The Imagineering Institute in Malaysia, investigates how to transmit virtual odors without the need for chemicals.
In virtual reality the viewer is only the beginning, although deceiving the eye is the most significant step for the human being, reality, virtual or not, is composed of a set of sensations, from haptic gloves to more affordable technologies such as binaural sound. Enthusiasts always look for that next step that immerses us in a dimension parallel to our day to day.
Among all those steps, if one has seemed to stay at an almost unattainable distance, it is that of simulate odors. Previously initiativas such as Vaqso VR have tried to obtain remarkable results through mixtures of chemicals near our nostrils, but this system presents a number of drawbacks when it comes to becoming a commercial product, such as the need to replace expensive compounds.
Now, researchers from The Imagineering Institute in Malaysia, they work on a solution that makes use of electrodes applied directly to the nasal turbinates, responsible for detecting odors in our nose. For the time being, the installation is also far from resembling a commercial product, but by eliminating substances and dealing with electrical impulses of a few milliamps, it would be easier to integrate into all types of computer systems. They also ensure that their potential applications, in addition to medicine, would be video games and RV.
They currently use an endoscope to locate specific areas inside the nose and say that one in four patients says they have experienced sweet, menthol, fragrant or chemical odors. We will have to see what method is positioned as an alternative for a future in which we can smell while exploring worlds of fiction.