AirRes Mask Wants to Make the Metaverse A Little More Realistic

We experience virtual reality through glasses and controllers, but the new mask gives us a first-hand view of the potentially intimidating Metaverse experience.

Virtual and augmented reality would have allowed us to easily get to places we can’t reach or experience things that are impossible according to the laws of physics. Being able to roam the surface of Mars without having to worry about breathing is one of the many experiences the metaverse promises to provide, sooner or later. At the same time, however, some people criticize these experiences as clearly fake and unbelievable because you can only see but cannot smell or smell the real thing. For good or bad, a group of researchers are at least trying to mimic the way you breathe in virtual worlds, but it can be very real to the point that our brain and body can no longer tell what is real. . dili.

Designers: Markus Tatzgern, Michael Domhardt, Martin Wolf, Michael Cenger, Gerlinde Emsenhuber, Radomir Dinic, Nathalie Gerner, Arnulf Hartl

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VR hardware naturally starts with the eyes and ears, as they are the easiest and most important sense of deception to create a suspension of belief. No matter how convincing this illusion is, however, it will fall apart when you start trying to move and interact in the virtual world, which happens in the real world through controllers while remaining completely non-existent. Much of the R&D of the technologies that drive the so -called Metaverse revolves around navigation and more believable interaction, such as the use of gloves and walking machines. Few mentions the credibility of smell or, at the very least, the act of breathing.

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Researchers from the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences in Austria studied virtual experience to design a mask to restrict airflow to control respiratory resistance and, therefore, the wearer’s breathing capacity. The prototype looks like a dystopian whitewashed gas mask and almost shows a fairly serious and almost critical use of contraption. A final product can look much more refined, if something like this can be commercialized first.

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The idea is almost simple when you first hear about it, and it’s all about making the virtual experience more believable by tricking your body into thinking it’s dealing with real-world situations. Walking through a burning house may not smell like the real thing, but the mask can control and prevent airflow so you experience the same difficulty breathing as you do in the actual fire. It can trigger the brain’s natural fight or flight response, bringing the experience closer to reality without endangering the wearer. Hopefully the body wearer deserves to suffer this kind of stress.

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Conversely, human breathing can also be used as an additional way to control their virtual avatar, making their digital counterpart look as tired as they do in the real world. It can also open the doors to activities and games that often require you to blow air, such as blowing out candles or blowing balloons. The mask can also be used as a control and monitoring device for training simulations for firefighters and emergency personnel.

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The same people who criticize virtual reality for being overtly fake can also criticize this kind of invention for going too far and making the experience too realistic. In a way, realism may remove some of the appeals of the Metaverse, especially the ability to experience different places, worlds, and things without having to worry about hyperventilation. Of course, there are perfect experiences for such breath control devices, such as horror games or exercise activities, but most people will probably try to do without the additional equipment. On the other hand, such a mask may be more useful for medical applications, helping medical personnel to diagnose a patient’s well -being by monitoring and regulated respiration.

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