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The Melting Pot is an older ‘visualizer’ project, however it was way ahead of it’s time. Developed back in 2001 by Itiro Siio and Noyuri Mima, it’s purpose is to bridge the physical distance between a team that is scattered across an office building together by bringing the them together using sweet, sweet coffee. Rather than an audio or visual cue, however, they opted to appeal to the olfactory system, and developed a system to simultaneously broadcast the siren’s call of fresh brew to the whole team. The idea is that everyone would subconsciously smell the fine flavors, decide to grab some coffee, and then meet up in the break room.

To accomplish this, they hacked a wireless transmitter into the office coffee machine, so that it would send out a signal when a fresh pot of coffee is ready. Next, they built a bunch of aroma generators that start releasing a coffee aroma when a ready signal is received. The aroma generators are pretty simple- just a fan that blows over a couple of bags of instant coffee.

I’ve worked in several environments where this would have been a great way to bring my team together. Anyone up for a remake? Have better ideas about what kinds of smells to use to subtly influence people?


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Comments

  1. Grant McNaught says:

    As a sign it is time for your coworkers, or perhaps friends in other offices to meet at your local pub or brewery, how about putting some fragrant hops in place of instant coffee?

    1. Matt Mets says:

      Oooh, i like it!

  2. ripit says:

    popcorn in theaters would be a gimme but would this work in reverse somehow using unpleasent scents to repel from danger or unwanted attention?

    1. Matt Mets says:

      Hehe, I think the popcorn people do this already- also those pretzel stands at the mall. Natural gas has that sulfur smell added to it, maybe that counts?