Innovation That Matters

The Sense of Smell by Jan Brueghel and Rubens | Photo source Museo Nacional del Prado

Olfactory technology brings classical painting to life through bespoke scents

Arts & Entertainment

The ten scents bring additional richness to the sensory experience of an art exhibition

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Spotted: Visitors to a recent exhibition at Museo Nacional del Prado in Spain had the opportunity to experience the classical painting ‘The Sense of Smell’ in an innovative new way. Using fashion company Puig’s AirParfum technology, the painting—part of ‘The Five Senses’ series by 17th century Flemish masters Jan Brueghel and Peter Paul Rubens—was accompanied by 10 scents designed specifically for the exhibition. 

The technology combined four diffusers with touchscreen devices to give visitors a multi-sensory means of interacting with the painting. Rather than turpentine and oil, the scents represented 10 items shown in the painting, including leather gloves, a fig tree, orange blossoms, and a civet (a small mammal).  

AirParfum makes it possible for the human sense of smell to distinguish between 100 different scents without becoming overloaded. The device and technology are used to train professional perfumers. The system works by removing the smell of the alcohol that is used in perfumes and that quickly saturates the nose’s ability to smell more than a few scents at a time.  

So much of life is experienced visually and auditorily that it is crucial to find ways to make daily tasks as well as special events more accessible to people who cannot depend only on those two senses. Springwise has spotted several spotted innovations that use senses additional to sight and sound, such as a smart cane that uses vibration to help people more easily navigate public spaces, and an AI solution that is making it possible to build chemicals that are pleasant-smelling to the human nose.   

Written by: Keely Khoury



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