VR Weekly: Is VR Poised To Offer Deeper Immersion Through Smells?

Ever since the late 80s and early 90s, Virtual Reality has been a sought after technology that has wowed many enthusiasts and while there have been some attempts at recreating this technology which was once only thought to be the fantasy of Sci-Fi movies and video games, VR has never really taken off until just a few years ago. Now in its current state, VR is gaining lots of ground and is making its way into just about every major industry from video games, to movies, and even sports. Now with VR headsets like the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR on the scene, all offering some of the best, and most immersive content on the planet, one might wonder what's next? More specifically, what can be done to make the games and other content feel even more immersive than they are now? It would seem that some companies are intent on tapping into your olifactory system - your sense of smell.

While not the only company to be working on such technology, a Japanese company called VAQSO is currently working on what might be the most general use device in this particular field as it's aimed at not just one particular part of VR. Their device is called the VAQSO VR, naturally, and it plugs into your VR headset and is designed to associate relevant smells with your content so as to make you feel like you're actually experiencing things in real life. As ridiculous as it sounds, this is probably as close to "Smell-O-Vision" as we're ever going to get. That is, if it takes off on a large scale, if at all. Considering the state of VR and its popularity, it's still relatively new in the grand scheme of things and many people are either reluctant to invest into it or they just aren't sure if they would enjoy using it. Consumers do seem to be coming around though thanks to the likes of HTC, Oculus, and Sony, as well as Samsung and Google, who are all helping to advertise VR to the masses and make it more mainstream. Even still, while VR headsets and content are becoming more and more popular by the day, something which triggers your sense of smell to correlate with the game you're playing or content you're viewing, might just be a little bit too weird for most people, right now at least.

For the diehard VR enthusiast and the hardcore gamers, the VAQSO VR unit (or something like it) could be a hugely popular product. Imagine playing one of the latest games to hit the market and having this device attached to your headset, and having it trigger the smell of rain during a scene with heavy rainfall. Think about playing the latest Call of Duty in VR and not only being able to look around you and experience the battlefield as if you were there, but also smell smoke due to the burning debris and explosions happening around you in a fire fight. While not widely applicable to every single VR user, something like VAQSO VR would likely be a dream come true to a gamer who wants every tool at their disposal to make the game feel more real. It's certainly seems to be a niche product, but stranger things have happened and "smell immersion" is certainly a corner of the VR market that could take off in due time.

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About the Author

Justin Diaz

Head Editor
Lover of food, craft beer, movies, travel, and all things tech. Video games have always been a passion of his due to their ability to tell incredible stories, and home automation tech is the next big interest, in large part because of the Philips Hue integration with Razer Chroma. Current Device: Google Pixel.