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Why in the virtual reality simulation smell so hard?
- Apr 25, 2018 -

Why in the virtual reality simulation smell so hard?

Nosulus Rift, ubisoft developed a device that can simulate fart flavor

authorDavid Matthews

What do you think of the development of virtual reality in the next few years?You may look forward to have a more realistic visual, auditory and tactile experience.Oculus chief scientist Michael Abrash also think so, he in October last yearTo predictIn the next five years the development of VR, also focus on the three kinds of feeling.

But have a feeling Abrash didn't mention it, is the sense of smell.In VR used in your nose may sound not necessary, and even some extra - or can be used as a vision, hearing and touch are perfect after additional options.

However, smell is the key to our perception and memory in this world, without it, the framework of VR can only simulate the real world, so to speak, but no flesh and blood.Anosmia (Anosmics), that is, the loss of the sense of smell, befoundTo put up with the quality of life is reduced, and even suffer from severe depression.Documentary filmmakerElizabeth ZierahdescribeThe world around her and the feeling of "separation", tells of her loss of the sense of smell."It's like I'm watching a film about his life."She wrote.She felt the anosmia caused her trauma brought her great stroke action inconvenience.

The sense of smell is also the only and the amygdala is directly related to the feeling.The amygdala is our part of the brain associated with various feeling, that is to say, smell can evoke strong emotional memory.We have a lot of people have such an experience, a special flavor will bring you back to a specific time and place and mood, this is now the VR impossible.

In the University of Florida (University of Central Florida) study of odor and VR Benson Munyan III recalls the days of childhood drove to his grandma's."We can see, to her driveway and rose flower.So a car we smell the roses.The feeling is still lingering in my mind."

Munyan is one of the few in the scientists who study how to add flavor in VR.In Iraq, Kenya and djibouti beauty uniforms, one of his main research direction is to make the veterans in VR show his head, help them to face and overcome their traumatic memories.He explained, the smell has been used in the treatment of VR PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), but until now, the difference between the immersive couldn't quantified.

How taste affect experience

He and his colleagues made a VR experience, is in darkness, you're a strange abandoned for carnival in the key.In the same room, they installed a $4000, shoe size of metal box --"Scent palette".It can send out a different in the process of the game: crash on fire when the smoke;The smell of overturned the trash;The smell of popcorn and cotton candy.

theyfoundAdd flavor to the participants in the carnival of grim walk around, to experience a stronger sense of reality, and remove the smell will let reality be discounted.

But there is one problem: injection through a variety of smell in the room, eventually you will smell a strong smell.After long time test, Munyan said: "the room smell cigarette smoke, garbage smell, diesel oil, or a variety of mixed together."

This will not only make you could not tell the difference between the taste, and if as a product, this can make all think after you use the living room, but people don't want to smell cotton candy and garbage was very upset.Smell also need and VR experience synchronization at the same time, but the smell coming from the box in the corner of the room to you over a period of time.When you smell smoke in the virtual world may be you have been away from the location of the fire.

Some companies already in the solution to this problem.Olorama is a company located in valencia, claiming that they producedevice($1500) can take up to ten kinds of taste fast to take the lead of the user.Their odor including pastry shop, mojito, anchovy fish flavor and wetland (strong, bloody, burning rubber soon).They said they would make the smell of based on natural extracts, and faster than what the ordinary chemical reagent synthesis smell dissipates.

Add the difficulty of odour in VR

Another approach is to join in VR head show an odour generated device, which means that odour can quickly reach your nose, and at the same time, won't make the whole room is full of taste.Someone has already made a prototype: on Kickstarter the raise in 2015FeelRealMask claimed that not only can send out a smell, but vibration function, and can face to you blow hot and cold wind and water vapor.

However,Smell-o-VisionandiSmellFailure products such as, the mask was not successful.The VergeDescribed with FeelReal mask after feeling: "just like the air freshener in a heat is put in a new car, and then imagine you buried her face in the plastic seat in the car.Then imagine the driver quickly turned a sharp curve."It even the half of the $50000 Kickstarter the raise goal is not reached.

Other devices are also developed.A Japanese laboratory last year also developed a small enough to be installed in the Oculus Rift on the smell of the device, it can just right under the nose, with the side face (see video).It no use small fan, but the smell of liquid with sonic atomization, let the smell float into your nose.The lab said because the device to remove the pipe, so without smell, there would be no smell device, which is also a problem in the aforementioned devices.

Is an important feature of this device, it can gasification several different concentration of liquid at the same time, so you can take several different flavour compounds for synthesis of the flavor of the other.Smell of VR research's ultimate goal is to make a can generate various smell the smell of the mixed element "palette", as can be seen by the basic color display various color display screen.But this will be a very difficult scientific challenge.

Influence of mood state (CONSCIOUSNESS - ALTERING) smells

Takamichi Nakamoto is making the head of the laboratory of the device of the Tokyo university of technology, he said, "need a large amount of data to create different smell the smell of element composition database.We can collect some, but it is not easy."

"Affect the smell of mood state (Consciousness - altering smells), such as the smell of fear, it exists in those who fear or fear of sweat, have very complex compositions.No one know of their compositions, they don't was synthesized in a short period of time, "the smell of expert at the university of CardiffTim JacobNoted."Do not smell like primary synthesis of a variety of color image can be used."

Before the smell can perfect integration in VR, still have a long list of difficult technical problems to be solved.But because of the way we have unique experience smell, we in the psychological difficulties may be more difficult to catch.

Another released last OctoberThe experimentAlso proves this point.Participants were asked in the house a VR world looking for the killer's knife.Those who enter the virtual world a kitchen smell a smell of urine smell of people believe that the experience is more the sense at the scene.Which further provides evidence for smell will enhance the truth of VR.

But participants often make the smell of urine is the smell of the other.Some people think is a fish, and garbage smell, killer of bad breath, or the taste of victims' bodies, a researcher at the university of Quebec Oliver Baus is introduced.Even a person feel the smell is very good, because it reminded them some happy memories.

"We have a participant said, when they were young, on the way to the school will pass by on a farm, smells, and the same."He said.

In other words, our reaction to a large extent for a certain smell or by the environment is determined by our past experiences."Although some cultural background response to specific odor is predictable, but because each of us is unique to the experience of odour, so at the individual level, we cannot make such assumptions.So it is difficult to make any prediction.Rachel Herz says.It is a professor at the university of brown, and explore the smell's book, theThe taste of Desire, The Scent of Desire)The author of.

Baus says, if a smell of VR developers want to join the game, they have to give a lot of visual cues to tell players what they in smell."Vision is the key."He said.

So far, the smell is still seen as a VRWonderful work to make fun of, just like when you play with biochemical crisis 7 light moldy wood and bloodyThe candle.But there is no the neglected feeling, VR may never into our emotional and physical experiences in real life.So, join the smell may be the biggest task facing the industry in the coming decades.