Apr 26, 2014 I Paul Seaburn

Machine Blows Multi-Sensory Bubble Blasts

Everyone knows the cheapest babysitter in the world is a jar of soapy water, a little plastic ring and a slight breeze. OK, it’s not exactly good parenting but blowing bubbles keeps most kids occupied for hours and leaves them generally cleaner than when they started. Can it work for adults? Apparently, but only with some additional multi-sensory technology.

Sriram Subramanian, Professor of Human-Computer Interaction at University of Bristol's Department of Computer Science has developed SensaBubble, a chrono-sensory mid-air display system that generates scented bubbles. The machine controls the size, frequency and direction of the bubbles, which it fills with an opaque and odorous fog. In addition, it can track a bubble’s location and project an image on it.

bubble man 570x320
He's about to get a SensaBubble blast

The scent inside the bubble is what makes the SensaBubble a useful tool, according to Professor Subramanian.

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.

Sounds like fun, Professor, but how will it pay the development bills?

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.

Professor Subramanian will be presenting a paper on the SensaBubble at the upcoming ACM CHI 2014 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Toronto, Canada.

Those attending with kids may want to check his hourly rates.


Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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