When one has synesthesia, he or she has the neurological condition of activating one sense or part of the body by stimulating another sense or part. It is a rare, anomalous condition wherein two or more of the senses intertwine. Among the most common are smelling colors and tasting sound.
But what if I want to have this kind of blending? That was a question once raised by Zachary Howard, an aerospace engineer. And instead of wondering until the rest of his life, he acted on it and built a device which turns colors into smells.
Also an artist-in-residence at Autodesk, Howard wanted to experience the oddities that come with synesthesia, as well as understand what it is like to have such a condition. His device helps him with that, through a sensor clipped between the fingers which is a key in the process.
Source: Popular Science
The sensor detects the color of an object. It later sends a signal to a processor in the armband containing the Intel Edison chip, which analyzes the color and breaks it down into its red, green, and blue components, creating an RGB signal.
Once there is already an RGB signal, the test tubes of scented essential oil designated to the three colors – red, green, and blue will be coordinated by the chip. This smell, blown inside the mask worn, should be picked up by the wearer through his or her nose.
For this particular synesthesia, Howard used grapefruit for red, tea tree for green, and lavender for blue.
Which is why during the first time that Howard tested the device, he touched a gray wall which yielded a rather nasty mix of all the smells. As soon as Howard got the hang of his device, he always touch all things blue. “I’d get this amazing blast of lavender,” he said.
Source: Business Insider