Researcher believes smell will eventually be a feature of VR headsets

By Cal Jeffrey ยท 8 replies
Nov 13, 2017
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  1. A researcher at Stanford University is preparing to publish a paper outlining a system that provides scents in virtual reality. This development would not mark the first time scent has been used in video games and other media.

    The Super NES game Earthbound in 1995 and the PC game Leisure Suit Larry: Love for Sail both included scratch-and-sniff cards to “experience” smells in the game. Later, Gran Turismo 2 and FIFA 2011 would release smellable disc labels. More recently, Ubisoft created the Nosulus Rift to be used while playing South Park: The Fractured But Whole to simulate the smell of farts but that is not being released commercially.

    As you can see by the lack of odorific games we have today, these ideas never took hold.

    The thought of incorporating smells into VR sounds just as gimmicky. Even though it would undoubtedly involve the use of a more sophisticated system than scratch-and-sniff, getting a whiff of burning rubber as you peel out in a VR game still seems just as trivial as it was in the '90s.

    However, lead researcher Benjy Li out of the Virtual Human Interaction Lab at Stanford tells Engadget that he sees it as more than just a gimmick used in games.

    “The thing about VR is its ability to allow the user to feel he/she 'is there,' a phenomenon we call ‘presence.’ We see greater influence of VR when users report higher levels of presence. I can't divulge too much details since the paper is under review, but we found that adding the two senses [scent and taste] into the experience has an effect on human satiation.”

    Li sees the device being used as a tool to treat various psychological conditions or to make certain unpalatable foods more appealing.

    “What if one day we are able to show you in VR, a piece of steak, with the smell and scent that goes along with it, and you cut it up and feel its tenderness, and you enjoy every bite of it?” he said. “But in real life, it's made of plant-based ingredients.”

    Inventions like the Vocktail show that his vision is indeed possible. However, I feel confident in saying that wearing a VR headset to dinner has even less chance of catching on than an electronic martini glass that shocks your taste buds.

    Image via Digital Trends

    Permalink to story.

  2. Vulcanproject

    Vulcanproject TS Guru Posts: 428   +466

    Real life knockout gas that puts you out when you lose
    Reehahs, mcborge and Cal Jeffrey like this.
  3. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 4,164   +2,637

    Just let them know they can call me. After a few bowls of my favorite chili I have a formula that will put them into a deep coma ..... very deep ......
    Cal Jeffrey likes this.
  4. mcborge

    mcborge TS Guru Posts: 469   +351

    Great so in the future when we say that a game stinks, we really will mean it.
    Cal Jeffrey likes this.
  5. Vulcanproject

    Vulcanproject TS Guru Posts: 428   +466

    Don't wear it playing online. All those hackers and online cheaters forcing the wiffiest noxious odours they can down your nasal passages to distract you. PUBG would be like playing in a sewage treatment facility right now.
  6. Kenrick

    Kenrick TS Evangelist Posts: 629   +403

    I smell dead rabbit
  7. UmbraEmsisoft

    UmbraEmsisoft TS Member Posts: 25   +9

    Feel like an hoax for me, how you will implement it? by putting dozen of odorant chemical capsules into the VR set? I don't believe it will be even feasible and economically worth the try. The only way to do it properly is by hacking your brain and we are not yet near Sword Art Online lol
  8. BabyFaceLee

    BabyFaceLee TS Booster Posts: 123   +42

    In 30 years we'll look back at these VR headsets and realise what a ridiculous, stupid invention they were. Enough already.
  9. UmbraEmsisoft

    UmbraEmsisoft TS Member Posts: 25   +9

    yes because we would plug a chip in our brain already :p

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