The 2023 edition of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which ends on Sunday, has been marked by the appearance of olfactory technologies.
The OVR firm has developed an accessory that is placed under the virtual reality helmet (VR) to broadcast aromas. The user can feel the smoke of a virtual fire and the smell of a roasted marshmallow.
Smell is essential for metavers, according to Sarah Socia, Vice President of OVR, because it is “the only sense that is directly connected to the limbic system, a part of the crucial brain for memory and emotions.”
The American start-up, based in Vermont, presented a mounting prototype that also includes chemical aroma cartridges and allows to create perfumes through a mobile application.
The user associates them with videos and then sharing them with friends, if they possess the gadget.
Aromajoin, a Japanese competitor, is also betting on the adoption of this type of devices.
“Most people don’t know what they need. It’s like before smartphones, we didn’t know what place they were going to occupy in our lives,” said Seonhoon Cho, from Aromajoin.
An argument that many emerging metaverso companies repeat again and again against circums such observers.
“The Prefrontal Cortex”
At the end of 2021, Facebook renamed as a goal to focus on “the future of the Internet”, as described by Mark Zuckerberg, the head of the social networks giant.
But last year, the goal profits collapsed due to the economic crisis, and the tens of billions of dollars invested in this direction caused an avalanche of criticism.
“Today, metaverso is received with skepticism. And it is true that the term remains quite speculative,” admits Steve Koenig, vice president of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), organized by the fair.
“But metavers are starting to have a substance, we can see the different applications. It’s like being in the early 90s, when we talked about the Internet without being able to imagine everything that was going to happen.”
For Ajnalens, virtual immersion represents the solution to the problem of unemployment and the lack of qualified labor.
The Indian company produces Ajnaxr, a mixed (virtual and augmented), lighter and more functional reality viewer than existing models, so that users can use it for hours.
Its clients, the industrial sector, use it to train workers in the management of different tools (welding, paint, etc.), coupled to controllers, or virtually manipulated by haptic gloves, which allow to feel virtual objects.
“Virtual reality has a multiplied impact on the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain where you store things for a lifetime,” says Pankaj Raut, co -founder of Ajnalens.
“It’s like when you learn to ride a bicycle, you never forget it later.”
Social Dream also created his own mixed reality helmets, adapted to his immersive videos to stimulate the memory of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s.
A visitor directs a virtual orchestra using the Mixed HTC reality helmet presented at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on January 6, 2023.
“Dreamsense is not a helmet, the image is projected in a bubble,” describes Thierry Gricourt, founder of the French start-up.
“The face is not pressed, there are no glasses that hurt your eyes, it is easier to clean and sensors measure emotions in real time.”
The main headphones, the Oculus (Meta) and Vive (HTC), as well as accessories such as haptic suits, were first designed for video games.
The CTA expects this year to sell 3.1 million virtual reality helmets in the United States (20% more than 2022) and more than 380,000 glasses of augmented reality (+100%).
According to an Accenture Survey to 9,000 people, more than half of consumers “want to be active users of metovers” as soon as possible.
But in the immediate future, excluding video games, professional uses are those that seem to establish themselves more quickly.
Currently, the Red 6 firm is testing its augmented reality system to train combat pilots in air maneuvers (fuel supply, combat, etc.).
Come other airplanes, friends or enemies, in their viewers. Therefore, the formation costs much less, pollutes less and is less dangerous.
“Metaverso is a kind of solution in search of problems. We have done the opposite. We have found a case of use for technology that solves essential problems,” said Daniel Robinson, founder of Red 6.
This article is originally published on rfi.fr