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BTC Competition 2022

HCD Innovation Challenge

Healthcare Design Magazine's "Breaking Through" is a conceptual design competition that encourages industry members to forget the traditional rules and restrictions of healthcare design to answer the challenges anticipated for the future of healthcare delivery. 

The Premise

What if a building could smell? What if a structure could shape its perception of external environments? Most healthcare data is collected via slow, expensive research projects that are reactive to long-existing health concerns, meaning communities might experience a huge toll before anything is learned or action taken.


Louis Riccardi

Project Manager  


Christopher Brause

Sr. Product Designer


Daniel Stein, MD, PhD

Associate CIO

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Erica Parker, EDAC

Sr. Product Designer


Pulkit Jain

Sr. Data Engineer 


Kristine Colon

Program Manager

The Idea 

When we sniff coffee, the chemicals in the air are dissolved into our nasal mucus. Our olfactory sensory neurons detect and transmit odor information to her central nervous system. For our idea, A.R.O.M.A., the goal is to replicate the olfactory process that is common in mammals in order to create a powerful, artificially intelligent “e-nose”.

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A.R.O.M.A. explores machine olfaction, or the artificial sense of smell. In order to begin, we had to conduct research and learn about olfactory systems, how they work and species that use their sense of smell to survive. 

Machine Olfaction

Machine olfaction is a modern engineering approach of robots or automated systems used to synthesize and create a simulated sense of smell. A.R.O.M.A. stand for “A Roaming Olfactory Machine All-in-One”, and is an electronic nose, or "e-nose" that is a part of the everyday spaces we occupy. We envision this apparatus in private homes or as personal device, in semi-private spaces like offices and hospitals, and accessible to all people in the public realm.



A.R.O.M.A.’s six core features are based on olfactory systems commonly found in nature. We wanted to understand some of the strongest noses on Earth and how we could replicate those abilities electronically.


Precedent Studies

A yurt is designed to be dismantled and the parts carried compactly on camels or yaks to be rebuilt on another site. Complete construction takes around 2 hours.

Similarly, our A.R.O.M.A. module is designed to be modular, where its parts can be taken apart and carried compactly to suit the needs of the user. The Robotic system comes in 3 sizes. Personal devices, private and semi-private spaces, and public commercial sizes for institutions and parks.

The Design Wireframe

The Rendering Process

We used software such as Cinema4D, Rhinoceros 5, AfterEffects, and Lumion to build and showcase our concept in 3D. 

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