Developed under Sony's Seed Acceleration Program ("SAP") initiative for expediting new promising business ideas, AROMASTIC is a new personal portable aroma diffuser. SONY - acclaimed for world-renowned audio and visual entertainment - this new product expands Sony's realm of entertainment to the olfactory senses.
This video explores the fascinating story behind the development by its two creators and the Neal's Yard Remedies representatives who supervised the essential oils.
Totally new. personal enjoyment.
Portable Aroma Diffuser
For most, Sony is a name synonymous with visual and audio entertainment. So it comes as a surprise that the company has pursued a new form of Olfactory entertainment with the release of the aroma diffuser. Two engineers from Sony's OE Business Office, Shuji Fujita and Tsunetoshi Samukawa found potential into this new field before anyone else.
AROMASTIC features a slim, portable design that's slightly larger than a size of lipstick. Individual cartridges (five scents available) are inserted to allow the user to enjoy their favorite aroma sensation. "Rather than impacting the whole area, this diffuser enhances just your personal space. That's what really new and different about this product." says Fujita.
"The world of aroma holds a lot of potential," says Tsunetoshi Samukawa. There have been few companies able to bridge the sensation of smell with a higher emotional sense of entertainment and excitement. "We became convinced Sony should take on this new challenge." says Samukawa.
A new realm of olfactory sensation
In 2012, Fujita and Samukawa were a part of Sony's Advanced Materials Laboratories, where they first shared the dream of wanting to do something totally new. They felt that being able to stimulate the senses would lead to better ways to excite and move people. Forming a two-man product development team, the duo launched a special project to discover how. When Fujita left to study abroad, however, the project was temporarily set aside until his return.
Never giving up on the dream, the two found the path to develop the idea further thanks to Sony's new business creation initiative, the Seed Acceleration Program ("SAP"), which began in 2014. "Anyone who had an idea could challenge recalls Fujita, when he applied for an audition with SAP. "Olfactory is an area Sony could approach with confidence," he thought, and together with his colleague Samukawa, decided to apply for the competitive in-house program.
Fascinating scents that would switch on cue suddenly, then disappear. AROMASTIC not only focuses on the sense of smell, but on how scents are actually enjoyed. In the test marketing phase, Samukawa discovered that many consumers were extremely delighted. This convinced him that this new technology would contribute to a high level of excitement that is typical of Sony.
Sony × Neal's Yard Remedies
The supervision of the scents used in AROMASTIC was handled by the organic cosmetic brand, Neal's Yard Remedies, based in London, England. The company - which first opened England's first Natural Apothecary (natural pharmacy) in Covent Garden in 1981 - produces products with rich aroma using organic ingredients. Each essential oil is carefully extracted in the best way possible from each ingredients. Having enjoyed a solid reputation in Japan, it must have been an unexpected surprise when Sony approached them.
Recalling being caught by compete surprise, Hiroyuki Hanyu, Sales and Marketing Department says, "At first, we thought Sony was only interested in our essential oil. But then they asked us to become full partners in the project."
Meanwhile, Takahiro Kosuge of the Planning and Public Relations Department from Neal's Yard Remedies confesses that he was convinced that something like AROMASTIC already existed somewhere. "I thought there must be a product like this out there already." However, as he learned more details about the Aroma diffuser powered by Sony's cutting-edge technology, he was drawn in. "The more we got into it, the more we recognized the opportunity." he recalls.
Making scents easy to carry on the go
Sony's innovative technologies fused with Neal's Yard's essential oils. This surprising collaboration also proposes a totally new way to experience scents. AROMASTIC lets you easily carry your favorite scents wherever you go, yet not diffuse them beyond your surroundings. For example, you can enjoy your favorite scent while commuting on a train or at the office. When you need to concentrate at work or if you want to relieve tension before an important engagement, simply take out AROMASTIC and press a button, and you can change your mood with your favorite scent of choice.
"Encountering a new scent is an intriguing experience. I think the world of scent we're creating will expand rapidly," says Samukawa. He himself says that he's experienced new scents using AROMASTIC.
Both Hanyu and Kosuge of Neal's Yard Remedies hope that enjoying scents will become a daily ritual. They envision a future where people with various needs use AROMASTIC in everyday situations, such as while driving or even at hospitals.
Regarding the future of AROMASTIC, Fujita says the following, "I wanted to create something that everyone could take with them and can enjoy aroma freely, the same way Sony brought portable music outside the home and studios."
Like music, scents can directly move people's hearts. Fujita and Samukawa have demonstrated how passionate they are about creating a meaningful product that should delight people around the world. And it all started as a personal dream and mission as Sony members.