In the first “wine tasting game,” players smell wines in a virtual wine cellar and score points for accurate fragrance predictions. In partnership with Malmö University, Stockholm University has created new technologies that can be produced on 3D printers.

The study was conducted with financial support from the Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation, and it was just published in the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies.

The importance of scents in the development of games is expected to grow as a result of the new technological alternatives.

Computer games have always centered mostly on what we can see—moving pictures on displays. There haven’t been any additional senses. However, a fragrance machine that can be operated by a gaming computer has recently been built by an interdisciplinary research team from Stockholm University and Malmö University.

In the game, the player navigates a virtual wine cellar, picking up virtual wine glasses filled with various wines and speculating on their scents. When the player lifts the glass, the little smell machine, which is connected to the VR system’s controller, emits perfume.

According to Simon Niedenthal, interaction and game researcher at Malmö University, “the ability to shift from a passive to a more active sense of smell in the game environment lays the door for the development of totally new scent-based game mechanics depending on the players’ actions and judgments.”

Four distinct valves, one coupled to a channel, make up the olfactometer. A fan in the center draws air into a tube. The four channels may be opened to varying degrees and supplied with various smell combinations by the player via the computer.

Scent combinations that can simulate the intricacy of a genuine wine glass. The intricacy of the game increases with the difficulty levels.