Wireless olfactory interface brings scent to VR experiences
Chinese researchers have designed a type of wireless olfactory interface for virtual reality (VR) applications, according to a recently published research article in the journal Nature Communications.
The soft and miniaturized olfactory interface can make users smell a variety of different scents, such as rosemary, mojito, pancake and durian.
Previously, human-computer interface systems that simulate vision, sound and touch in VR have been developed, while those with olfactory feedback were absent.
The researchers from Beihang University and the City University of Hong Kong optimized the material selection, design layout and power management, according to the article. The odor generators exhibited outstanding performance in various aspects, including response rate, odor concentration control, long-term continuous operation, high mechanical or electrical stability, and low power consumption.
There are two choices for the olfaction interface. One is equipped with a millimeter-scale scent generator that attaches directly to the skin under the nose and has two scent options, while the other one is a soft mask that produces nine different scents.
The researchers demonstrated its customizability with 30 different scents including pineapple, ginger, green tea, caramel and candy.
Soft olfaction interfaces are considered to have great potential in practical applications such as entertainment, education and human-machine interfaces.