Scent feedback is a still-rare component of a virtual reality interface. A strong form of interactivity in an immersive environment, it takes the form of scents or the illusion of scents to reinforce the virtual experience.
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The original intent of the designers of the scent collar was to create an entirely virtual environment controlled, personal scent experience to augment the visual and auditory sensory immersion. It is worn round the neck, and has a number of scent cartridges attached to it.
Scent Wave is a single-scent dispenser, each unit holding and dispensing a single scent-stick. Using a dry-air technology that releases fragrance without sprays, aerosols or heated oils, Scent Wave is one of those systems that will work after being bunged in a cupboard for six months. Used primarily in retail environments, this system often finds use in large-scale VR such as military simulations and immersive training.
Scent POP or Scent Point-of-Purchase is a small-scale scent emitter, designed primarilly for retail needs, although it can be employed as a smell emitter for large-scale virtual worlds.
Surprisingly, we use the sence of smell every time we meet another person. For the subtle body odours our physical bodies emit, guide others as to our physical age, and provide cues on how to talk to us. As scent interfaces work their way into social VR systems, we need to give serious consideration to adding 'BO' to our avatars.
In October 2009, iRobot announced that they would be receiving additional funding from the US Robotics Technology Consortium. They plan to use much of this money to add full haptic feedback technology to their heavy-duty robots.
We have never truly succeeded at a VR scent interface. All those we have, bar none, physically release a scent into the room around the user, because we have never been able to grasp how the brain processes the sense of smell. A novel study tracing individual nerve firings with mice in controlled conditions, reveals that the actual organisation of the sense of smell is far more complex than we ever dreamed.
Scents and smells are ubiquitous, they are part of our everyday world. Yet, when you enter VR worlds, you almost always lose your sense of smell. Sight is covered, hearing is covered via speakers, even touch is covered via haptic gloves and other accessories. Smell usually remains abandoned, lacking hardware to cover it. The Scent Dome, manufactured by TrySenx inc, was the first serious attempt to create a smell peripheral.
A technological scent sensor that works in almost the exact same manner as a bog's biological nose has been developed by researchers at the University of California. The sensor, the size of an adult male fingerprint, uses microfluidic nanotechnology to mimic the biological mechanism behind canine scent receptors. The device is both highly sensitive to trace amounts of certain vapour molecules, and able to tell a specific substance apart from similar molecules.
In a study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, researcher Gün Semin and colleagues from Utrecht University in the Netherlands have expressed interest in the use of pheromones for communication, in all animals including humans. They postulated that scents might actually be playing a role in how we subconsciously communicate, and their results do bear out that possibility. This means there is yet another potential use for scent in virtual environments – as a means for increasing the bandwidth of interpersonal communication.
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Motorola, manufacturer of mobile phone handsets, has sought and been granted a patent for adding scent capability to phone calls. Using a special, inbuilt cartridge, almost identical to the Scent Dome, a PC smell system, the proposed, paten...
Aldous Huxley would be proud. Japanese phone company NTT is developing technology that will let you smell before you buy over the internet.
In Brave New World, no trip to the "feelies" - cinemas where the seats give touch f...
Portable, accurate, and highly sensitive devices that sniff out vapors from explosives and other substances could become as commonplace as smoke detectors in public places, thanks to researchers at University of California, Santa Barbara.
In early January 2008, a Rice University study published in the Journal of Neuroscience found that socioemotional meanings, including sexual ones, are conveyed in human sweat.
Denise Chen, assistant professor of psychology at...
An anonymous Apple employee says company executives are in talks with Immersion to license its haptic technology for use in the iPhone, according to a report at Palluxo.com.
mmersion's VibeTonz feedback technology is already...