Can This New Electric Smell Machine Add Sexy Aromas to Virtual Reality?

Brain stimulation invention arouses human sensory system.

Forget scented candles to set the mood. Last month, a team of researchers announced they had invented a machine that can create the sensation of smell with electric pulses alone.

A press release from the Imagineering Institute in Malaysia said this new technology works by stimulating the olfactory bulb in the brain, which makes it possible for subjects to experience a wide variety of aromas.

How it works and how it smells

One part of the unit is inserted into a subject’s nose and placed in close proximity to the olfactory bulb, an area in the forebrain that plays a key role in our sense of smell. Next, small electrical impulses are sent through the digital device, causing the olfactory receptor neurons to fire.

“During the initial user experiments, some participants experienced smell sensations including floral, fruity… and woody,” said the press release.

Previously, the only way to generate a certain smell for a subject was to expose them to chemicals. The electric smell machine, on the other hand, doesn’t need chemicals but it is controlled via a computer. This opens up the possibility that scientists will be able to artificially create or modify a wide range of smells in the future.

The aromas of sex?

While the researchers did not hypothesize about the use of their new technology to enhance sexual pleasure, it doesn’t take much imagination to see its potential for sex in virtual reality.

In fact, we previously reported on CamSoda’a attempt to add smells to VR with it mask-and-scent canister system.

For one thing, the Imagineering Institute’s approach wouldn’t need to be replenished or cleaned. Then there’s privacy: as it’s electronic—and therefore only experienced by the user—there’d be no concerns about your sexy aromas making your place smell like a bordello.

Smell would add so much to VR

On the surface it might be easy to discount this kind of technology as a clever afterthought: a pleasant addition to VR but not really adding much.

But as anyone who’s had a lovely and sensual meal can attest, smell is not just nice but essential to the experience. Think of it this way: seeing the coast in high-definition virtual reality can be amazing, as is hearing the waves crashing in high fidelity. But imagine also being able to smell the salty air and any other wild aromas of the seaside.

Now add that to erotic entertainment and let your imagination run wild. You put on your VR rig, grab your earphones, then slide in your nasal probe, and you’ll be able to see, hear—and best of all—enjoy the smells of whatever turns you on.

Smelling the future

Even if the Imagineering Institute researchers didn’t bring up sex in the press release, it’s a safe bet that at least one of them has considered integrating the tech with sexual experiences. Not only does it seem the perfect fit for erotic enjoyment, but Adrian Cheok, a lead member of the team, often speaks about technology and sex. Cheok is actually one of the organizers of the annual Love and Sex with Robots Congress.

Even though it is still in its infancy, the work being pioneered by the Imagineering Institute shows promise. More than likely, some version of this technology will become a key component in near-future erotic entertainment systems, allowing users to not just have visual and audible experiences but also with vividly arousing aromas as well.

Image sources: Imagineering Institute