POTION Project Workshop at 41st EMBC Conference, 2019

The POTION project partners have been commended for leading a highly successful workshop at the prestigious EMBC Conference in Berlin. POTION is studying how human body odours transfer emotions and shape social behaviour, and this is expected to lead to an olfactory-based technology that will analyse the chemical composition of the body odours as well as develop instruments to disperse artificially produced body odours.

The main objectives of this workshop were to provide better knowledge on developing mental healthcare technologies, understanding how the self-management interactive systems provide insights in emotional experience and covering the state-of-the art of theories and methods which aim to enhance the affective health and wellbeing.

POTION partners took advantage of this opportunity to organize panels to cover the interdisciplinary approach for introducing the strategies of emotion regulation as well as challenges in designing technology-based interventions for affective disorders. They further introduced fundamental models of emotion, and advanced signal processing methods to characterize physiological influential theories of emotion regulation and adaptive technology-based emotion regulation strategies.

The following presentations delivered by expert speakers were among the highlights of the workshop:

  • Luca Mainardi, Politecnico di Milano: Analysis of physiological and non-contact signals for the assessment of emotional components in consumer preference
  • Raquel Bailón, University of Zaragoza: Pitfalls and challenges in heart rate variability analysis for emotion recognition
  • Nicola Vanello, University of Pisa: Can we analyse voice signal to detect mood swings?
  • Claudio Gentili, University of Padova: From experimental to clinical psychopathology: the use of ECG to characterize mood disorders from a clinician perspective.
  • Mariano Luis Alcaniz Raya, Universitat Politècnica de València: Immersive neuropsychotherapy: bridging neuroscience and virtual reality for mental healthcare interventions
  • Gün R. Semin, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa: The Communicative Axilla and the Knowing Nose: Human Sweat as Carrier of Information Biographical sketch

Image caption: Presenters and participants at the POTION workshop, EMBC 2019, Berlin



What is the scent of fear? And that of happiness? When we experience emotions, we emit volatiles (body odours) associated with that particular state, which can influence the behaviour of somebody who is exposed to these volatiles. This influence can be seen in the types of behaviours a recipient of the odour displays and could be behaviours of inclusion and trust in the case of odours produced when we are happy or exclusion and distancing when we are afraid.

This project (POTION) stands out for its innovativeness. It is a unique collaboration between psychologists, experts in wireless body wear, chemists, clinical psychologists, engineers involved in developing odour dispersion systems, among others. It will run for five years and is made up of 10 European partners from eight different countries with complementary profiles (seven research centres from various areas and three companies). Its external committee includes, for example the prestigious MIT (Boston, USA). The project is supported by funds of approximately six and half million euros from the Horizon 2020 program.

The overall goal of the POTION undertaking is to create an olfactory-based ground-breaking system that uses chemosignals to define their chemical composition, produce them artificially and then use them in both clinical and social scenarios among other things: in the former, so as to improve the management of feelings of trust, happiness and inclusion in virtual, real and social media contexts; in the latter, POTION will plans to advance the treatment of social anxiety, phobias and depression.

POTION’s results aim at a significant impact within both the scientific and the wider community by advancing our knowledge of the chemical underpinnings of social and emotional behaviour whilst having its sights on an overall improvement of social relations and well-being.




Gentili berlin

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