Publications on My Topic, Co-authored Publications, Academic Service, Academic Workshops & Symposia

Curation, Art & Design, Teaching & Educational Resources

First Author

[C.7] Taste Retargeting via Chemical Taste Modulators

Jas Brooks, Noor Amin, Pedro Lopes, In Proc. UIST’23 (full paper)
🏵️ UIST Jury’s Honorable Mention for Best Demo

Taste retargeting selectively changes taste perception using taste modulators, chemicals that temporarily and selectively alter the response of taste receptors to subsequent foods and beverages. As our technique can be delivered as droplets before eating or drinking, taste retargeting is the first interactive method to selectively alter the basic tastes of real foods without obstructing eating or impacting the food's consistency. This technique allows a single food prop to taste like several virtual foods, which we validated in our second study. For example, a pickled blackberry prop can be retargeted to a lemon (decreasing sweetness with lactisole), then a strawberry (transforming sour to sweet with miraculin), and more.

UIST'23 paper | Video | Hardware schematics

Categories: First-author, Gustatory, Paper, Research, Topic-related

[C.6] Smell & Paste: Low-Fidelity Prototyping for Olfactory Experiences

Jas Brooks, Pedro Lopes, In Proc. CHI’23 (full paper)
🏵️ Finalist for 2024 Sadakichi Award (Art and Olfaction)

Low-fidelity prototyping is foundational to HCI. So, how do experts prototype olfactory experiences? We interviewed eight experts and found that they do not because no process supports this. Thus, we engineered Smell & Paste, a low-fidelity prototyping toolkit. Designers assemble olfactory proofs-of-concept by pasting scratch-and-sniff stickers onto a paper tape. Then, they test the interaction by advancing the tape in our 3D-printed (or cardboard) cassette, which releases the smells. Our toolkit uses commodity materials; keeps iterations quick, approachable, and cheap; and circumvents electronics, programming, and chemical handling. The toolkit was approachable to people of any technical background, and novices and experts appropriated and extended it. Novices produced prototypes quickly, and experts were excited about the kit's technical affordances and integrating it into their practice.

CHI'23 paper | Video | Kit Files

Categories: First-author, Olfactory, Paper, Research, Topic-related

A user wears two silicone patches that circulate haptics: one on their face under a VR headset and the second on their left forearm. Behind them are illustrations of scenes that chemical haptics contribute to: the tingling from electric sparks (via sanshool), the numbing of a glitching arm interface (lidocaine), the cold from the winter air (menthol), and the heat from an overheating reactor (capsaicin).

[C.5] Chemical Haptics: Rendering Haptic Sensations via Topical Stimulants

Jasmine Lu, Ziwei Liu, Jas Brooks, Pedro Lopes, In Proc. UIST’21 (full paper)

We propose a new class of haptic devices that provide haptic sensations by delivering liquid-stimulants to the user’s skin; we call this chemical haptics. Upon absorbing these stimulants, receptors in the user’s skin are chemically triggered, rendering distinct haptic sensations. We identified five chemicals that can render lasting haptic sensations: tingling (sanshool), numbing (lidocaine), stinging (cinnamaldehyde), warming (capsaicin), and cooling (menthol). To enable the application of our novel approach in a variety of settings (such as VR), we engineered a self-contained wearable that can be worn anywhere on the user’s skin (e.g., face, arms, legs).

UIST'21 paper | Video | Talk | Hardware schematics

Categories: Haptics, Paper, Research, Topic-related

[C.4] Stereo-Smell via Electrical Trigeminal Stimulation

Jas Brooks, Shan-Yuan Teng, Jingxuan Wen, Romain Nith, Jun Nishida, Pedro Lopes, In Proc. CHI’21 (full paper)
🏵️ Fast Company Innovation by Design Honorable Mention in Experimental Design

We propose a novel type of olfactory device that creates a stereo-smell experience, i.e., directional information about the location of an odor, by rendering the readings of external odor sensors as trigeminal sensations using electrical stimulation of the user’s nasal septum. The key is that the sensations from the trigeminal nerve, which arise from nerve-endings in the nose, are perceptually fused with those of the olfactory bulb (the brain region that senses smells). To realize this, we engineered a self-contained device that users wear across their nasal septum. Our device enables expressive trigeminal sensations and could function as an assistive device for people with anosmia, who are unable to smell.

CHI'21 paper | Video | Talk | Hardware schematics

Categories: First-author, Olfactory, Paper, Research, Topic-related, Trigeminal

Virtual reality user experiencing the warmth of a desert or the chill of a mountain while using the thermal olfactory display.

[C.1] Trigeminal-Based Temperature Illusions

Jas Brooks, Steven Nagels, Pedro Lopes, In Proc. CHI’20 (full paper)
🏆 CHI best paper award (top 1%)

We explore a temperature illusion that uses low-powered electronics and enables the miniaturization of simple warm and cool sensations. Our illusion relies on the properties of certain scents, such as the coolness of mint or hotness of peppers. These odors trigger not only the olfactory bulb, but also the nose’s trigeminal nerve, which has receptors that respond to both temperature and chemicals. To exploit this, we engineered a wearable device that emits up to three custom-made “thermal” scents directly to the user’s nose. Breathing in these scents causes the user to feel warmer or cooler.

CHI'20 paper | Video | GitHub Repo

Categories: First-author, Paper, Research, Topic-related, Trigeminal

Co Authored

[C.8] ThermalGrasp: Enabling Thermal Feedback even while Grasping and Walking

Alex Mazursky, Jas Brooks, Beza Desta, Pedro Lopes. In Proc. IEEE VR’24 (full paper)

Most thermal interfaces attach Peltier elements and their required cooling systems (heatsinks and fans) directly to the palm or sole, preventing users from grasping or walking. To solve this problem, we present ThermalGrasp, an engineering approach for wearable thermal interfaces that enables users to grab and walk on real objects with minimal obstruction. Our approach moves the thermal device and cooling unit to areas not used in grasping or walking (e.g., dorsal hand/foot). We then use thin, compliant materials to conduct heat to/from the palm or sole. Unlike traditional Peltiers with heatsinks, our thin materials enable grasping and walking on real objects while enjoying thermal feedback.

Categories: Co-author, Haptics, Other, Paper, Research, Virtual Reality

[C.3] Increasing Electrical Muscle Stimulation’s Dexterity by means of Back of the Hand Actuation

Akifumi Takahashi, Jas Brooks, Hiroyuki Kajimoto, and Pedro Lopes, In Proc. CHI’21 (full paper)
🏆 CHI best paper award (top 1%)

We improved the dexterity of the finger flexion produced by interactive devices based on electrical muscle stimulation (EMS). The key to achieve it is that we discovered a new electrode layout in the back of the hand. Instead of the existing EMS electrode placement, which flexes the fingers via the flexor muscles in the forearm, we stimulate the interossei/lumbricals muscles in the palm. Our technique allows EMS to achieve greater dexterity around the metacarpophalangeal joints (MCP), which we demonstrate in a series of applications, such as playing individual piano notes, doing a a two-stroke drum roll or barred guitar frets. These examples were previously impossible with existing EMS electrode layouts.

CHI'21 paper | Video | Talk

Categories: Co-author, Haptics, Other, Paper, Research

[C.2] Elevate: A Walkable Pin-Array for Large Shape-Changing Terrains

Seungwoo Je, Hyunseung Lim, Kongpyung Moon, Shan-Yuan Teng, Jas Brooks, Pedro Lopes, and Andrea Bianchi, In Proc. CHI'21 (full paper)

Existing shape-changing floors are limited by their tabletop scale or the coarse resolution of the terrains they can display due to the limited number of actuators and low vertical resolution. To tackle this, we engineered Elevate, a dynamic and walkable pin-array floor on which users can experience not only large variations in shapes but also the details of the underlying terrain. Our system achieves this by packing 1200 pins arranged on a 1.80 x 0.60m platform, in which each pin can be actuated to one of ten height levels (resolution: 15mm/level). This work was a collaboration and was led by Andrea Bianchi, who runs the MAKinteract group at KAIST.

CHI'21 paper | Video | Talk

Categories: Co-author, Haptics, Other, Paper, Research, Virtual Reality

Academic Service

Program Committee: CHI Papers (2024); UIST Papers (2022, 24); DIS Papers (2023-24); TEI Pictorials (2024); MUM Papers (2023); CHI Late-Breaking Work (2020-23); TEI Work In Progress (2021-22).

Organizing Committee: UChicago Humanities UX (2022); SIGCHI Operations Committee (2021); AHs Social Media Chair (2021); UIST Video Chair (2019).

Session Chairing: CHI 2022 ("Mouth-based Interaction"), 2023 ("VR/AR/XR Play Experiences"); UIST 2023 ("Mind & Body"), 2021 ("Illustration & Information Management"); ECRO 2021 ("Chemosenses beyond sciences").

Peer Reviewing: I regularly review for conferences and journals (over 150 reviews since 2018). I received special recognition for outstanding reviews (formal distinction): three from ACM CHI, four from ACM UIST, one from IEEE WHC, and four from ACM DIS. I have reviewed for ACM CHI, ACM UIST, IEEE VR, IEEE WHC, ACM IMWUT, ACM CSCW, AHs, ACM DIS, Frontiers in VR, ACM IUI, SIGGRAPH Asia, ACM TEI, ACM VRST, ACM IMX, and IEEE Access.


“Third Wave or Winter? The Past and Future of Smell in HCI” Panel at CHI 2023

Panel discussion at ACM CHI 2023 amongst Jofish Kaye, Marianna Obrist, Judith Amores, and I. We responded to the following thought: Scent technology has evolved from its use in 1960s cinema to internet peripherals in the '90s and early 2000s. With recent progress in integrating smell into Human-Computer Interaction, questions arise whether a third wave is commencing and if this field will persist or decline. The panel additionally featured a scratch-and-sniff card, accompanying presentations, that I designed.

Categories: Panel

Smell, Taste, & Temperature Interfaces Workshop (STT23) at CHI 2023

Third iteration of STT as a 1-day workshop at ACM CHI 2023 focused on hands-on demonstrations and sharing of methods within the community. Co-organized with Alireza Bahremand (ASU), Pedro Lopes (UChicago), Christy Spackman (ASU), Judith Amores (Microsoft Research), Hsin-Ni Ho (Kyushu University), Masahiko Inami (University of Tokyo), Simon Niedenthal (Malmö University), Jessica Lai (ASU), Mason Manetta (ASU), and Lauryn Mannigel (ASU).

Categories: Workshop

Smell, Taste, & Temperature Interfaces Workshop (STT21) at CHI 2021

Second iteration of STT as a 3-day virtual workshop at ACM CHI 2021 focused on smell, taste, and temperature interfaces with invited artists. Co-organized with Pedro Lopes (UChicago), Judith Amores (MIT/Harvard), Emanuela Maggioni (UCL), Haruka Matsukura (Osaka University), Marianna Obrist (UCL), Roshan Lalintha Peiris (RIT), and Nimesha Ranasinghe (University of Maine).

Categories: Workshop

Ada Lovelace Week 2020

4-day symposium celebrating women and non-binary technologists from art, industry, and academia. Co-organized with Jasmine Lu, Yujie Tao, Dasha Shifrina, Zoe Liu, and Pedro Lopes.

Categories: Symposium

Smell, Taste, & Temperature Symposium (STT20)

First iteration of STT as a 1-day independent symposium showcasing CHI 2020 papers on smell, taste, and temperature interfaces. 255 people registered from over 33 countries across the world, with 152 people tuning in for the Smell Session, 93 for the Temperature Session, and 78 for the Taste Session. Co-organized with Pedro Lopes (UChicago).

Categories: Symposium


Twitch and Sniff Along Series

The “Twitch and Sniff Along” series spotlights video games that have incorporated scent as a modality. We’re presenting several historic games (and maybe new ones!) online and offer free mailed replicas of their scratch and sniff cards for educational purposes. The series has been recognized as a finalist for the 2022 Sadakichi Award for Experimental Work with Scent as part of the 8th Art and Olfaction Awards.

Categories: Curation, Olfactory

Scent in Cinema Series

Olfactory art, in particular scented cinema, has consistently been the brunt of dismissive humor. The “Scent in Cinema” series seeks to present works of scented cinema and provide critical discussions of this medium. The events include a virtual screening with mailed scratch and sniff cards followed by a moderated panel discussion with experts in the field. This event aims to (1) increase enthusiasm about the study and creation of olfactory arts, (2) cultivate a better sensory understanding of and critical engagement with smell, and (3) provide connections across several fields. The series has been recognized as a finalist for the 2022 Sadakichi Award for Experimental Work with Scent as part of the 8th Art and Olfaction Awards.

Categories: Curation, Olfactory

Commiserate 2020

Commiserate is an art initiative that explores new ways and meanings of feeling in contemporary media art. Commiserate hosts an annual art festival to reflect on how we live, create, and entertain as artists across social and geopolitical boundaries.

Categories: Curation


Scent direction for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)

Experience the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles like never before with a scent-sational viewing of their origin story. Umbrella Entertainment's special edition Blu-Ray release of the 1990 classic features scent direction by Tammy Burnstock and myself to accompany the Turtles' moments. Simply scratch the corresponding number on your scent card and join Raphael, Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Donatello on their journey to become the city's greatest mutant crimefighters. This interactive and unforgettable adventure takes you deep into the sewers of New York City.

Categories: Artwork, Olfactory

A scientist lifts a melon with both hands. Two other scientists rest their hands on the melon. All three wear nitrile gloves.

Perfect Melon

Jas Brooks, Li Yao, Gabby Luu

Perfect Melon is a “community-building” marketing campaign from the fictional Perfect Melon beverage corporation, presented as an interactive installation. The corporation’s intention is not to simply sell a soft drink, but to cultivate a consumer community entirely mediated by the corporation. The marketing campaign involves a VR flavor experience, in which attendees enter a pavilion above an infinite melon field and are tasked with finding the “perfect” melon. In VR, attendees assess melon freshness and flavor by slapping them, listening to their sounds, and tasting their unique flavors. Once they select a melon, their choice is folded into the formula for the corporation’s commercial beverage: a mixture of all users’ chosen melons.

Categories: Artwork, Gustatory, Olfactory, Virtual Reality

Leather Goddesses of Phobos: Definitive Sniff Edition

As a gift for the Leather Goddesses of Phobos panelists of the Twitch and Sniff Along series, I produced a new "Definitive Sniff Edition" of the text-based adventure. The limited-edition included the mysterious cut 8th odor, two new fragrances hinted at in the original game, a fresh smell puzzle, and a new scratch-and-sniff card based on older designs from the Leather Goddesses of Phobos Infocom Cabinet documents. Each panelist received a scratch-and-sniff card and a copy of the game's fan-made edition.

Categories: Artwork, Olfactory

Download my food

Download my food is a flavor project that features two components. The first is an offline installation featuring vegan jellies in a mini-fridge with a computer set on top of the fridge. In an attempt to use crowd-sourcing as a means of digitizing the flavor information, visitors try a jelly and fill out a form to collect information on the jelly's flavor: taste, smell, and texture. In turn, their submissions feed into a publicly accessible dataset. Online visitors access a webpage with a single link that reads "download my food," which triggers upon clicking the download of both the recipe as an XML file and the current dataset version.

Categories: Artwork, Gustatory

A field of particles snaking their way through space, viewed at a distance.

Sanitary selves

Sanitary selves is an olfactory VR installation celebrating and critiquing motion capture databases from the 2000s. Audiences engage with the project through immersive smell and sound and interact with the database in a virtual space. The project sought to question the sanitation and omission of identity markers in the databases, asking whether purely abstract movements can exist when steeped in culture.

Categories: Artwork, Olfactory, Virtual Reality

Big time sensibility

The installation explores the perceived synthetic emotions derived from traditional, domestic flower preservation. Flowers were cut from their stem, preserved in paraffin wax, and randomly reattached with botanist's tape. A thick paraffin blanket affixes the stems to the Pyrex dish. The flowers waft soft floral, powdery, and woody notes from the addition of Dior Homme.

Categories: Artwork, Olfactory


Marguerite, a young girl in high school, tapes her day at school as it tumbles into a progressively weirder world. Simulathon explores the notion of the simulacrum, particularly tackling the ambiguity and arbitrary nature of "humanity."

Categories: Artwork, Short Film


Timeless Smell Archive

The Timeless Smell Archive is a website where I post scans of smell and smell-related media, such as scratch-and-sniff cards or the AromaRama booklet.

Categories: Education, Olfactory, Resources

Preview slide of "Week 4: Immersion", featuring Valve's "The Lab", Char Davies's "Ephémère", "A Chair in the Room: Greenwater", and "Whisper Momoka".

ATS 4135: Virtual Reality

SAIC graduate-level studio course on Virtual Reality constructed to include a heavy-hand of theory focusing on interactive immersive media topics, in order to push it in the direction of a theory-in-practice structure. Through the course, students considered various artworks and projects realized in virtual reality, and how they inform public consciousness of spaces. Accompanying readings were but a sample of current endeavors meant to open up a common discourse on issues of immersion and human experience, such as metaphors of space, dynamic form in three dimensions, perception and representation, simulation, information, mapping, embodiment, and telepresence. (Syllabus and readings made publicly available.)

Categories: Education, Virtual Reality

Scratch and Sniff Book Open Database

This project aims to create a public database of scratch and sniff books. It’s meant to (1) provide information for researchers, authors, and parents interested in purchasing and analyzing existing books or producing their own work, as well as (2) take into consideration olfactory engagement for blind or visually impaired persons (BVIP) – much like tactile graphics, but for smell. This project was an awardee of the Institute for Art and Olfaction's Accelerator Initiative.

Categories: Education, Olfactory

Community-Based Olfactory Research Group (CBORG)

Ele Edreva, Jas Brooks

CBORG is a collaborative roving research team working to make sensory education and research more widely accessible and politically/artistically valuable to our communities in Chicago. Resting upon the belief that smell is a skill and way of knowing long devalued by systems of power, the group was co-started by researcher Eleonora Edreva and myself with the intention that everyone could use more practice learning through their noses.

Categories: Education, Gustatory, Olfactory