bob.
physical, 2017
Contributors
Arvind Sanjeev
Keyur Jain
Special Thanks
Yasaman Sheri

Every day billions of people go through their daily routine. Something like — wake up, have breakfast, go to work, finish work, go home, go to sleep, and repeat. Routines are nice, they help keep us grounded but sometimes we forget to break out of these routines, to take some time to appreciate the beauty around us. Bob is a playful box that calls this to our attention with a simple reminder to “Stop and Smell the Roses.” Bob communicates through sound and smell — by hitting bob on the top it releases a ring of scented smoke that can be directed to hit a single person. Along with this scent ring, an audio track announcing the catch phrase “Stop and Smell the Roses” plays. This phrase changes its intonation based on how softly or aggressively one hits Bob.

Bob’s main goal in life is to help people take a moment to embrace the incredible smellscape around them.

Meet bob.

Hit bob and out comes a smoke ring.

Rings of smoke emerging from bob.

Bob can create mushroom clouds of scent.

Bob being pushed and a mushroom cloud of smoke emerging.

The team behind bob. From left to right: Keyur, Matt, Yasaman, Arvind.

The team posing with bob!
Made in Space
Soon after bob was built it went on a brief tour. Bob was fortunate enough to make an appearance at Space10's festival entitled Made in Space. Bob also made an appearance at the Copenhagen Maker Festival in 2018. It was great to see the world interact and have fun with bob. Children took a particular liking to bob.

Bob in Space — bob's appearance at Made in Space.

Another day of filling up bob.

Image of me filling up bob with smoke.

Bob hits people with smoke rings.

A dad and his two kids getting hit by bob's smoke ring.

People hit bob.

Young child playing with bob.
Process

Smell is the only sense that has a direct connection to the brain, bypassing the Thalamus. This is why smell is so effective at triggering detailed memories and emotions. However, smell is hard to quantify and express with human language. Try explaining to your friend what your day smelled like — not so easy to do.

During a 2-week course at CIID entitled, As We May Sense, our group conducted a number of experiments to learn more about smell. Some of these experiments include:

Smell Based Navigation
An experiment testing whether humans are capable of navigation using just olfactory information.

Smell Maps
In this experiment, our team set out to record the different smells of the city using fabric on which an outline of the city was drawn.

DIY Perfumes
Using a technique for making water based perfumes, our team created two perfumes which were extractions from flowers picked from different parts of the city.

These experiments helped us better understand smell and led us to the final outcome, bob.

A series of quick experiments that helped us learn how to work with smell.

Keyur attempts to use the scent of a flower to map our city.

Keyur attempts to use the scent of a flower to map our city.

Arvind attempts to locate himself using the smell map.

Arvind attempts to locate himself using the smell map.

Our attempt at making water based perfume.

Our attempt at making water based perfume.

Bob under construction.

Bob under construction.