For over a century creative entrepreneurs have been trying to find ways to incorporate scents and smells into multimedia experiences. In the early 20th century theatre owners experimented with spraying perfume into auditoriums at specific moments during films and by the early 1960s there were two competing smell technologies battling for audience's olfactory delight. Smell-O-Vision and AromaRama were not embraced by the general public. Unsurprisingly, people seemed to dislike having smells pumped into their faces while watching movies.
OhRoma is the latest attempt to integrate smells into entertainment and like many new innovations, it's coming from the porn industry. The device is basically a fancy gas mask that can pair with a user's smartphone to trigger the release of specific odor canisters. Designed to be used in conjunction with a VR headset, the OhRama can heighten one's adult experience or in the words of the company, allow you to "smell your favorite pornstar."
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While we can't imagine the smells of sex to be an especially desirable sensation to add to the VR experience, OhRoma has apparently developed numerous scents allowing for 30 different bouquets, "from private parts to body odor to fragrances to panties to tasty aphrodisiacs."
In 2001 an ambitious startup generated 20 million dollars in funding to develop a device they dubbed, the iSmell. The gizmo plugged into a USB port and was designed to emit specific smells when the user visited certain websites. While the tech apparently worked quite well the product failed to grab the attention of the public and is now regarded as one of the worst tech products of all time.
We've seen a couple of new attempts to jump into the sniff business over recent years including the FeelReal, which The Verge compared to an "implement of torture" and the comical Nosulus Rift, a jokey peripheral for an upcoming South Park game that literally made us gag when we smell-tested it last year.
Far be it from us to draw a line and say that this mode of smell technology could never work, but there does seem to be a long trend of failed attempts to bring aromas into the entertainment sphere. According to internet cam performer Victoria Ryan, there very well may be a certain niche market for this tech, dubbed by the Huffington Post as "nose porn". "There are a lot of guys who watch my shows who tell me, 'God, I wish I could smell you,'" Ryan tells HuffPost.
Despite the strong whiff of promotional stunt, OhRoma is actually up for preorder now. For US$99.99 you can grab a bespoke gas mask and 30-scent pack with extra scent canisters available for between $5.99 and $9.99.
The smell of porn is here. Isn't technology wonderful.
Via: Huffington PostView gallery - 7 images