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work in progress! :)
This project was originally thought up and proposed as part of Hack Club's Summer of Making initiative and associated hardware grant program. Since then, I've gotten a bit busier and summer has gotten a bit nonexistent, but I'll still be working on this project and updating this page/my scrapbook throughout the semester, as parts get shipped. For now, here's a snippet from my original grant application:
2-4% of people have synesthesia, which is where the brain associates two or more senses together (e.g. tasting words, hearing colors, etc). Research has also showed a link between synesthesia and autism, because of the similarities of sensory links in both conditions. Understanding how someone with autism perceives this sensory information could help people in their lives (parents, counselors, teachers) learn which combinations of sensory information to avoid. Even without regards to autism, associating colors with smells or sounds could help young children or second language learners pick up sensory descriptors faster. This is where Synesthesia Oyster comes in: it's a tool to help visualize specific combinations of color, sound, and smell. My inspiration to make this came from being a mild synesthete myself (I associate smells with colors and sound with colors) and then learning how synesthetic tools can help people with autism learn about their sensory triggers.
Even without knowing what the Synesthesia Oyster does, the user can already have an expectation that something will be released from the oyster because of its open shape. The user might also guess that the important electronics are all within the pearl, since expensive and valued pearls are why oysters are highly sought after, and since it's slightly disproportionately larger than the oyster shell (to contain and hide the control board, small speaker, LED strips, peltiers, and essential oils). This user design gives the expectation to experience the senses in someone else's view of the world, as if you are the pearl in someone else's oyster.