i went to kmart to research smell dispensers. they generally fell into these categories:
- heat disperses the scent of oil or wax
- spritzer dispenses scented spray
- a fan disperses the smell of scented goo that sits in a permeable pouch
i went with a motion-sensing spritzing dispenser and a dispersal mechanism that works with a fan. these two give us more control over when we start and stop dispersing smells; with a candle or another heat-based mechanism, dispersal is slow and hard to contain.
when i got back to the floor, i took apart the motion-sensing spritzer. the construction is surprisingly simple and elegant: a motion sensor or button activates a battery-powered DC motor, which turns a series of gears, which pull an arm into contact with the scented stuff and ~*spritz*~