BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Software, hardware and scentware — they’re three components in a Made in Vermont invention being sold to industries across the country for a new technology that could shape the virtual world.
For Aaron Wisniewski, the smell of ozone takes him back to his childhood. “I remember very, very young being brought to work by my parents when I was sick and hiding behind the Xerox machine just to catch a smell,” Wisniewski said.
He would go on to dedicate most of his life and career to the sense of smell. “It’s extremely powerful in its influence of how we think and feel, how we remember and how we behave,” Wisniewski said.
About three years ago, while working on his fragrance company at Generator Makerspace in Burlington, Wisniewski teamed up with experts in the industrial and applied science fields to create OVR Technology — virtual reality with an added scent.
“We did know what we wanted from an experience standpoint, and really that was the driving force behind the project,” said OVR’s Matt Flego.
The company recently released its Architecture of Scent platform. The cartridge straps on to a virutal reality headset. When triggered, very tightly controlled droplets of water-based scent are released. “As you pick something up, you can bring it to your face and the reaction time is very, very quick,” Flego said.
There are nine different smells in a pack. “By improving the virtual world, we can produce, better, more meaningful outcomes in the real world,” Wisniewski said.
Gaming really isn’t OVR Technology’s focus. It’s making a difference in education, training and health care. For example, adding the Architecture of Scent to VR exposure therapy will help better treat soldiers with PTSD by giving them a more complete controlled environment where they can better reprocess and re-remember a traumatic event.
“If we can create a technology that is useful in mental health care and treatment, then that’s a huge win for us,” Wisniewski said.
Wisniewski and his team are crossing the globe collecting all types of smells, using analytical chemistry and science. “This is one small portion of our scent library,” Wisniewski said. “A lot of hours, a lot of energy and emotional energy getting to this point, and we’re really happy with where we’re at and we’re really happy with the response we’ve gotten so far from customers and from the press.”
Ozone stimulates Aaron Wisniewski’s memories of the past, but it’s the Architecture of Scent providing the sweet smell of success moving forward.