Electronic Discovery

Floating Email Bubbles: A Recipe For Disaster?

Imagine an email that could float up to you, burst, and leave behind a lingering smell. Sound inconceivable? You wouldn’t normally put smell and alerts together but now there is a way for that to happen. Scientists at Bristol University have developed a new device called SensaBubble which delivers email notifications, adverts and other information through scented bubbles.

The scientists behind SensaBubble at Bristol University have described it as a:

“Multi-sensory technology that creates soap bubbles, which can have images projected onto them or when the bubbles are burst release a scent.”

So imagine you are busy working away in your office. A bubble could float to where you are (or around the office) showing the number of unread emails you have in your inbox. As you can encode each category of email with a different scent, from the smell you will be able to vaguely tell apart the emails you’ve had from family as opposed to work. So a particularly stinky smell will let you know it’s from that person in accounts you've been trying to avoid.

Maybe it’s just me, but this could become really fun. If you are already having a horrendous day – maybe a sweet scent from a loving family member will cheer you up? On the other hand, your sheer annoyance at the world could have you furiously assigning stinky scents to everyone on your list…

For Professor Sriram Subramanian, the lead behind the project, the idea is to have fun with this technology. It is designed to be full of interaction so that you barely notice the technology behind it. Subramanian believes this technology will be useful in sectors such as advertising and education. He envisions projecting numbers into different bubbles, so the children would have to burst the right bubble. There is potential in advertising too; a soap bubble reflecting an advertisement for a new perfume would leave behind its fragrance.

I think advertisers will probably be really keen on this idea, but whether it stands to work in other sectors is doubtful. Most of us are used to checking emails on our phones or laptops and I’m not sure cleaning up a gooey mess left behind by a bubble will make people happy. On the other hand, receiving cryptic messages through these bubbles will be super cool.


Ayesha Salim is E-Content Writer at IDG Connect


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Ayesha Salim

Ayesha Salim is Staff Writer at IDG Connect

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