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Smell and Taste-Based Interactions Enabled Through Advances in Digital Technology

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Innovations around smell and taste interfaces are quickly emerging in the literature and practice, they include fully controllable sensory delivery mechanisms, wearable devices that allow portable applications, and novel systems that create digital smell and taste experiences. However, with the rapid development of such innovations, researchers and practitioners might forget current challenges in their design and evaluation, overlooking psychological understanding of human olfactory and gustatory perception. In this chapter, we review current advancements around smell and taste interfaces through a human-computer interaction lens. For each technology reviewed, we describe the type of stimulation (chemical, electrical, and thermal), the delivery mechanisms proposed as well as their key features and weaknesses. We then describe two interaction cases in detail for each of the two senses. Interaction case 1 focuses on the sense of smell and is based on the use of pressurized air smell delivery mechanisms. Interaction case 2 focuses on the sense of taste and is based on using acoustic levitation as taste delivery mechanisms. Both these case examples illustrate the potential for controlling different parameters, its novelty and capabilities, but also challenges. For each interaction case, we describe the evolution of different interfaces/devices that lead into a reflection on future directions of smell and taste stimulation aiming to provide researchers and practitioners with relevant parameters to design future olfactory and gustatory, and ultimately multisensory interfaces and experiences.


  • Taste
  • Smell
  • Human-computer interaction
  • Olfactory interfaces
  • Gustatory interfaces
  • Multisensory experiences
  • Novel interaction modalities

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This work was supported by the UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship grant (Reference: MR/V025511/1); the Leverhulme Trust (Research Project Grant RPG-2018-068); and is based on funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the grant agreement No 638605 and No 737576.

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Correspondence to Marianna Obrist .

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© 2023 Springer Nature Switzerland AG

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Cornelio, P., Vi, C.T., Brianza, G., Maggioni, E., Obrist, M. (2023). Smell and Taste-Based Interactions Enabled Through Advances in Digital Technology. In: Vanderdonckt, J., Palanque, P., Winckler, M. (eds) Handbook of Human Computer Interaction. Springer, Cham.

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  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-27648-9

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-27648-9

  • eBook Packages: Springer Reference Computer SciencesReference Module Computer Science and Engineering