19 November 2017

Smellable VR

Modern virtual reality (VR) is a treat for the senses. Well, two of them at least. Up to now, sight and sound have been the staple of VR environments. Haptic feedback is starting to allow for basic touch, but the next radical evolution in VR could actually come via your nose (and/or mouth).  VR headsets are becoming household items, whether they're run by phones or gaming systems. And as this medium becomes increasingly common, demands for more immersive experiences are sure to follow. The Vocktail was developed by researchers at the National University of Singapore. The Vocktail fools the senses, through the use of light, smell and virtualized taste, to make whatever is in the glass (even tap water) taste like anything.

Gastronomical fantasies are even finding their way into adult entertainment. Internet streaming site Camsoda developed a VR scent machine it's calling the OhRoma. This $200 device augments the VR camgirl experience with 30 different scents. When VR experiences are enhanced with scents and tastes, their therapeutic effects can be multiplied. For example, the smell of gunpowder might be used in treating certain cases of PTSD, or lavender, to create a calming effect. In the future, Li ventures, we could use VR to trick our brains into eating healthier, both for ourselves and the planet. To make the experience more lifelike, researchers are also working on a sensor that actively detects the scents in the model's room and adjusts the OhRoma's output to match.

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