Blowing Bubbles Just Went High-Tech With Images And Scents
April 24, 2014

Blowing Bubbles Just Went High-Tech With Images And Scents

[ Watch the Video: SensaBubble - A Chrono-Sensory Mid-Air Display Of Sight And Smell ]

Lawrence LeBlond for - Your Universe Online

Surely everyone remembers blowing bubbles as a child, one of the simplest forms of pleasure for kids everywhere. Even today, the stressors of modern technology can seem so distant when in the presence of simple, spherical pockets of soapy air.

However, one group of scientists is taking simplicity out of the equation and adding technological flare to the bubble, creating a multi-sensory experience that will be unveiled at the ACM CHI 2014 international convention later this month, which runs from April 26 through May 1.

This multi-sensory technology, called SensaBubble, is being led by Professor Sriram Subramanian, of the University of Bristol’s Department of Computer Science. The team’s chrono-sensory mid-air display system can generate bubbles that deliver information to people using different senses.

The SensaBubble bubbles can have images projected onto them or release scents when they burst. This technology could be used in areas such as gaming or education and may encourage a new way of thinking about multi-sensory technologies.

According to the team, the technology creates bubbles with a specified size and frequency, fills them with an opaque optionally-scented fog, controls their route, tracks their location and projects images onto them.

The system uses the concept of chrono-sensory experiences where layers of information are presented via different senses over different lengths of time. Each bubble can be tailor-made to attract different types of interest from the user. A visual display, of course, will last only as long as the bubble remains intact. A scent is not released until the bubble pops, slowly dispersing fragrances into the air, leaving a longer-lasting impression.

"The human sense of smell is powerful, but there are few research systems that explore and examine ways to use it. We have taken the first steps to explore how smell can be used to enhance and last longer in a visual object such as a soap bubble,” Subramanian, Professor of Human-Computer Interaction in the University's Bristol Interaction and Graphics group, said in a statement.

"There are many areas in which bubble-based technology like SensaBubble could be applied, such as a SensaBubble clock that releases the number of scented bubbles corresponding to the hour or SensaBubble Maths, an educational game for children, which incorporates smell as feedback on their success," he explained.

As well, SensaBubble could offer advertisers a way of attracting interest, drawing the user’s attention to a specific brand or particular item.