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19 April, 2013 - 14:15 By Tony Quested

Health payback from fragrant technology

Cambridge entrepreneur Jenny Tillotson

A Cambridge UK entrepreneur is pioneering a new global movement demonstrating how weaving scent into fashion, jewellery and technology can improve people’s wellness.Jenny Tillotson has already earned international recognition as the driving force behind Scentsory Design® which unites the ancient art of perfumery with emerging technologies, ‘emotional fashion’ and wellbeing.

Nike, Unilever, Philips AVENT, Selfridge’s and US outdoor clothing company, The North Face, have all sniffed a commercial opportunity from engaging with the sensory fashion afficionado.

Tillotson will outline the potential for the new technology platform at the Nerve Congress in Cambridge from June 25-27.

A Reader in Sensory Fashion at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and a Visiting Scholar in the Institute of Biotechnology at Cambridge University, Tillotson is developing a SIM-card-sized scent-releasing capsule that will slot into diverse objects.

With over 15 years working in wearable technologies and smell, her interests originally stem from offering emotional support to people living with HIV/AIDS and mental health illnesses.

She is creating a new sustainable platform that breaks the tradition of fragrance delivery – introducing responsive or adaptive effects that change the experience of fragrance to improve health. Her aim is “to bring a totally new wellness dimension to fashion, textiles, accessories and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) through the sense of smell.

She collaborated with The North Face to integrate the capsule into a rucksack for runners. She also worked with Philips AVENT’s product range for babies, to design a pendant for new mothers that emits various smells depending on the time of day. She says Selfridges has expressed interest in stocking the finished product in its stores.

At the Institute of Biotechnology, Tillotson is experimenting with ways to integrate the capsule into mobile phones and gaming consoles. She says: “Car-racing games can be accompanied by smells of oil or fire, cooking apps could have a smell of roast chicken.”

Born in Cambridge, her long-term passion is to open a Science Fashion Lab® in the city. She gained her BA in Fashion Communication & Promotion from Central Saint Martins whose star-studded alumni include Terence Conran, James Dyson, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, Bruce Oldfield and Francesca Versace. She also gained a PhD in Printed Textiles from the Royal College of Art.

Tillotson has exhibited internationally, published in science and design journals, consulted for NIKE and Unilever, and worked on projects with Philips, The North Face, Adeline André haute couture and International Flavours & Fragrances.

She has won numerous awards and fellowships including a ‘FiFi’ nomination award for breakthrough progress in the fragrance industry. Prior to her academic work she was a stylist in the fashion and music industry and a sensory designer for Charmed Technology Inc – an MIT Media Lab spin-out company.

Her own spin-out business from Central Saint Martins – Sensory Design & Technology – has global patents and is seeking fundraising to commercialise wearable scent technology for fashion and wellbeing.

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