Virtual reality has the magical power to transport you, at least visually, to new worlds. Peter Sassman of HapticSol is hoping to add another sense to that, by allowing you to smell what’s going on in VR.
I ran into Peter at Midwest RepRap Fest and had to know what this thing around his neck was. As it turns out, this is a product he’s been working on, called Cilia, to allow you to smell stuff happening in virtual worlds.
The device uses an array of tiny bottles of oil. When each item is triggered in the game engine, a tiny fan blows over a wick, directing the smells toward your nose.
The concept is interesting, as the immersion you would get out of an accurate smell system could be surprisingly high. Right now, the device is limited on the amount of oils you can load in it, so there may be some creative mixing of odors necessary. Add this to some other haptic devices, such as weight simulation, and you’re starting to really get a more full picture!
Find out more about this device at Hapticsol.com