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Title:
APPARATUS FOR DECORATION AND USE THEREOF
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/104396
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
This invention relates to decorative apparatus for and a method of causing diffusion of a fragrance using microfluidics techniques in delivery structure, whereby an aesthetically pleasing effect is created. The structure is adapted to comprise at least one capillary, which, in use, contains a moving liquid, drawn by capillary action from a reservoir. When the liquid is coloured, and the capillary is visible in the structure, for example a translucent matrix such as a crystal, visual effects are created. The liquid may contain a fragrance for altering the ambience of a space into which the liquid is permitted to evaporate and diffuse.

Inventors:
HANNON-TAN, James (13 Sussex St, North Adelaide, South Australia 5006, 5006, AU)
Application Number:
AU2018/051289
Publication Date:
June 06, 2019
Filing Date:
November 30, 2018
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
JIM HANNON-TAN DESIGN PTY LTD (13 Sussex St, North Adelaide, South Australia 5006, 5006, AU)
International Classes:
A61L9/12; B05B17/00; B81B1/00; B81B7/04
Foreign References:
GB2180450A1987-04-01
US20080203185A12008-08-28
US20050001052A12005-01-06
US7824627B22010-11-02
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ASHBY, Kevin (PO Box 900, Samford, Queensland 4520, 4520, AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. Apparatus for causing diffusion of a fluid into a space by microfluidics techniques, the apparatus including a delivery structure adapted for providing a decorative effect while diffusion proceeds.

2. Apparatus according to claim 1 , wherein the structure is adapted to comprise a capillary, which, in use, contains a moving liquid.

3. Apparatus according to claim 2, wherein the capillary is formed in a translucent matrix.

4. Apparatus according to claim 3 wherein the capillary is etched into the matrix.

5. Apparatus according to claim 3 or claim 4, wherein the matrix is transparent for liquid within to be visible.

6. Apparatus according to any one of claims 2 to 5, wherein the capillary is supported within or on or by the structure.

7. Apparatus according to claim 2, wherein the capillary is self-supporting.

8. Apparatus according to any one of claims 2 to 7, wherein the liquid is passively drawn into the capillary.

9. Apparatus according to claim 8, wherein the liquid is drawn by capillary action.

10. Apparatus according to any one of claims 2 to 9, comprising a reservoir in fluid communication with the delivery structure.

1 1. Apparatus according to claim 1 1 , wherein the liquid is pumped through the capillary by means of a microfluidic pump operatively connected to the reservoir and delivery structure.

12. A decoration for a space comprising a translucent tube having first and second opposite ends, the tube being adapted for occupation by a liquid moving from the first end to the second end, when the first end is operatively located to be in fluid communication with a reservoir of said liquid, and the second end is open to atmosphere, wherein liquid reaching the second end is permitted to evaporate.

13. A decoration according to claim 12, wherein the liquid is selected to humidify the atmosphere.

14. A decoration according to claim 12 or claim 13, wherein the liquid is selected to release a fragrance into the atmosphere.

15. A decoration according to claim 14, wherein the liquid comprises a fragrance of relative volatility sufficient for diffusion to occur into a room under ambient conditions.

16. A decoration according to any one of claims 12 to 15, wherein the liquid is coloured for visibility when occupying the tube.

17. A decoration according to any one of claims 12 to 16, wherein the tube is rendered visible to the naked eye when occupied by the liquid.

18. A decoration according to any one of claims 12 to 17, wherein the tube is adapted for liquid occupation by being configured according to microfluidic principles.

19. A decoration according to claim 18, wherein the liquid is caused to move into the tube by capillary action.

20. A decoration according to claim 18 or 19, wherein the wherein the liquid is caused to move through the tube by means of a microfluidic pumping device.

21. A decoration according to any one of claims 12 to 20, comprising tube illumination means.

22. A decoration according to claim 21 , wherein the illumination means comprises a light emitting diode operatively directed to cast light on to an edge of the tube thereby to create a visually pleasing effect.

23. A decoration according to any one of claims 12 to 22, wherein the tube us contained within a matrix.

24. A decoration according to claim 23, wherein the matrix is translucent.

25. A decoration according to claim 24, wherein the matrix comprises glass, quartz or a transparent plastics material.

26. A decoration according to any one of claims 12 to 25, wherein the tube is branched.

27. A decoration according to any one of claims 12 to 25, having nanopillars extended from the tube, defining microfluidic channels establishing fluid communication between the tube and ambient atmosphere.

28. A decoration according to any one of claims 13 to 27, wherein decoration comprises two or more tubes.

29. A decoration according to claim 28, wherein the tubes are arranged in a pattern resembling branches of a tree.

30. A decoration according to claim 28 or claim 29, wherein the first ends of the respective tubes extend in parallel into the reservoir.

31. A method of altering the ambience of a space, the method comprising the steps of: a. Locating in the space diffusion apparatus comprising a liquid-holding reservoir and a delivery structure adapted for delivery of a vapour from a liquid from the reservoir to the space; b. Allowing a vapour from the liquid to enter, by microfluidics, the space; and c. Allowing passage of the liquid from the reservoir to delivery to occur in an aesthetically pleasing, decorative manner.

32. The method of claim 31 including causing passage of the liquid through a translucent tube having first and second opposite ends, the first end being operatively located to be in fluid communication with a reservoir of said liquid, and the second end being open to atmosphere for delivery of the liquid into the space, wherein liquid reaching the second end is permitted to evaporate.

33. The method of claim 32 including pumping the liquid from the reservoir to the second end.

34. A method according to any one of claims 31 to 33 comprising providing the tube as a capillary and operatively locating it to establish a conduit for fluid communication between the reservoir and the space, thereby to allow liquid to be drawn from the reservoir up the capillary by capillary action and evaporate into the space via the second end.

35. The method of claim 34, including stimulating the liquid to evaporate by subjecting it to ultrasonic vibrational energy.

36. The method of claim 34 or 35, wherein the capillary is defined by a transparent wall.

37. The method of any one of claims 34 to 36, wherein the wall is located in a matrix.

38. The method of claim 37, wherein the matrix comprises a translucent substance selected from glass and a translucent polymer.

39. The method of claim 38, wherein the matrix is transparent.

40. A method according to any one of claims 31 to 39 including the step of charging the reservoir with a coloured liquid, whereby the coloured liquid, when in the capillary, is visible to an observer with the naked eye.

41. The method of claim 40, wherein the liquid comprises a fragrance for diffusion into the space via the capillary.

42. A decorative visual display comprising at least one capillary having opposed first and second ends and a support structure arranged to support the or each capillary with the first end penetrating into a body of coloured liquid and the second end of each capillary opening onto a space into which volatile components within the liquid may diffuse, whereby the liquid moving in the capillary is visible.

43. The visual display of claim 42, wherein the space is open to the atmosphere.

44. The visual display of claim 42 or claim 43, wherein the first and second ends are at differing elevations.

45. The visual display of claim 44, wherein the second end terminates with a widening of the capillary to define a bowl-like open container.

46. A visual display according to any one of claims 42 to 45, wherein the support structure comprises a translucent slab having first and second opposite major surfaces.

47. The visual display of claim 44, wherein the support structure is supported with said major planar surfaces being vertically disposed.

48. A visual display according to claim 46 or 47, wherein the (or each) capillary is formed within the slab.

49. The visual display of claim 48, wherein the slab with capillary therein is formed by a three-dimensional printing process.

50. A medium for a visual display utilising microfluidics, the medium comprising a matrix containing a fluid conduit, within which a coloured fluid, when present in the conduit, is visible with the naked eye.

51. A medium according to claim 50 wherein the conduit terminates in a broadened portion, within which liquid gathers for dispersion to the surrounding atmosphere.

52. A medium according to claim 50 or 51 , wherein dispersion is passive or stimulated.

53. A medium according to claim 52 comprising operatively connected means for causing stimulated dispersion.

54. A medium according to claim 53 wherein said means comprise ultrasonic vibrational energy imparting means.

Description:
APPARATUS FOR DECORATION AND USE THEREOF

Field of invention

[01 ] This invention relates to decorative apparatus for and a method of causing diffusion of a fragrance using microfluidics techniques in delivery structure, whereby an aesthetically pleasing effect is created.

Background to the invention

[02] The technology of microfluidics deals with the behaviour, precise control and manipulation, generally on a micron scale, of geometrically constrained fluids. Practical applications lie in the design of apparatus in which low volumes of fluids are processed, for example in the development of inkjet printheads, DNA chips, lab-on-a-chip technology, micro-propulsion, and micro-thermal technologies.

Objects of the invention

[03] It is an object of this invention to address the shortcomings of the prior art and, in doing so, to provide a decoration utilising microfluidics.

[04] A further object of the invention is to provide means for fragrance diffusion device integrated in an aesthetically pleasing display.

[05] The preceding discussion of the background to the invention is intended to facilitate an understanding of the present invention. However, it should be appreciated that the discussion is not an acknowledgement or admission that any of the material referred to was part of the common general knowledge in Australia or elsewhere as at the priority date of the present application.

[06] Further, and unless the context clearly requires otherwise, throughout the description and the claims, the words‘comprise’,‘comprising’, and the like are to be construed in an inclusive sense - that is in the sense of “including, but not being limited to” - as opposed to an exclusive or exhaustive sense, meaning “including this and nothing else”. Summary of invention

[07] According to a first aspect of the invention, there is provided apparatus for causing diffusion of a fluid into a space using microfluidics techniques, the apparatus comprising a delivery structure adapted for providing decorative effect while diffusion proceeds.

[08] In a preferred form of the invention, the structure is adapted to comprise a capillary, which, in use, contains a moving liquid.

[09] The capillary may be formed in a matrix, supported within or on or by a structure, or be self-supporting. Where self-supporting, the capillary may comprise a rigid tube. Where supported, the capillary may comprise a flexible tube or a rigid tube. The apparatus preferably comprises fastening means for fastening the tube to the supporting structure.

[010] The tube has first and second opposite ends, being adapted for occupation by a liquid moving from the first end to the second end, when the first end is operatively located to be in fluid communication with a reservoir of said liquid, and the second end is open to atmosphere, into which at least a portion of said liquid is dispersible as a vapour, gas or dispersion of droplets.

[011] In a further preferred form of the invention, the capillary is formed in a transparent matrix, within which the moving liquid is visible. The capillary may be formed by a three-dimensional printing method, by injection moulding, hot stamping, or, in the case of a glass matrix, glass etching.

[012] In a preferred embodiment, the liquid is passively drawn into the capillary. The liquid may be drawn by capillary action alone, or in combination with other motive means.

[013] In an embodiment, the liquid is forced through the capillary by means of a microfluidic pump operatively connected to the reservoir and delivery structure.

[014] In an embodiment, the liquid is stimulated for dispersion to atmosphere by means of ultrasonic vibrational energy. The ultrasonic vibrational energy may be imparted by means of an interdigital display (IDT) located at an open end of the tube.

[015] According to a second aspect of the invention, there is provided a spatial decoration comprising a translucent tube having first and second opposite ends, the tube being adapted for occupation by a liquid moving from the first end to the second end, when the first end is operatively located to be in fluid communication with a reservoir of said liquid, and the second end is open to atmosphere, wherein liquid reaching the second end is permitted to evaporate.

[016] In a preferred form of the invention, the liquid is selected to humidify the atmosphere. In an embodiment, the liquid comprises water.

[017] In a preferred form of the invention, the liquid is selected to release a fragrance into the atmosphere. In an embodiment, the liquid comprises a fragrance.

[018] In a preferred embodiment, the liquid is coloured for visibility when occupying the tube. Preferably, the tube is rendered visible to the naked eye when occupied by the liquid.

[019] Preferably, the tube is adapted for liquid occupation by being configured according to microfluidic principles.

[020] In a further preferred form of the invention, the liquid is caused to move into the tube by capillary action.

[021 ] In an alternative form of the invention, the liquid is caused to move through the tube by means of a microfluidic pumping device.

[022] In an embodiment, the decoration comprises tube illumination means.

[023] The illumination means may comprise a light emitting diode (LED) operatively directed to cast light on the tube. Preferably, the LED is provided within an array of LEDs, configured to direct light on to an edge of the tube to create a visually pleasing effect. [024] In a further preferred form of the invention, the tube us contained within a matrix.

[025] The matrix is preferably translucent. Preferably the matrix comprises transparent glass or a transparent plastics material, for example the polymer available under the trade name Perspex®.

[026] The liquid preferably comprises a fragrance of relative volatility sufficient for diffusion to occur into a room under ambient conditions. Further preferably, the liquid is a perfume, cologne, or the like.

[027] The tube in a preferred embodiment is branched, preferably having at least two ends open to atmosphere. The tube preferably widens into a bowl-like open container at the two open ends.

[028] In a further preferred embodiment, the decoration comprises two or more tubes. Preferably, the tubes are arranged in a pattern resembling branches of a tree. The first ends of the respective tubes preferably extend in parallel into the reservoir.

[029] According to a third aspect of the invention, there is provided a method of altering the ambience of a space, the method comprising the steps of: a. Locating in the space diffusion apparatus comprising a liquid-holding reservoir and a delivery structure adapted for delivery of a vapour from a liquid from the reservoir to the space; b. Allowing a vapour from the liquid to enter, by virtue of microfluidics, the space; and c. Allowing passage of the liquid from the reservoir to delivery to occur in an aesthetically pleasing, decorative manner.

[030] The method preferably includes causing passage of the liquid through a translucent tube having first and second opposite ends, the first end being operatively located to be in fluid communication with a reservoir of said liquid, and the second end being open to atmosphere for delivery of the liquid into the space, wherein liquid reaching the second end is permitted to evaporate.

[031] In an embodiment, the method includes pumping the liquid from the reservoir to the second end.

[032] The method may further comprise providing the tube as a capillary and operatively locating it to establish a conduit for fluid communication between the reservoir and the space, thereby to allow liquid to be drawn from the reservoir up the capillary by capillary action and evaporate into the space via the second end.

[033] Preferably, the capillary is defined by a transparent wall. The wall in a preferred form of the invention is located in a matrix. The matrix preferably comprises a translucent substance selected from glass and a translucent polymer. Further preferably, the matrix is transparent.

[034] In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the method includes charging the reservoir with a coloured liquid which contains the fragrance, so that the coloured liquid, when in the capillary, is visible to an observer with the naked eye.

[035] A fourth aspect of the invention provides a decorative visual display comprising at least one capillary having opposed first and second ends and a support structure arranged to support the or each capillary with the first end penetrating into a body of coloured liquid and the second end of each capillary opening onto a space into which volatile components within the liquid may diffuse, whereby the liquid moving in the capillary is visible.

[036] In a preferred form of the invention, the space is open to the atmosphere.

[037] In a further preferred form of the invention, the first and second ends are at differing elevations.

[038] In an embodiment, the second end terminates with a widening of the capillary to define a bowl-like open container. [039] The support structure preferably comprises a slab having first and second opposite major surfaces. In an embodiment, the surfaces are substantially planar.

[040] The support structure is preferably supported with said major planar surfaces being vertically disposed.

[041] In a preferred embodiment the (or each) capillary is formed within the slab. By way of example, the slab with capillary therein is formed by a three- dimensional printing process. In another example, the slab is injection moulded.

[042] In a further aspect, the invention provides a medium for a visual display utilising microfluidics, the medium comprising a matrix containing a fluid conduit, within which a coloured fluid, when present in the conduit, is visible with the naked eye.

[043] Preferably, the conduit terminates in a broadened portion, within which liquid gathers for dispersion to the surrounding atmosphere.

[044] Dispersion may be passive, by evaporation, or be stimulated. When stimulated, stimulation may be by means of ultrasonic vibrational energy imparted to the liquid. When the liquid is fragranced, the spatial fragrancing effect achieved from passive evaporation is magnified.

[045] In a preferred form of the invention, the conduit is adapted to draw liquid into it from a reservoir connected in fluid communication therewith.

Brief description of drawings

[046] In order that the invention may be readily understood, and put into practical effect, reference will now be made to the accompanying figures. Thus:

Figure 1 shows in schematic form an impression of a preferred embodiment of the apparatus of this invention in partly exploded form.

Figure 2 is a schematic diagram of the apparatus of Figure 1 in operative connected configuration. Figure 3 is a schematic view of the invention in a further embodiment.

Figure 4 is a schematic view of the invention in a still further embodiment.

Figure 5 is a schematic view of the invention in a still further embodiment in which (a) is a cross-sectional side view along line X-Y in front view (b). Figure 5(b) shows the invention without coloured liquid having been drawn out of the reservoir, and (c) shows the embodiment with liquid that has been drawn out by capillary action.

Figure 6 is a side view of a section of a single-slab embodiment, similar to the embodiment illustrated in Figure 5.

Figure 7 is an embodiment in a schematic perspective, exploded view.

Detailed description of an embodiment of the invention

[047] Referring to Figure 1 , in a currently-preferred embodiment of this invention, a decoration comprising fragrance diffusing apparatus is generally denoted by the number 10 and comprises a diffusion matrix 12 and a fluid reservoir housing 14.

[048] The matrix is made from a solid, non-porous substance that is at least translucent, but is preferably transparent, for reasons to be elucidated. Examples of suitable matrix substances are glass and the polymer known under the trade name Perspex®. In this embodiment, the matrix is shown formed or cut to a rounded, disc-like slab shape, in which its thickness is far exceeded by its diameter. Flowever, as will be demonstrated in other embodiments, the shape and dimensions may vary widely.

[049] Within the matrix are numerous capillaries 20. Each extends from a first open end 22, located at lower edge 24 of a tab 34, which projects from matrix 12, to a distal open end 26. The capillaries therefore define a fluid conduit through which a liquid may be passively drawn by means of capillary action, according to microfluidic principles, from the first end when immersed in the liquid, to the second end, when open to atmosphere. There is no need in this embodiment for pressure to be exerted on the liquid in the reservoir to force it into the capillaries, or for a vacuum to be applied from the distal end to draw it into the conduit.

[050] By providing a coloured liquid and a clear matrix, the liquid in the capillaries may be observed with the naked eye. Different effects may be created by providing the matrix and liquid in selected combinations of colour and degrees of transparency and translucence.

[051] At the distal end 26 of capillary 20 is a widening that defines a basin 28, within which liquid that has been drawn through the conduit gathers after exiting at end 26. The basin is located in an inner circumferential surface portion of an aperture 40 that extends through the disc of matrix 12. This configuration is shown in the callout in Figure 2(b). An air stream 42 passes through aperture 40, collecting evaporating fragrance emanating from the liquid and exiting as fragranced stream 44.

[052] Since basin 28 has a greater diameter than the capillary itself, it provides an increased surface area from which evaporation may occur. This arrangement promotes diffusion of the fragrance emanating from volatile components of liquid 18 to the ambient space within which the apparatus is located in use. The liquid may therefore be selected for its fragrance, for example a perfume, as well as for its colour. The apparatus therefore is capable of providing both a visual and an olfactory effect.

[053] The fragrance of the liquid may be selected to be pleasing to humans, or offensive to pests, such as certain insects, for example mosquitos and flies. A colorant may be added to the liquid when selected primarily for its olfactory effect. The liquid may be, by way of non-limiting example, an insect repellent such as picaridin, or an insecticide, for example containing DEET, or it may be a space fragrance with no other functional purpose, such as an alcoholic beverage fragrance, for example whisky. It may be selected for having volatile components that are calculated to stimulate receptors in a recipient’s olfactory area and as a result encourage a planned response in the recipient. The response may be conscious or unconscious. [054] Housing 14 has within it at least one internal space 16 for holding a charge of liquid 18 to be drawn out by microfluidic capillary action into capillary 20. There is a slot 30 in the top cover 32, through which extension tab 34 of matrix 12 is received into space 16, so that lower edge 24 is immersed below the surface of liquid 18 therein.

[055] A pair of locating slots 36 are provided in lower edge 24 of tab 34. These engage with baffles extending across space 16 of housing 14 to stabilise matrix 12. Figure 2(a) illustrates the apparatus in operative configuration, when tab 34 has been inserted into slot 30.

[056] Liquid-holding space 16 is charged and replenished with liquid via removable lid 38, located in this embodiment on cover 32. It will be appreciated that other locations may be chosen for lid location just as alternative charging and replenishment modes may be employed. For example, a recharge cartridge containing fragranced liquid may be inserted through a side port to be penetrated by lower edge 24 of the tab 34, to establish fluid communication between the cartridge contents and capillaries 20.

[057] Microfluidic technology allows for a controlled dose and mix of liquids. In Figure 4 this concept enables multiple types of colognes to be produced within a vessel by adjusting the concentration of the aromatic compound.

[058] By way of example, the following non-limiting components may be introduced. Typically, their composition includes the following weight proportions of aromatic compounds: After shave: 1 -3% aromatic compounds Eau de Cologne: 2-6% perfume concentrate aromatic compounds. Eau de Toilette: 5-15% aromatic compounds Eau de Parfum: 10-20% aromatic compounds. Perfume extract: 15- 40% aromatic compounds.

[059] Hence in Figure 4, there is shown in schematic side view a matrix 112, which is in the form of an injection-moulded polycarbonate made in two parts, which are brought into abutment to form the tubes between them. IT will be appreciated that instead of a polycarbonate, a suitable alternative may be used, without departing from the scope of the invention. The composite sheet is seated in a slot formed in a corner of a reservoir housing 1 14. The reservoir (in this non- limiting example) is acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). The matrix sheet is printed with capillaries described below included.

[060] In this embodiment, a first capillary 120 draws aromatic compounds emanating from an Eau de Cologne formulation stored in a first chamber 1 16A in the housing. A second capillary 121 draws a dispersant from a second chamber 1 16B in the housing. The two capillaries meet at a confluence 122, where the fluids intermingle and proceed further along shared capillary 124. Capillary 124 progresses to a series of loop-backs 126, which define a mixing channel, and terminates at distal end 128 in a nozzle 130, connected to an interdigital transducer (IDT) 132. Fluid contacting the elements of the IDT are energised to evaporate, enhancing the humidifying effect or fragrance intensity.

[061 ] Housing 1 14 additionally contains a battery and electronic circuitry (not shown) regulating operation of IDT 132 and arrays of light emitting diodes (LEDs) 134 operatively directed to cast light of selected colours into the glass matrix and interact with the colours of the separate liquids pre-mixing and after meeting at confluence 122.

[062] In an embodiment of the kind illustrated in Figure 4, a microfluidic pump is housed in housing 1 14, providing an enhanced driving force to urge dispersant from chamber 1 16B upward to the discharge nozzle. It is sourced with power from the same battery and be regulated via the same circuity described in relation to the LED arrays. The circuitry is preferably arranged on the slide in a decorative manner to enhance the visual appeal of the end product of the invention.

[063] Instead of a pump, an ultrasonic vibrator may be installed on a chip included in the circuitry. When operated at a frequency selected to energise the liquid in the capillaries, the liquid is atomised into the space.

[064] In further embodiments, the matrix may be of a blocky shape instead of a slab, or be in the form of a prism. In other embodiments, the matrix may be dispensed with, and the capillary or capillaries may be supported on an open structure such as a frame. For example, the frame may be of metal wire or of metal or plastics tubing. The capillaries may be attached to the tubing by winding it about an element thereof, or may be attached by separately provided attachment means, such as a clip or binding.

[065] Figure 5 illustrates, in a cross-section side view (a), and front views (b) and (c) of an embodiment in which a quartz slide 142 is mounted to a coloured fragrance reservoir 140 through a communicating slot 144. As shown in enlarged cross section in (a), the slide is made of a two opposing slabs 142a and 142b, adhesively bonded together, each having within it a capillaries channel, 144a, 144b respectively. Slab 142a is shaped on the major surface that faces slab 142b to provide an array of generally horizontal nanopillars 146, extending across a nano- sized gap 148 between the respective capillary channels 144a and 144b in a sandwich-like structure. The inner major surface of slab 142a is thus shaped to define pillars 146 with spaces 150 between them. The spaces are sized so as to draw liquid into them by capillary action from the capillary channels 144a,b. The spaces open to the peripheral lateral edges 152a, 152b of gap 148. The slabs may be made of any suitable material, for example a plastics substance or a crystal, a suitable example being lithium niobate. The recess 148 is sufficiently slim to allow liquid to rise into it by capillary action.

[066] The slabs are adhesively bonded together to form a coherent, self- supporting assembly. In Figure 5(b), the pillars (represented by the white squares) and spaces (shown as dark lines) are shown to have been formed in a square grid pattern of generally horizontal nanopillars. The pattern is provides passages for liquid communication with the exterior at lateral edges 152a,b. . When the coloured liquid from reservoir 140 rises to the level of a passage 150 between pillars, it diffuses outwardly to evaporate. This is illustrated by the thickened lines representing rising liquid 154 in Figure 5(c).

[067] In a further embodiment, where a single slab is used, the liquid evaporates from the face of the open slab at any point on its journey upwards through the capillaries originating at the reservoir. This embodiment is presented in Figure 6, where like numbering to Figure 5 is employed. In this embodiment, a quartz crystal slab 142 is provided with a channel of capillaries 144. A major surface of the slab is coated by vapour deposition with a layer of platinum, using known deposition methods. Instead of platinum, any other suitable metal may be used that bonds with the substrate to which it is deposited. A portion of the platinum layer is etched away in a pattern, such as the square grid pattern of Figure 5, leaving platinum caps 156. The underlying crystal around caps 156 is also etched away in the same pattern, to the depth at which the capillaries are reached, leaving discrete pillars of crystal 146 with platinum caps 156, between which are created fluid communication passages 150, leading from the capillaries to atmosphere through the partially etched away major surface of the original slab.

[068] Referring to Figure 7, a diffuser 160 is shown in exploded view. An evaporation sheet 162 of quartz has a central arterial passage 164 from which extend a plurality of evaporation capillary tubes 166, shown here in a featherlike pattern, each leading to an evaporation site 168 located at the edge of the quartz sheet.

[069] The sheet 162 tapers into a neck portion 170, through which arterial passage 164 passes. The neck is inserted in use in the direction of arrow A into a slot 172 in a twist-on/twist-off cap 174 that is screwed on to the screw-threaded neck 176 of a reservoir bottle 178.

[070] In an alternative embodiment, platinum is deposited on to a quartz slide in a layer about 100 microns in thickness, using a vapour deposition process well known in the art of vapour deposition. The platinum is then etched away to leave pillars about 32 microns in diameter, spaced apart to leave a similar distance between the closest points of adjacent pillars. The spacing is sufficient to generate capillary channels between the pillars, through which a fragrance may be diffused from a reservoir of the kind shown in the drawings from previous embodiments into the ambient atmosphere. It will be appreciated that capillary channels may be formed in various known ways in or on a substrate. The methods mentioned herein should not be construed as limiting in respect of the claims to follow.

[071 ] These embodiments illustrate some examples of the method, kit and apparatus of the invention providing for the utilisation of microfluidics in design of a visual decoration and the possibility of combining the visual with the sensual olfactory senses. With the insight gained from this disclosure, the person skilled in the art is well placed to discern further embodiments by means of which to put the claimed invention into practice.