Smell-o-Vision was invented in the 1960s, but it’s safe to say the technology hasn’t really ever taken off. There have been multiple attempts to revive the idea over the decades, and the latest clips onto Oculus’ VR goggles to provide you will a full sense-o-rama experience. FeelReal fills your nose with various odours, as well as spraying you with water and blasting hot or cold air into your face.
The idea of FeelReal is to replicate in-game environments through various sensations. A replaceable cartridge generates seven different smells and pumps them into your nostrils. Watery environments cause a mist of H20 to be ejected from ports by your cheeks, and a blast of chilled air to be expelled. The machine has air conditioning abilities, so when things heat up in-game the air vents can chuck out hot air. There’s also vibration built-in, and a microphone.
The Verge had a hands-on test with the FeelReal at GDC, and quite frankly it sounds like an utter horror show. By being mounted onto the bottom of the Oculus Rift, the whole thing encloses your face like a weird piece of Darth Vader’s helmet, and the idea of having all that going on right over your nose and cheeks makes me feel pretty claustrophobic, never mind nauseous.
So do you think this is the genuine future of immersive gaming? Or will the FeelReal join the likes of Smell-o-Vision in the vault of failed experiments no one wanted?