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Bristolian bubble-tech floats in from the future

A new type of bubble technology has emerged from Bristol University, one with a potentially profitable future, according to the scientists behind it.

Described as a "chrono-sensory mid-air display system", bubbles of varying sizes can be created and tracked so that images can be projected onto them. When the bubbles burst they release a specially designed scent.

The team who designed it, lead by Professor Sriram Subramanian of the computer science department, aims to create different and interesting kinds of display surfaces:

"We are interested in creating new and exciting experiences for people. Think about your laptop or phone - you can't put your finger through the screen," he told the BBC.

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Shopping centres have already been drawn to the idea, as the professor imagines a future where bakeries will release bubbles scented like sausage rolls. An educational, non-pastry based use has also been earmarked, however:

"There's an iPhone game which involves bursting bubbles to learn maths - we could project numbers onto different bubbles, so the children would have to burst the right bubble."

Other ideas include bubbles that float around displaying notifications such as the amount of unread emails a person has. A scent could be also coded to each bubble to specify whom the emails are from; flowers for the family, probably something less sweet for the boss.

The SensaBubble – the commercial name for the tech – will be announced official in Toronto at an interface conference. Professor Subramanian compares the tech to a visit to Disneyland: full of so much interaction and fun that you barely notice the technology behind it.