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Dr Jenny Tillotson is a Senior Research Fellow at Central Saint Martins and Creative Director of Sensory Design & Technology which she founded with Professor Andreas Manz (pioneer of lab-on-a-chip). She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Visiting Scholar in the Institute of Biotechnology, Dept of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, University of Cambridge. She received her PhD in Textiles from the Royal College of Art and BA in Fashion from Central Saint Martins. Prior to her academic work she was a stylist, before working for Charmed Technology (MIT Media Lab spinout)
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    Scentsory DiagNOSE

    The oncology journey is often a very lonely time for the cancer sufferer. My cancer story is not a
    personal one but, rather, a vision for the future that offers hope, based on holistic, responsive
    fashion fused with science and current sensing technology.

    Vision, hearing, smell, taste, and the tactile senses serve as bridges between the external world and our brains. Micro sensors are miniaturised electronic devices, that can detect chemical, physical, or biomedical signals that, in turn, can be processed on a computer.

    The miniaturisation of most kinds of sensors has already been achieved, but the ‘electronic nose’, the sensor that mimics the sense of smell, is only starting to gain recognition - and this is where my vision begins.

    'Scentsory DiagNOSE’ is a digital dress for women who suffer from cancer, and in particular, breast cancer.

    The garment has two purposes: it offers preventative and therapeutic value in a desirable fashion context. The first purpose is for the fabric to emulate a dog’s sense of smell by detecting the early stages of breast cancer through electronic nose sensors embedded deep within the fabric. Dogs have long been able to sniff out explosives and narcotics and recent research has proved that they can also smell early stages of breast cancer. There are a number of laboratories around the world working on electronic nose sensors that will, one day, function like a dog’s nose. We may be some years away from ‘nose’ sensors as the new human enhancement fashion accessory, but designers like myself are working on smart jewellery and fabrics that adds aroma to fashion design by creating radical, active, ‘scentsory’ properties.

    And this leads to the second purpose of the dress, which will help those in recovery feel safe. The dress will act as a holistic healing platform to improve quality of life in the last stages of cancer, and will be engineered to address, where possible, a number of physical symptoms such as: bone pain (possible indication of bone metastases); shortness of breath (possible indication of lung metastases); lack of appetite (possible indication of liver metastases); weight loss (possible indication of liver metastases); neurological pain or weakness, headaches (possible indications of neurological metastases); as well as delivering important psychological end-benefits such as stress reduction, insomnia and depression.

    It offers a personal ‘scentsory bubble’ around women. The sensors detect stress physiologically and the fabrics produce beneficial aromas in controlled ways responding to their changing personal needs.

    It will not only help improve the ‘wellbeing’ of the patient but the individual achieves inner strength to fight cancer, and personal comfort through the delivery of digitally controlled scents.

    Although my vision may be regarded as being science fiction by some it could, one day, become a reality, and I hope that when it does, it will help improve the quality of life for many women.

    Fri, Apr 29, 2011  Permanent link

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    My work is inspired by a number of Science Fiction authors including J.G.Ballard, Aldous Huxley, Philip K.Dick and Star Trek movies 'The Next Generation'.

    In 1993 J.G.Ballard said: ‘Fashion is the recognition that nature has endowed us with one skin too few, and that a fully sentient being should wear its nervous system externally' (Project from a Glossary of the Twentieth Century, ‘Interzone’ Science Fiction magazine, June 1993)

    In 1932 Aldous Huxley wrote 'Brave New World': ". . . the scent organ was playing a delightfully refreshing Herbal Capriccio – rippling arpeggios of thyme and lavender, of rosemary, basil, myrtle, tarragon . . . . .a series of daring modulations through the spice keys – and a slow return through sandalwood, camphor, cedar and new mown hay . . . "

    In 1987, Star Trek launched 'The Next Generation' films which portrayed military police with mood-enhancing clothes. In the episode 'Encounter At Farpoint', Q and his fellow soldiers of the future wore uniforms that had sniffers built into their suits so that they could change their state of mind on demand.

    Inspired by these key quotes and films, I am designing responsive clothes and jewellery that alter mood and improve emotional wellbeing, through the sense of smell. Building on the latest developments in electro and photo active materials, miniaturisation (MEMS) and sensor technology, I am working with leading scientists to create a platform exploiting the integration of creative design and innovative materials and technologies.

    'Scentient Beings' is an interdisciplinary research project at the cutting edge of aroma and medical work, which seeks to change the experience of fragrance to a more intimate communication of identity, by employing emerging technologies with the ancient art of perfumery and the growing trend of complementary therapies.

    The project investigates the interface between the arts and biomedical sciences, around new emerging technologies and science platforms and their applications in the domain of health and well-being and the impact it may have on the fashion industry.

    A new movement in functional “holistic” clothing that incorporates sensory systems of precisely metered fragrance delivery and release is introduced called “Scentsory Design.” It focuses on the development of responsive fashion that changes with emotion, introducing 'SmartSecondSkin' clothes and jewellery that are designed for psychological end benefit to reduce stress, promote sleep, alleviate depression and improve mood.

    'Scentient Beings' invents a new science of aroma delivery focusing on smell and the impact it has on health and wellbeing. It explores the concept of Re-cabling Fashion, by implanting smell technology into multi-sensorial clothing. 'SmartSecondSkin' combines lab-on-a-chip with biosensors which allows the storage and handling of tiny amounts of fluids on chips.

    These chips can be programmed like Huxley's 'Scent Organ' to release a spectrum of scents at specific times of the day or night. Just as people store different genres of music on their iPods, 'SmartSecondSkin' offers a new sensory system to collect and store a selection of fragrances close to the body: a modern iPod of the fragrance industry embedded in fashion. . . .

    An example of my work was recently exhibited in China and Japan at the 'Warp Factor 09' exhibition, hosted by Central Saint Martins. The ‘LubbDupp Fluidic Fabric’ is an experimental woven textile in collaboration with Clem Debos. It mimics natures microfluidic processing system, inspired by the neurobiological delivery mechanisms found under skin (veins, heart, scent glands), in particular the sound of a heartbeat (‘lubb-dupp’) through a stethoscope. It is a continuation of my ‘SmartSecondSkin’ research which illustrated a responsive fabric that dispenses sensory ingredients for health, wellbeing and lifestyle choices.

    Sat, Feb 27, 2010  Permanent link

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