This Contraption Clears The Way For Incredible New Uses Of Soap Bubbles In Everyday Life

Interacting with a SensaBubble. Image courtesy of Bristol Interaction and Graphics group, University of Bristol, copyright © 2014

Amazing soap bubbles, which can have images projected onto them or release a scent when burst, will be unveiled at an international computer conference later this month.

The research paper, to be presented at one of the world’s most important conferences on human-computer interfaces, ACM CHI, could be used in areas such as gaming, advertising or education and encourage a new way of thinking about multi-sensory technologies.

SensaBubble, led by Professor Sriram Subramanian from the University of Bristol’s Department of Computer Science, is a chrono-sensory mid-air display system which generates scented bubbles to deliver information to people using different senses.

The bubble generator. Credit: Image courtesy of Bristol Interaction and Graphics group, University of Bristol, copyright © 2014

The bubble-based technology creates bubbles with a specified size and frequency, fills them with an optionally scented opaque fog, controls their route, tracks their location and projects an image onto them.

SensaBubble uses the concept of chrono-sensory experiences where layers of information are presented via different senses for variable length of times, each attracting different types of interest from the user.

Firstly, a visual display projected onto the bubble which only lasts until it bursts. Secondly, a scent released upon the bursting of the bubble slowly disperses and leaves a longer-lasting noticeable trace.

Sriram Subramanian, Professor of Human-Computer Interaction, said: “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.”

He says the applications for SensaBubble are many.

A SensaBubble clock could 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.

A paper, SensaBubble: a chrono-sensory mid-air display of sight and smell, will be delivered at the ACM CHI 2014 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, in Toronto, Canada. this month.

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