Smelling is believing as odour vision comes to VR headsets

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF

Most VR headsets and systems appeal to just two of our senses – sight and sound – but increasingly startups are trying to expand their range.

 

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Movie audiences and gamers may soon get to experience the scents of their favorite films and games sooner than they think. Via a press release Feelreal announced the pre-release of its Multi-Sensory VR Mask which includes, among other features, the ability to smell scents while viewing movies or playing games within a virtual reality headset.

 

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Feelreal’s Multi-Sensory VR Mask, which is the result of a kickstarter project from 2019, contains a scent generator that can hold and use up to nine aroma capsules within a replaceable scent cartridge. Multi-Sensory VR Mask users can choose from 255 different scents to add to their VR movie watching, game playing, or aromatherapy experiences. According to Feelreal’s website, among the many scents offered in its aroma collection are lavender, mint, burning rubber, and even gunpowder.

 

FeelReal | Kickstarter Launch Trailer from FEELREAL on Vimeo.

 

While the mask is designed primarily to be used with a VR headset, such as the Oculus Rift or the Samsung Gear VR headsets, its olfactory function can also be used on its own if users are more interested in its aromatherapy capabilities.

 

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In addition to the Multi-Sensory VR Mask’s odor feature, Feelreal also included haptics that simulate other sensory experiences such as the feeling of heat, wind, water, and impact – AKA vibration. Heat and wind are simulated by the use of micro-heaters and coolers. The feeling of water and impact are generated by an ultrasonic ionizing, or misting, system and force-feedback haptic motors, respectively.

The mask itself is designed to be attached to a VR headset using magnetic mounts and should be able to connect to a headset via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. In addition to the Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Rift headsets, Feelreal’s mask can also be used with Oculus Go, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR.

 

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Movies, 360 degrees or other supported videos, can be watched within the mask via its Feelreal player. Users can also view free VR experiences called Feelreal Dreams, which are supposed to feature the use of the mask’s sensory capabilities. Gamers can expect the mask to be able to support games such as Beat Saber, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR, and Death Horizon.

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