First Virtual Technology that Stimulates the Five Senses

The Virtual Cocoon via Physorg

Imagine living in Ancient Greece or swimming across the barrier reef -- Virtual Reality was created primarily to let us experience such things.

To date, however, the technology hasn't been too successful in providing simulations that approximate reality -- stimulating only one or two of the five senses that should be involved in the experience. Scientists from the Universities of York and Warwick working on a project called "Towards Real Virtuality" are determined to make this a thing of the past.

With funding from Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), they are developing a 'gadget' called Virtual Cocoon that will provide a more powerful and realistic virtual experience by stimulating all of the five senses.

Shares project head Professor David Howard of the University of York,
"Virtual Reality projects have typically only focused on one or two of the five senses - usually sight and hearing. We're not aware of any other research group anywhere else in the world doing what we plan to do.

"Smell will be generated electronically via a new technique being pioneered by Alan Chalmers and his team at Warwick which will deliver a pre-determined smell recipe on-demand. Taste and smell are closely linked but we intend to provide a texture sensation relating to something being in the mouth. Tactile devices will provide touch."

It remains to be seen if the concept for the new Virtual Reality device could indeed be realized.

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