In real life, you don't just see and hear things – you also smell them. Therefore, given that virtual reality (VR) headsets are meant to replicate real-world experiences, shouldn't they provide odors along with sights and sounds? That's the idea behind the smelly new Vaqso VR system.
The main Vaqso unit is linked to a third-party VR headset via micro USB or Bluetooth, and it extends around the user's face in a semi-circle. It contains five replaceable cartridges, each of which is loaded with one of 15 currently-available scented oils. When triggered by code within the VR game that the wearer is playing, the device selectively releases odors from the cartridges, those odors being relevant to what's happening in the game.
The main Vaqso device is attached to the user's head via an adjustable velcro strap, and it communicates with their VR headset(Credit: Vaqso)
And yes, one of the scents is that of a zombie. The others are ocean, fire/gunpowder, forest, wood, soil, coffee, caramel, chocolate, curry, fried chicken, mint, gas, flower, and "woman" – we're assuming that last one is a perfumey smell. More are in the works (see the picture below), plus custom scents can be created for corporate clients at a cost of US$3,000 each.
Currently only available as a developer kit, Vaqso VR is priced at $999 for the 125-gram (0.3-lb) main unit along with five refillable scent cartridges – additional cartridges can be purchased for $70 a pop. Free APIs (application programming interfaces) are available to developers.
Perhaps not surprisingly, this isn't the first smell-o-vision VR system that we've seen. Previous examples include the "adult film"-oriented OhRoma, and the unsuccessfully-crowdfunded Feelreal VR Mask.