Discrete, Compact, and Smelly. (In a good way!)

The Ambi-Sense is a discrete way to ambiently make a room smell great! loaded with dense sponges to hold onto that great smelling scent, all while being smaller than a flip-phone! (People still use those, right?)

Slide it into a closet, or hide it in a kitchen drawer and enjoy that sweet sweet freshness.

Objective & Budget:
Ambi-Sense aims to replace the expensive and waste-heavy scent canister alternatives with a cheaper, longer-lasting, smaller, and more economically minded product! We planned to do all this for under $10. (The current cost for a reusable canister of another scent related product)

It took a little over 2 weeks to iterate to the final design, changes included everything from altering the way you accessed the internal components, all the way to adding a neat rounded edge to prevent warping.

(We’ll go over that in the design section.)

Originally, the project was purposed to help real estate agents, spending a fortune on the alternative scent products to make a house smell presentable.

As the project went on our team of testers found more and more ways to use it. Kitchens, bathrooms, and even closets all became more and more likely candidates as the tests went on.
Scope of the project

Our project started as a simple open container for scented oils. Evaporation and scent loss occurred – pushing us to look for a dense material that could hold onto the scented oils, while still providing enough room to allow for the fragrance to travel.

Makeup sponges –  Made of a dense, rubbery sponge material seemed to be the best and lowest cost option. For $2 I could get a pack of two! more than enough for a single canister.

With the makeup sponges intact, they simply made it difficult to air out the fragrance. By chopping them into smaller chunks, we had the best of both worlds – something to hold onto the oils, and a less dense area within the canisters.

Now that the sponges worked, we had to find a way to keep that scent around as long as possible. Initially, we had thought that constant reapplication was key, however as time went on that seemed more and more futile. Using some good old chemistry know-how, we deduced that adding alcohol to the mix helped to keep the scent around longer. (This also caused any pet-friendly scents to be much less pet-friendly. A more expensive alternative is to use witch hazel.)

Now that we had figured out the materials we needed, we put together a list – finding the best ways to be cost-efficient.

Overall design:
Our designs started with a simple petri dish that we printed out of a fairly low-cost PLA. By using heavy flowing plastic, we were able to make the base of the dish watertight, and high gloss. This was important, as we did not want the scented oils to leech into the walls of the container.

As we realized that evaporation and scent loss was an issue, we created a slotted lid that would slide into the lower half of the canister. This worked well, however, if it was knocked or dropped the container would easily open, and the liquid would spill. To combat this we added threads to the sides of the container, and dense sponges to hold the liquid in a more solid form. Our design was now very functional, however it looked very plain. A simple rounding of the edges, more stylistic take on the slots on the lid, and we were happy with how it looked.  

“Do nots”:
As the design developed we found that we hadn’t discovered many “do not” moments. The most notable was not to keep a liquid in an easily opened container. This led to leaks, spills, and generally great smelling floors. (Which would be great, but was not what we were going for!)