ScentBots: Scent-Based Telepresence Robots

Chris Hill, Casey Hunt


The lab that I am part of in ATLAS, the THING Lab, functions remotely 2/3 of the time. Our advisor works from New York City and our collaborators are stationed around the world, while our lab is based out of CU Boulder. After living in this unique situation for several months, we identified a desire in the team for ambient presence of remote collaborators. With Scent Bots, we explore the combination of location and scent for remote communication and presence.

The system pairs video calling, object recognition, a top-down projector, and robots to connect two tabletops through scent. Each table is captured via a top-down webcam, which is projected on the remote partner’s table. An object placed on one table triggers the remote Scent Bot. This robot will move to the position where the item, say a fresh cup of coffee, is located on the remote table and release a corresponding scent at that position.