On the back of a quote from The Matrix, Feelreal, Inc. wants virtual reality to feel even more real. The company has been running a Kickstarter campaign for two projects with this end in mind. The main project is the Feelreal mask, which compliments other VR headsets by adding wind, water mist, smells, heat, and vibration to the experience.
“You donâ€™t need to be a pilot to feel the wind, or a surfer to catch a whiff of salt and seaweed,” reads the Kickstarter page. “You donâ€™t need to be near a volcano to experience its heat. All you need is FEELREAL to sense and smell any virtual world you want.”
Feelreal doesn’t want to stop there. If it receives $150K in funding it will develop the Nirvana VR helmet, which does all of this with an attached Feelreal mask—the smells, the breeze, the heat of volcanoes—along with the visual part of VR, apparently by way of a smartphone jammed into the front. The top model, the VIRT, “is not just a helmet for virtual reality, it also lets you watch a 3D video or play a game with the help of an embedded micro projector that produces in-focus high-definition images with a broad field of view.”
But alas, things don’t look good for smell-o-vision. With 12 days to go at the time of writing, Feelreal has only raised $18,201 of its minimum $50K. Perhaps the project would have fared better had it launched after SteamVR (aka the HTC Vive) and the Oculus Rift were on the market. If the Kickstarter fails, though, it’s always possible the company will find capital some other way.