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Proceedings of CAD'15, 2015, 383-388
Integrating Scents Simulation in Virtual Reality Multisensory Environment for Industrial Products Evaluation

Marina Carulli, Monica Bordegoni, Umberto Cugini, Politecnico di Milano

Abstract. Virtual Reality (VR) is an integrated trio of immersion, interaction and imagination. These characteristics are considered as more effective if multiple sensorial channels are involved in the VR experience. These sensory modalities include vision, audition, touch, smell and taste. Currently, most of the research works and devices in the area of Virtual Reality have focused on the visual, auditory, and tactile (haptic) simulation, while few of them have been carried out for what concerns smell and taste. Yet, also these senses are fundamental for human perception and indeed they could be helpful in order to reach a more effective level of immersiveness in VR experiences. The sense of smell has a great importance in our daily life, even if today humans use more the senses of vision and hearing for interacting with the environment. The sense of smell is devoted to acquire and interpret chemical signals in the environment, and supports some basic biological and behavioural functions, as dangers recognition, identification of food, and social communication. Nevertheless scents have other functions and impacts on humans. In particular, due to the structure of the olfaction process and the regions of the brain involved in it, scents work both at the conscious and unconscious levels in humans. Some studies have demonstrated that scents can impact on physiological parameters, such as heart rate and skin conductance, and, consequently, can induce activation or relaxation states in humans.

Keywords. Multisensory eenvironment, Olfactory display, Product evaluation

DOI: 10.14733/cadconfP.2015.383-388