Gadget Ogling: Virtual Sensations, Radio-Wave Charges and a Bitcoin Keeper


Hello, and welcome to Gadget Dreams and Nightmares, the first-look gadget column with more style than any of the Met Gala’s attendees. Except maybe Beyoncé. And all the other invitees.

The guest list this week includes a virtual reality headset with added Smell-o-Vision, a case that charges smartphones using radio waves, and a physical, secure Bitcoin wallet.

As always, these are not reviews, and the rating reflects only how much I’d like to use each item, whether or not they’re in the swag bag at the next glamorous event I attend.

Virtual Scents

We’re edging ever closer toward a virtual reality boom, with Oculus finally promising its Rift headset will arrive in 2016. Yet what if there were a way to make home entertainment even more immersive?

Feelreal has come up with two devices — a virtual reality mask and a helmet — that aim to draw users almost entirely into a fictional world.

The mask is an add-on, compatible with Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, Sony Morpheus and Zeiss VR One headsets. The company is seeking Kickstarter funding to develop a commercial model based on demonstrated prototypes.

The helmet is designed to work with a smartphone. A prototype is under development.

Both promise to add smell, wind, heat, mist and vibration to an audiovisual virtual experience to hammer home the idea that you’ve traveled to a new world, with four senses engaged instead of two.

I’m fascinated by the current generation of virtual reality devices, and I’m excited by their potential, so I’m compelled to try out Feelreal. However, I’m a little anxious about the smell generator.

There will be an array of scent cartridges to create aromas that match the virtual world you enter. While my sense of smell is not the strongest, I fear it would be overwhelmed by distasteful scents while playing a game set in a ruinous landscape.





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