A recent project of American students demonstrates a new method of simulating sensations of warmth and coolness in virtual reality with the use of a heat shield, emitting peculiar smells, which evoke the feeling of temperature change.
The device is the work of Jas Brooks, Stephen Nagels and Pedro lópez from the University of Chicago. It uses chemicals that stimulate nerves in the nose to simulate the feeling of heat or cold. This “heat display” is a small device that is attached to the front of the gear VR headset and emit odors in small quantities directly on the nose. These odors stimulate the trigeminal nerve in your nose, allowing a small amount of ingredients odorless making the user feel warm or cool.
In the video example, the device sprays a chemical to cause a feeling of warmth when the user is near the fire, and feeling cold when he goes out on a snowy street. The intensity of the sensation can also be controlled by spraying more or less chemicals can be mixed with other fragrances for a greater level of immersion with the added odors.
The device works via Bluetooth from a small amount of energy. It has removable tanks for chemicals, enabling each of them to be easily replaced. The first two tanks contain chemicals that are required to change temperature in the direction of its increase and decrease (capsaicin and evkaliptola, respectively), and a third flavor that can be blended with two other chemicals to impart a particular odor to increase immersion.
The draft proposes an interesting solution to the problem of accurate reconstruction of temperature changes in terms of virtual reality. Despite the fact that the technology is unlikely to find wide application in products of virtual reality in the near future, it proposes a new approach that could become useful in the near future.