Most of us by now have heard of the different types of virtual reality experiences and how they can transport you into an entirely different world.
However, the big problem with the adoption of this technology is that in it’s current state it just focusing on manipulating the sense of sight and sound.
While these two senses are enough to give us a sense of fantasy, yet they aren’t enough to be called completely immersive experiences due to their limited nature.
In order to provide a truly immersive experience, these experiences would need to incorporate the other senses as well, such as taste, touch and smell.
The problem with achieving this goal is the fact that up until now, we had to rely on specific chemical interactions in order to transmit the sensations.
While this approach is successful to an extent, it still isn’t safe enough to be used on a regular basis. For this reason, Adrian Cheok and his team from the Mixed Reality Labs are working on finding an entirely new way of providing virtual simulation.
Their approach involves using magnetic coils to stimulate the Olfactory Bulb, which is the part of the brain associated with smell, so that we can experience smells without actually tasting anything.
While the traditional methods would have involved cutting into your brain to deliver the simulation directly, the team realized that most people would not be happy with the idea of getting brain surgery just so they can experience virtual taste.
So, they found a work around in the form of placing the coils at the back of the subject’s mouth. The exact part of the mouth we are referring to is the palatine bone, which is very close to the part of the brain that’s responsible for reacting to smells and tastes.
If successful, this would become the first mildly invasive procedure for letting people smell and taste through virtual inputs. It would prove not only useful for virtual entertainment, but also in helping disabled people get their senses back again.
We just hope that this technology clears it’s hurdles soon enough, so that one day we too would know what it feels like to completely experience something or even someone that isn’t even in front of you.