Multisensory Experiences

Wednesday 25th November 2020

Abstract: Multisensory experiences, that is, experiences that involve more than one of our senses, are part of our everyday life. However, we often tend to take them for granted, at least when our different senses function normally (normal sight functioning) or are corrected-to-normal (using glasses). However, closer inspection to any, even the most mundane experiences, reveals the remarkable sensory world in which we live in. While we have built tools, experiences and computing systems that have played to the human advantages of hearing and sight (e.g., signage, modes of communication, visual and musical arts, theatre, cinema and media), we have long neglected the opportunities around touch, taste, or smell as interface/interaction modalities. Within this talk, I will share my vision for the future of computing/HCI and what role touch, taste, and smell can play in it.

Bio: Marianna Obrist is Professor of Multisensory Interfaces at UCL (University College London), Department of Computer Science. Her research ambition is to establish touch, taste, and smell as interaction modalities in human-computer interaction (HCI). Before joining UCL, Marianna was Professor of Multisensory Experiences at the School of Engineering and Informatics at the University of Sussex, where she established the Sussex Computer Human Interaction (SCHI ‘sky’) Lab. Her research is mainly supported through an ERC starting grant. Before Marianna moved to the UK with a Marie Curie Fellow at Newcastle University, she was Assistant Professor at the University of Salzburg, Austria. 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 in the People’s Republic of China. She is co-founder of OWidgets LTD, a University start-up that is enabling the design of novel olfactory experiences. She is a Visiting Professor at the Burberry Material Futures Research Group at RCA London and was a Visiting Professor at the HCI Engineering Group at MIT CSAIL in summer 2019. Most recently, she was selected Deputy Director (Digital Health) for the UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering. For more details see: