The Virtual Reality industry is booming with mass-market devices now providing realistic visuals and audio for an immersive VR experience. However, a group of engineers from the National University of Singapore believe that a true Virtual Reality experience is not complete unless it involves all of your senses.
Meet the Ambiotherm, a Virtual Reality module that promises the user a truly realistic atmosphere. The device combines a “winding module” – two fans that simulate wind blowing in your face – and a temperature module that attaches to the back of your neck to simulate heat.
The team claim that their experiments show that gradual use of both modules can replicate how your body would feel under specific environmental conditions.
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A post on their website explains that “traditionally, VR systems simulate physical presence in an environment through visual and auditory stimuli. By utilizing only two of the human senses, this approach to VR limits the number of modalities that are engaged, in turn having a negative effect on the user’s sense of immersion during the VR experience [..] by providing the user with a combination of visual, auditory, thermal and wind sensations, Ambiotherm is able to increase users’ sense of presence in VR experiences by simulating real-world environmental factors such as ambient temperatures and wind patterns.”
The device is an improvement on previous attempts to simulate wind and heat that required large lamps or fans. Miniaturising these components is a step forward.
The question is if the device will take-off in the Virtual Reality market?