We tried smell-o-vision for VR — squirting scents in your face to set the mood

(Image credit: Future)

Aromajoin is a Kyoto-based startup that has rocked CES 2023 with two fascinating announcements — the Aroma Shooter and the AromaPlayer creator tool to make your own smelly videos.

As for how these scents can be enjoyed, the company has two options: an Aroma Shooter on a stand that you place on the TV stand, or a new wearable model that gives VR players the chance to smell the metaverse.

How does it work?

They both work in a virtually identical fashion — six slots for finger-sized scent cartridges (swappable with other smells as you need them) that can fire off individually or combine to form a range of over 200 different smells to match the scene. 

These are then pushed out through the diffusers, which direct them toward anyone sitting in front of the shooters or wearing the neckband. The effect is impressive, and the directness of the blast ensures nobody outside of those directly interacting with the content gets a sniff.


(Image credit: Future)

Rather than using liquid fragrances that can get on your clothes and leave a room smelling like something for a while, Aromajoin uses a proprietary “dry and solid” scent material that enables them to both make an aroma that disappears quickly, and quickly switch between scents in 0.1 seconds.

The regular Aroma Shooter is designed to surround the TV, but the wearable may be the next big product for immersing VR users in the content they’re consuming. Imagine pairing this with the OWO VR Haptic Suit.

Make smelly videos of your own

Aroma Player

(Image credit: Aromajoin)

Of course, one of the things that needs to be nailed for this to work is the ease to create scent-based content of your own. Aromajoin has thought of this with the AromaPlayer creator tool. Think of it like a smelly version of Premiere Pro. 

Add your video or use a YouTube link, and you’ll see a timeline appear, where you can drop in trigger points to activate certain scents. The whole experience is really intuitive, and democratizes access to this kind of system, rather than gatekeeping it behind a ton of coding.



(Image credit: Future)

At CES, Eureka Park is always the best place to see all the weird, fascinating stuff. Aromajoin may just be my favorite weird find of the entire show.

Will it succeed? Maybe. If they came with just the TV accessory, I may be a little more skeptical. But the VR option paired with easy-to-use software for timing these scents makes this a seriously tempting prospect for the future of immersion.

I look forward to seeing how the community jumps on this technology and where it goes from here! Also tweet us if you think we should start adding smells to our YouTube content.

Jason England
Content Editor

Jason brought a decade of tech and gaming journalism experience to his role as a writer at Laptop Mag, and he is now the Managing Editor of Computing at Tom's Guide. He takes a particular interest in writing articles and creating videos about laptops, headphones and games. He has previously written for Kotaku, Stuff and BBC Science Focus. In his spare time, you'll find Jason looking for good dogs to pet or thinking about eating pizza if he isn't already.