Monday, July 18, 2011 Covers UCSD Odor-Generating TV Research

A new story looks at the emerging trend of "immersive cinema." In the future, it won't be enough for images to pop out into the theater with you a la Avatar, movie and TV watchers will be able to smell, taste and feel what's on screen.

The article features our very own Sungho Jin, professor in the departments of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and NanoEngineering, and his research on odor-generating devices for television, movies and even cell phones.
Caption: Professor Sungho Jin and grad students Calvin Gardner (seated, right of Sungho) and Hyunsu Kim (left of Sungho) measure the electrical properties of heater wire actuators while detecting the odor released.

Here's what had to say about Jin's research:

University of California at San Diego researcher Sungho Jin takes a more high-tech approach to scent-driven storytelling with a home entertainment prototype that could one day overpower the fake buttery smell of microwave popcorn whipped up by pajama-clad movie watchers.

In partnership with Samsung’s home entertainment division, Jin and his team devised an aroma-release prototype that relies on electrical filaments to vaporize up to 10,000 scented fluids contained in tiny rubber tubes. In a phone interview, Jin, who spent two years developing the matrix-based control technology, offered an example of how his device might work.

“If you’ve got a scene coming up where the character eats pizza, maybe five seconds earlier — because it takes time for the odor to travel to the viewer –the computer program essentially says, ‘OK, hit it!’ and that particular odor will be released,” Jin said.

Engineering in Fashion for Opening Day at the Races

With the help of inspiring mentors and a six-week engineering workshop at the UCSD division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), about two dozen girls from across San Diego are making race-inspired hats driven by gears and electronics for Opening Day at the Del Mar Race Track.

“The whole experience is designed to expose the girls to what an engineer does, in a fun and engaging way,” said Saura Naderi, director of Calit2’s MyLab @ Variability Expedition. Naderi, who earned a bachelor’s in engineering physics from UC San Diego in 2007, was inspired to create a workshop for girls to make their own mechanized hats after debuting one of her own creations at Opening Day last year.

The MyLab program at Calit2 launched in 2009 with the goal of bringing hands-on science and engineering experiences to the local community through outreach projects that typically blend art and technology. Ranging in age from 7 to 16, the girls are participating in the Girl’s Hat Day program, which is funded by a $15,000 grant from ViaSat (a producer of satellite and other digital communications). The girls are mentored by a dozen mostly women engineers from UCSD, ViaSat, Qualcomm and SPAWAR.

Saura Naderi, director of MyLab @ Variability Expedition's outreach program, discusses Girl's Hat Day project.

Naderi collaborated with Town and Country Village Learning Center to recruit many of the girls for the program, which will teach them the basics of electrical, computer, and mechanical engineering.

This year, 40,000 race fans are expected to attend Opening Day at Del Mar. Spectators have sported creative, glamorous hats since the race’s first Opening Day in 1937, and the more fashion-minded spectators participate in the ‘One and Only Truly Fabulous Hats Contest’. The Girl’s Hat Day girls, wearing matching blue dresses, will enter their hats in the ‘Funniest or Most Outrageous’ category.