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Phew. Now We Can Finally Smell The Metaverse

Researchers at Stockholm and Malmo Universities developed the first VR game to utilize scent

Stockholm University research engineer Peter Lundén has developed tech that will allow users to utilize their sense of smell in virtual reality.

Together with researchers from Stockholm and Malmo Universities, Lundén built the olfactometer, a device that can be attached to a VR controller. The research group created a virtual reality game in which players pick up various glasses of wine and must guess the type by the smell alone. The olfactometer releases the corresponding scent when the player picks up the glass.

“The possibility to move on from a passive to a more active sense of smell in the game world paves the way for the development of completely new smell-based game mechanics based on the players’ movements and judgments,” says Malmö University interaction and game researcher. Simon Niedenthal.

The scent machine has four valves and a fan that sucks air into a tube. The valves can be opened to varying degrees allowing for different scent mixtures to be released.

Sure you can smell it. But how long before we can drink it?

Regain your sense of smell

According to research team leader and psychology professor at Stockholm University, Jonas Olofsson, the olfactometer could help those who’ve lost their sense of smell due to Covid regain it.

“For those who, for example, lost their sense of smell after Covid-19 or for other reasons, the new technology can mean an opportunity to regain their sense of smell with the help of game-based training,” said Olofsson, according to Science Daily.

Olofsson also states that the technology could train perfumers and wine tasters by increasing the challenge for users as their sense of smell becomes more sensitive.

“We hope that the new technical possibilities will lead to scents having a more important role in game development,” Olofsson added.

The code and blueprints for the olfactometer are available online as open-source material. Additionally, those interested can also access the code for the wine-tasting game for free online.

“I hope that the fact that drawings and code are openly available as “open source” will lead to an opportunity for game companies to start creating new, commercial products for scent training using the new technology,” Olofsson says.

Touching the void

Sight and sound have always been a given in the metaverse. However, touch is also emerging in virtual reality. Earlier this year, Emerge launched the Emerge Home, a device that simulates touch in the metaverse. Likewise, HaptX is working on a full-body haptic suit to allow users to truly feel the metaverse.

Written By

Jack Brassell is a freelance journalist and aspiring novelist. Jack is a self-proclaimed nerd with a lifelong passion for storytelling. As an author, Jack writes mostly horror and young adult fantasy. Also an avid gamer, she works as the lead news editor at Hardcore Droid. When she isn't writing or playing games, she can often be found binge-watching Parks & Rec or The Office, proudly considering herself to be a cross between Leslie Knope and Pam Beasley.

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