Researchers from several universities in the UK have teamed up to develop an immersive virtual reality headset that stimulates all five senses. Designed for maximum realism, the VR helmet will be equipped with high definition video, surround sound audio, special tubes that spray simulated tastes and scents into waiting mouths and noses, a fan that blows air to create hot or cold temperatures; and tactile devices for simulating touch.
A mock up of the Virtual Cocoon was showcased at Pioneers ’09 on March 4th, a technology conference put on by the engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council at London’s Olympia Conference Centre. In a press release by the EPSRC, project lead David Howard of the University of York says: “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.”
The researchers estimate that it will take at least five years before a commercial model of the Virtual Cocoon is available for purchase. They hope to have it on the market for about 1,500 pounds, a little more than $2,500 USD.