Ever since it’s first prototypes we have been fascinated about Virtual Reality’s possibilities. And the goal is very clear, total immersion.
But was does immersion mean? Well it’s very simple… We want to literally feel like we are inside a game or that we are in a different place.
To complete achieve this means having all of our senses stimulated and tricked by VR… Not just our sight. Therefore different companies are already looking to simulate temperature and scents!
If it sounds strange, thats only because it is…
Believe or not there is already a handful of companies working on VR headsets or accessories to headsets that provide scents.
It goes from the shameless CamSoda OhRoma, which is an attachment to SmartPhone VR platforms, and it works by letting you smell porn.
Yup, there is a company making sure you can smell whatever the porn stars want you to smell…
FeelReal VR not only reproduces scents, but it also reproduces some climate conditions, like fog, heat or wind!
Pretty cool right?
VR Scents And Immersiveness
So how much does having VR Scents add to the whole experience? Would it make them better or not? There is a lot to be considered when answering this questions.
But like my debate teacher always said… No one cares about your opinion we care about facts! Thankfully a Phd. researcher at Stanford University is studying the impact of simulated food on people. His name is Banjamin Li, and his test is one i would love to be a part of. Basically he invites people to eat donuts, yup just like that.
The catch is that some of the participants go through a VR simulation before being offered the donut, within it they can see a donut, smell it and are given a donut like object to hold.
The idea is to see whether or not, having this kind of immersive simulation will influence the appetite of the person.
Li is yet to reveal a conclusion to his study, and can’t affirm anything to be proven. However he does say that most people who are exposed to the simulation almost immediately start craving donuts.
Maybe tricking our brains is not so hard after all.
VR Scents in the Future
So what can we make with VR Scents? Benjamin Li says we might be able to show people what it felt like to eat something that doesn’t exist anymore.
Imagine that deer hunting became banned, instead of doing something illegal we could just strap a headset on, receive images and scents of game meat and then trick our brains into thinking we are eating deer instead of beef.
Gaming and Virtual Tourism are likely where VR Scents will shine the most. Image playing a horror game and actually smelling the “Old House” smell…
Think about running through Skyrim, feeling a chilly winter breeze in your cheeks and the smell of the plants and nature around you.
Or think about virtually traveling through Italy and feeling the scents of pizza, cheeses and maybe even wine as you walk around.
All we’ll need is a VR treadmill to go with it.
Image Credit Dennis Wong