A METAVERSE without smell would be like living in black and white – and even bad things like body odor and farts have a place.
It says a sensory scientist pushing the boundaries of virtual reality to a whole new level.
Virtual reality and the meta-verse have largely focused on sight, hearing and touch, but taste and smell are often overlooked, mostly because they are so complex to achieve.
But a company called OVR Technology has found a way to bring a fragrance to the virtual world that could ultimately pave the way for Metaverse as well.
And for a truly multi-sensory experience, it should not only be all the wonderful scents like roses or food, but also the ones we tend to avoid in the real world.
“For me, who lives in the fragrance world, all smells are interesting, even bad smells, and they have their function,” OVR Technology Director Aaron Wisniewski told The Sun.
“They all have a role – smells are people.
“Of course, fart smell, you could pill someone.
“But there are also some really interesting bad smells with greater impact.”
For example, his team worked with a researcher on a program called Brave Mind that uses odor to help veterans with PTSD.
Along with virtual reality, it uses horrible smells like blood, feces, urine, burning hair and smoke to help them recover.
“All those awful smells are memory triggers, you can use them in therapeutic settings,” he said.
“We are only scratching the surface of what can be done with this technology.”
But he does not believe that the meta-verse will only be about recreating existing smells, new smells will also be invented.
“We’re going to reinvent what smell is, what’s the smell of outer space and lasers and monsters and all that cool stuff,” he continued.
“So we are not afraid of bad smells, but what we do is find out what smells we can create and who we can work with to create a measurable positive effect.”
Among the more pleasant scents that the four-year-old company has developed are mindfulness experiences that allow users to choose between natural environments such as a waterfall or a beach where they can reach for scent balls.
The smart technology works with a cartridge that is inserted in the front of the VR headset and releases tiny fragrance particles as you approach the relevant virtual object using invisible geometry.
So if you get close to a rose, you start to smell it – and the closer you bring it to you, the stronger the scent becomes.
Wisniewski – a declared “mad scientist” who has long worked with everything that smells – said that smell is the key to the metaverse because it has a massive subconscious influence on memory, emotions and motivations.
“I think a lot of people who lost their sense of smell under Covid can testify, ‘oh wow, that’s really important,'” he said.
“And many people who have lost their sense of smell describe it as unreal, as black and white or behind a glass plate.
“I would hate for the meta-verse to be related to this feeling, collective digital anosmia.”
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