Virtual Reality already does a pretty good job of fooling our eyes and ears, but we need to remember that we have other senses as well. Peter Sassaman is trying to add smell to our VR experiences with his device, Cilia, which just launched on Kickstarter.
Rev VR Podcast – Episode 112
Some of you already know Peter from his work on an open-source haptic glove, Gauntl33t, which he showed off at the first SVVR Expo. Now, he has decided that smell will be his next endeavor.
We all have memories that are triggered by a certain smell or odor. The brain creates explicit memories and attaches an odor to them. Studies have shown that recreating these odors will cause you to recall memories much clearer than other sense driven stimuli. If smells are added to virtual reality, it is possible that a stronger sense of presence could theoretically be achieved.
Cilia works by quickly heating up oil based scents during the appropriate scenes in a VR experience. This wisps of odor will be distributed in front of you during a seated experience. To help with adoption of this hardware, Peter and his team are creating a simple SDK that will allow developers to easily add scents to their games or experiences and allow for a more immersive feeling.
I have personally backed this Kickstarter, and feel that the reward tiers are reasonable. I would love to see the community help back this project, and push for additional senses to be incorporated into the future of VR.
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Direct download of episode 112: MP3 Download