UCLIC Research Seminar Series

UCLIC Research Seminar 3rd of March: Marianna Obrist (UCLIC). A ‘Flavour’ of Things to Come: Feeling Human in a Digital World
Location: On Zoom


UCLIC Research Seminar 3rd of March: Marianna Obrist (UCLIC). A ‘Flavour’ of Things to Come: Feeling Human in a Digital World


Nature has provided us with many senses for perceiving and interacting with the world around us. The multisensory world we live in is increasingly transformed through technological advances like novel multisensory devices and interfaces. Such multisensory technologies not only stimulate our eyes (think of screens) and ears (and audio systems), but also consider how and what we touch, smell and taste. What became very apparent with COVID-19 is that smell/taste disturbance is a very common symptom in two thirds of affected individuals. Experiencing sensory dysfunctions (e.g., smell loss), even if only temporary, can have negative effects on a person's health and wellbeing. Beyond those sensory dysfunctions, it also became clear that the way we interact with technology in our everyday work and life activities is very limited (e.g. think remote meetings). Multisensory interfaces can enrich our experiences. Within this talk, I will share a glimpse of my research investigating and designing multisensory experiences and provide a flavour of things to come.



Marianna Obrist is Professor of Multisensory Interfaces at UCL (University College London), Department of Computer Science and Deputy Director (Digital Health) for the UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering. Her research ambition is to establish touch, taste, and smell as interaction modalities in human-computer interaction (HCI), spanning a range of application scenarios. Before joining UCL, Marianna was Professor of Multisensory Experiences at the School of Engineering and Informatics at the University of Sussex, and Marie Curie Fellow at Newcastle University. Marianna is an inaugural member for the ACM Future of Computing Academy and was selected Young Scientist 2017 and 2018 to attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) in the People's Republic of China. She is co-founder of OWidgets LTD, a University spin-out that is enabling the design of novel olfactory experiences. The company's smell delivery technology was exhibited twice at the WEF in Davos, 2019 and 2020. She is a Visiting Professor at the Material Science Research Centre at the Royal College of Art in London and was a Visiting Professor at the HCI Engineering Group at MIT CSAIL in summer 2019. Most recently, she published a book on 'Multisensory Experiences: where the senses meet technology'. More information can be found here: https://multi-sensory.info/