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Anora – A system designed for people with Anosmia

By Varnika Kundu

Thesis MID 2022

A phone stands against a white backdrop. To the left of the phone are the top leafs of a plant and to the left hangs two black, circular devices from a leather strip.

How can design help anosmics navigate an odorless reality in a scent-based life threatening situation at home?

The human body is a complex work of design; A principal conductor orchestrating our experience of the world into a symphony of well-timed sensations that define our reality. But what happens when one of the instruments stops working? From safety concerns such as gas leaks and fires to nearly passing out while cleaning with strong chemicals, many anosmics express feeling paranoid about not knowing if they are in danger.

A set of illustrations. Under the header, Safety Concerns, one illustration is of a woman operating a gas stove with a towel over held over her nose. A caption reads, I'm very paranoid about natural gas. The second illustration is of a hand holding a squeeze-bottle of bleach. The caption reads, I didn't know how dangerous it was till I nearly passed out. Under the header, Social Scenarios, there's an illustration of a toilet with the caption, Oh no! Did I stink up the toilet? The second illustration is of a man serving food to two women sitting at a table. There's a caption next to one of the women that says, That smalls so good! The other woman has the caption, Hmm.. I'm confused. The third set of illustrations are next to the header, Personal Desires. The first is of a person holding a baby close to their face. The caption reads, I wish I knew what my baby smells like. The second is of two people hugging with the caption, I want to feel connected to my partner's scent.

Anora is a cross-modal toolkit comprising a mobile app paired with a family of beautiful lighting fixtures for the home that sense dangerous gasses for you if you don’t have the ability to smell.

The interlinked system may be customized for each room and aims to provide a sense of safety, social inclusion, and better quality of life through audio-visual signals that are drawn from existing sensory associations.

An animated gif showing the Anora App on a smartphone and a floorplan house. The animation shows how the app can show the air quality status of different areas in the house.