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

Curation, Artwork, Teaching & Educational Resources

Publications on My Topic

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

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

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).

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 Publications

[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, 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, Paper, Research, Virtual Reality

Academic Service

Program Committee: CHI Late-Breaking Work Associate Chair ('21-'20); TEI Work In Progress Associate Chair ('22-'21).

Conference Chairing: Augmented Humans Social Media Chair ('21); UIST Video Chair ('19).

Session Chairing: UIST '21 ("Illustration and Information Management"); ECRO '21 ("Chemosenses beyond sciences").

Peer Reviewing:
CHI - Papers ('22-'19), Late-Breaking Works ('21-'20), Interactivity ('21). 2 special recognitions for outstanding paper reviews.
UIST - Papers ('21-'19), Posters ('18). 2 special recognitions for outstanding paper reviews.
DIS - Pictorials & Papers ('21), Provocations & WIP ('19).
IEEE VR - Papers ('22, 20).
IEEE WHC - Conference Technical Papers ('21).
Augmented Humans - Papers ('19).
Frontiers in VR - Papers ('20).
IUI - Demos & Posters ('21-'20).
SIGGRAPH Asia - Extended Reality ('21), Emerging Technologies ('21).
TEI - Work In Progress ('22-'21).
VRST - Posters and Demos ('20).

Organized Academic Workshops & Symposia

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

3-day CHI workshop co-organized with Pedro Lopes, Judith Amores, Emanuela Maggioni, Haruka Matsukura, Marianna Obrist, Roshan Lalintha Peiris, and Nimesha Ranasinghe.

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)

1-day symposium for CHI 2021 papers on smell, taste, and temperature. Co-organized with Pedro Lopes.

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.

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.

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


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

SOPHIE scratch-and-sniff card

The fan-made SOPHIE scratch-and-sniff tribute card was originally produced in commemoration for trans music pioneer Sophie Xeon in February 2021. The card was raffled at SOPHIEfest in support of THORN, For the Gworls, and Gendered Intelligence. The card features 9 scents accompanying the HEAV3N WITHOUT U performance video as well as 9 SOPHIE tracks.

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

Teaching & Educational 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.

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