Bristol University scientists have developed a bubble technology that could serve as an ambient notification system of sorts. It's called The SensaBubble.
The technology is simple: a machine produces bubbles of varying sizes which can display projected images and release extremely-scented plumes upon bursting. Bristol's video demonstration described The SensaBubble as a "chrono-sensory mid-air display system".
Professor Sriram Subramanian from the computer science department at Bristol told the BBC that such a system would allow a bakery chain to release bubbles containing food scents. These bubbles would drift out and burst and maybe attract people into the bakery.
Another concept uses notifications. Imagine a bubble popping up every hour, and as it wafts around your office, it displays the number of emails in your inbox. You could even tie a different scent to each category, so a smell could tell you if a loved one has emailed.
Because The SensaBubble is capable of tracking and projecting brief messages on bubbles with included scents, application possibilities are potentially endless: "We are interested in creating new and exciting experiences for people," Subramanian said.
Bristol University will unveil The SensaBubble at the CHI2014 conference in Toronoto. More information about the technology, as well as the Bristol team's work, is available on the BristollG YouTube channel.