When we step into VR we become ninjas, boxing stars, and cosmic tourists. We can literally become any character we want. Whether we’re shooting off rockets in a steel mech, picking up objects, or speaking to a person in real time, we typically use three out of the five of our senses.
We most often use our sense of sight, touch, and then hearing. A company called VAQSO VR is changing how virtual guests experience VR with a sense of smell that matches their surroundings and interactions. They’re also opening up the window to their dev kit as well.
Mind-Blowing Scents for VR
As a kid who grew up wishing smell-o-vision was real, VAQSO VR’s new scent system is on a whole other level of mind-blowing. It has 15 different scents that it can waft into the air so guests can smell specific notes as events occur in Virtual Reality.
In VR, our smells are pretty limited to our environments. Most often, VR gamers and casual experiencers play at home, while out-of-home VR entertainment is at a venue of some sort. At home or at the arcade, you’re not going to smell the burning fire of a dragon in Skyrim or the fried chicken wafting in a cooking game.
However, with this development, scent-enabled VR experiences and games are very much on the horizon. We can get transported to a black hole, walk on the moon, fight demons, and fly in zero-g with VR, and now the future is inching towards us with scents of gunpowder, forest, zombies, and sprigs of mint.
These are all very specific smells, with the scent of a zombie and woman being the two most interesting to me. How did they create what essentially will be Eau de zombie? And what will the scent of a woman smell like?
VR Focus says that master perfumer Francis Kurkdjian of Burberry and Jean Paul Gaultier has helped VAQSO with scent production, so our senses are entrusted to a professional. All scents are created by VAQSO and aren’t everyday perfumes, rather they are specially made. Out of what is the question.
Dev Kit, Specs and Details
VAQSO VR’s scent panel is small enough that it fits on the underpart of the HMD with Bluetooth or USB. Scent loadout customization goes for $3000 a scent. It supports Oculus, Vive, PSVR, Pimax and mobile systems like Daydream, Gear VR, and Cardboard.
Developers will want to buy into the VAQSO $999 developer kit to begin creating scent patterns for specific games and experiences. The VAQSO VR scent system is programmable to assign fragrances to specific objects and are customized for release, diffusion, and to stop at exact times.
The individual scent packets are $70 a cartridge and last for about a month. Scents are tennis ball sized, so they aren’t going to be large pockets of different scents that confuse or overwhelm the olfactory system and dissipate according to their programming.
VAQSO is an innovative addition that will take virtual immersion to new sensory dimensions. My concern is that I don’t know what chemicals are in it. It would be helpful to know further about what’s specifically in their scent formulas since guests will be smelling them and then breathing it in. That would quash any concerns I have about its effects on health and the environment.