To switch between tasks large or small, the human brain takes cues from one, but more often two-or-more, sensory signals. For example, “the coffee is ready, let me pour a cup and stop what I am doing now” might be triggered by the sound of boiling, a light turning off, an coffee aroma filling the air. Research shows the more senses involved, the easier it is for a person to switch tasks.

ROLE: Researcher + Designer TYPE: Independent Project COURSE: Exploring Interaction INNOVATION: Support transitioning from work using scent as a stimuli.
Over the course of a semester, 13 young professionals across more than 7 smart-homes participated as research subjects. Their input (from surveys to interviews, to self-ethnographic documentation, to in-person observations) revealed that working from home, in a pandemic, or otherwise, is fraught with a sense of lack of boundaries between life domains environments.
From small USBs, to medium watches, to larger ambient concepts, lots of ideas were conceived and evaluated. Testers enjoyed setting up the devices, tactility and ritual were mentioned as favorable characteristics.

Main concerns were the ease of cleaning and refilling the scent intervention concept. Things that felt too familiar, like a special cream or spray jar, were nixed for their feeling too “familiar.”
Once the final design direction was chosen, further research revealed that very little has been done with actual botanicals. When compared with perfumes or essential oils, studies indicated that botanicals had higher efficacy than their perfume/essential oil counterparts when it came to stress relief and cognitive acuity. Therefore it was the aim to work with real botanicals.​​​​​​​
Working with real botanicals meant that water dispersion (aka boiling) was the best (and most accessible) method technically. My studio suggested testing if drinking at the end of the day might be interesting. Folks saw the tea solution as a more “drowsy-ing” end of full day, rather than “end of the workday.”
While people seemed to like the working prototype, in both the relaxing and energizing condition, people felt generally calm.
ANAPAFSI works by creating a scented reminder for you to wrap up work and transition into your aer work time. Your choice between a "relaxing and "energizing" scent helps you set the tone for the evening ahead. With time, these scents will become like muscle memory, helping you to leave work at work.