A mask to produce scent in virtual reality

According to New Atlas reports, so far, several attempts have been made to produce real smells in the virtual reality environment, many of which include strange and boring wearable devices. In this regard, Chinese researchers have invented a newer system that is placed on the skin under the user’s nose.

The original setup for this experiment consisted of two small devices known as “odor generators”. Both devices sit on a flexible, lightweight substrate that temporarily adheres to the user’s skin and above their lip.

Each scent generator contains a variety of scented paraffin waxes along with a heat trigger. When the stimulator is wirelessly activated by the associated virtual reality system, one or both odor generators are heated, causing the wax to melt slightly. That’s why its scent spreads. When the trigger is turned off, the wax cools and returns to a solid state, where it produces little odor.

In the more complex version of the system, a total of 9 odor generators, each with a different scent, were used in a flexible face mask. With the help of such a trick, hundreds of combinations can be made and as a result, a variety of scents can be made.

Researchers have invented 30 different smells including rosemary, pineapple, pancake, etc. In the tests, 11 volunteers accurately identified the odors produced by the system with an average success rate of 93%.

Yao Shing from the University of Hong Kong and the senior author of the research says: This new system is an alternative for users to identify smells in the virtual environment. The quick reaction to the release of odors, the integration density of the high odor generator and 2 designs of wearable gadgets show the potential of this system for various applications from entertainment and education to medical services and machine-human interface.

This research was recently published in the journal Nature Communications.


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