The FeelReal VR Mask Offers 255 Smells and Haptic Feedback for Your Face

Thursday, 27 December 2018 - 12:26PM
Technology
Virtual Reality
Gadgets
Thursday, 27 December 2018 - 12:26PM
The FeelReal VR Mask Offers 255 Smells and Haptic Feedback for Your Face
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Image credit: FeelReal
Recently, we reported on a Malaysian study that claimed to have created new "digital smell technology" that could 10 different artificial smells by hooking up electrodes to users' nostrils. Now, a company called FeelReal, Inc. has debuted a product called the FeelReal Mask, which offers not only micro-heaters and tiny fans to simulate scorching heat or cool breezes, but a full suite of smells designed to enhance games, VR experiences, or meditation.

While the prospect of feeling the wind brushing your face in an open-world game is pretty cool, we're not quite sure why so many VR/AR companies and products think consumers want smells blown into their nose during a session of Beat Saber or while watching a movie. Smell-O-Vision and Aroma-Rama tried that half a century ago, and so did iSmell creator Joel Bellenson during the dot-com era. Both of them were resounding failures, but that hasn't stopped more companies from doubling down on scent-based hardware like the FeelReal Mask.

Still, we have to hand it to those guys—the mask is pretty impressive from a technical standpoint. It's compatible with any VR headset (including phones), has a four-hour battery life, weighs only 7 oz., and it's already compatible with big titles like Skyrim. Aside from the heating and cooling sensations, it can simulate the spray of water or the vibration of an impact. FeelReal Inc. has already started putting together "dream" experiences that are meant to use the mask to its fullest extent, which seems a little more enticing than trying to adapt their suite of sensations to something created by third parties.

As much promise as the mask shows for making VR even more immersive, the aroma angle is easily the weakest point. Unfortunately, that seems to be the focus for FeelReal. Though we haven't sampled the smells yet, we're betting few people are going to thrown down big bucks for the opportunity to smell a virtual space.

You can learn more about the FeelReal Mask here.

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