction and user experience design and research. She is a professor of multisensory experiences.

Applications for Smell

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Virtual Reality

We have explored creating immersive virtual realities enhanced through the sense of smell, taking advantage of directional scent and the close links between scents and memories.
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Visual notifications can be very distracting. We studied the use of scents for chat notifications, conveying information about who sent the message and how urgent it is.
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There are many more possible applications for scents, if you have any ideas which harness the sense of smell do get in touch! We're keen to work alongside partners to develop potential applications using scent technology.