Stop and Smell the Flowers: Augmenting VR with Olfaction

Affordable virtual reality (VR) technology is now widely available and there is increasing interest in whether using sensory modalities in addition to vision and sound can enhance VR experiences. Smell has a strong influence on how we experience the world, for example, odours can modulate moods, trigger memories and affect alertness. Recent studies have found some evidence that odours can enhance the sense of presence in VR, but research in this area is still exploratory.

In this talk I’ll describe a number of studies we’ve carried out where we have augmented VR with olfaction using a novel odour selection methodology and a cheap olfactory display made from off-the-shelf components. We demonstrate that congruent pleasant odours enhance presence in a VR game, whereas incongruent pleasant odours do not. However, both types of odour can improve user performance.

Jon Bird is a Senior Lecturer in Digital Health at the University of Bristol. His main research focus is on developing mobile technologies for a range of health domains, including verbal autopsy and tracking the health and wellbeing of people living with HIV. He also develops wearable technologies using haptics and more unusual sensory modalities such as temperature and smell.

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11/02/21

17:00 - 18:00

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Free

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