The bestselling novel by the famous writer Ernst Cline (Ready Player One, 2011) makes it clear:
Wade (or Parzival, his avatar in Oasis, a Virtual Reality simulator with which a dystopian world has become obsessed) is the novela’s main character, and Cline says that he possesses a set of latest-generation equipment to fully submerge himself in Oasis: a haptic chair… suit… gloves… a treadmill, for running … but, above all, the Olfatrix Tower:
“The Olfatrix smell tower in the corner was capable of generating over two thousand discernible odors” p.192
Oasis is what Cline imagines what the future will be like … humans on an almost desolate planet… where fossil energy sources have been exhausted and practically the only way to get around is in Oasis, a futuristic megaplatform composed of planets, worlds and sectors… where everyone can live (virtually) more or less like we do now… attending school… walking through a virtual park (real parks are badly damaged by man’s actions) or even adopt whatever appearance they like (we don’t want to reveal the identity of Wade’s best friend, Aech, but whoever has read the novel will know what we mean…).
The truth is that what Ernest Cline suggests is not unthinkable. In fact, there is already a film on the drawing board, to be directed by none other than Steven Spielberg. The novel tells of how a billionaire (and creator of Oasis) dictates in his will that whoever finds “the Easter Egg” in it will be the heir to his entire fortune. The novel describes how Wade must fight evil “sixers” (from the company Innovative Online Industries, whose sole purpose is to find the Egg before anyone else, just to do away with Oasis), and, thanks to his alliance with another 3 “gunters,” including his sweetheart, he finally manages to find the Egg and save Oasis (along with his own life and those of his friends along the way).
Despite what Lewis Packwood contends, one of the first to write about the novel, we actually can enjoy an experience akin to that offered by “the Olfatrix Tower” described by Cline… thanks to Olorama Technology:
If we keep in mind that, on average, most VR experiences today last less than 10 minutes (although, obviously, this is not a real technical constraint, but something occurring in practice), having 10 different scents would seem to suffice (more than 1 per minute) to enjoy an experience with scents. In this way we avoid saturating the person’s sense of smell, which, as you know, is very sensitive and easy to overwhelm, which an ruin the experience …
For longer experiences calling for a greater variety of scents, Olorama Technology would be able to deliver more devices, thereby expanding the possibilities (2 devices: 20 scents, 3 devices: 30, etc.).
This is a novel that every technology lover should read, and inspired us a lot. Don’t wait for the movie to check it out!