Sensing the future of HCI: Touch, taste, and smell user interfaces

Marianna Obrist, C Velasco, C Vi, N Ranasinghe, A Israr, A Cheok, C Spence, P Gopalakrishnakone
in Interactions, Journal article


Touch, taste, and smell are an underexplored design space in the context of interactive experiences. By understanding the ways in which our senses process information and how they relate to one another, it will be possible to create richer experiences for humantechnology interactions. We need to design interfaces that allow the stimulation of unexplored sensory inputs as well as interfaces that take into account the relationships between the senses. Digital Taste Interface is a method for simulating the sensation of taste by actuating the human tongue through electrical and thermal stimulation. AromaShooter is a smell-delivery device, contains six scent cartridges and connects to a computer via USB. Taste+ is an interface where the user can augment the flavors of food and beverages by applying weak and controlled electrical pulses on their tongue using electronically enhanced everyday utensils such as spoons and beverage bottles. It is crucial to determine the meaningful design space for multisensory interactive experiences. At the same time, it is also key to understand the unique properties of each sensory modality before designing for their sensory integration in the design of interactive systems.