Breaking Through 2022 Finalist: A.R.O.M.A.

Breaking Through 2022 Finalist

Now in its third installment, Healthcare Design’s Breaking Through is a conceptual design competition that encourages industry members to forget the traditional rules and restrictions of healthcare design to answer the challenges anticipated for the future of healthcare delivery. Four finalists made it to the finale that took place at the 2022 HCD Conference + Expo in San Antonio and presented their concepts to the audience during a keynote session.

Concept: A.R.O.M.A.
Team: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Team representatives: Erica Parker, product designer; Christopher Brause, product designer; and Pulkit Jain, senior data engineer

The premise: Most healthcare data is collected via slow, expensive research projects that are reactive to long-existing health concerns, meaning communities might experience a huge toll before anything is learned or action taken.

A.R.O.M.A. (Ambient Robotic Olfactory Monitoring Apparatus) proposes a preventive health tool that leverages sensors and artificial intelligence (A.I.) to identify outbreaks much sooner.

The concept: A.R.O.M.A. explores machine olfaction, or the artificial sense of smell. Using A.I., it has a vast network of highly sensitive and precise sensor arrays that are embedded into its unique piping design.

These sensors are used to detect patterns and predict the spread of harmful pathogens, pollutants, and carcinogens in real time across various public and private spaces.

The sensor arrays exceed the ability of humans or animals; however, A.R.O.M.A.’s six core features are based on olfactory systems commonly found in nature.

The details: A.R.O.M.A. is modular to adapt to any structure or surface, while it can expand and evolve for use anywhere from an urban to rural environment as well as at the community level or even for individual detection within the home.

The top is distinguished by the array of robotic arms that captures air from every direction and angle. It circulates air down through sensors that detect and identify contaminants or pathogens and next to measure details like concentration of compounds and attributes like windspeed.

And then all this information is filtered into a “brain” or pattern recognition and prediction space that creates a scent profile. Profiles are combined with historical data and scientific knowledge to monitor patterns and changes over time.

This allows A.R.O.M.A. to function as a public health tool that identifies outbreaks before they occur and creates a network of data that can help predict where infection will likely spread.

For more on Healthcare Design’s Breaking Through, see the November 2022 issue.