Internet of senses: All about the future of virtual perception

After spatial computing, the Internet of senses is now at the heart of research on the future of virtual perception. With such a technology, we are supposed to live a multisensory experience.

The 5G technology has not even reached the extent of the globe that the 6G is already on its way. After the Internet of Things (IoT), the Internet of senses is now being announced. The latter is rather centered on the human being. The precursors of this technological innovation aim to offer the possibility to feel the taste and the smell of things via Internet. What still seems vague for the moment, but they plan to achieve it by 2030. Thus, it is important to provide explanations in order to prepare for it, although many disagree about its feasibility.

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Internet of senses: Is it a teleportation?

At the very beginning, mobile systems allowed the transmission of voice. Then, the interlocutors had the possibility to transmit images to each other. Some time later, we began to see each other via video calls. Now, after 2D video, we are witnessing VR technology that allows for an immersive 3D experience.

But the quest is not about to end there. Today, especially with the design of the 6G technologyresearch is focusing on ways to smell, taste and touch things via the Internet. According to Professor Rahim Tafazolli of the University of Surrey, this is a kind of teleportation.

Indeed, Internet of senses will certainly not see the light of day without the other technologies like AI, VR, AR as well as automation. It is this combination which will allow interaction with the other sense organs. Thus, a person, being at any place, will be able to smell the taste, the smell of something placed at thousands of kilometers, or to touch it virtually.

Internet of senses: what we expect to see

A Sensory immersion in cyberspaceThis is what we want to experience with the Internet of senses. For example, when we want to buy a drink via the Internet, we can know what it tastes like even before we taste it. When we want to buy the new dish from the local restaurant, we can smell it virtually.

The same is true for other fields, such as medicine. With this new technology, the surgeon no longer has to travel miles to reach the patient. The operation can be performed remotely.

We can say that the Internet of senses is not only intended for the commercial world. It can also facilitate other tasks by avoiding travel.

However, when we say immersion, it implies a high bandwidth in order to reduce or even eliminate all latency. With the 5G technologyIn this case, we benefit from a low latency. However, this is not enough for such an experience. This brings us to the next generation, 6G.

The requirements to get there

As previously stated, 6G is the SINE QUA NON condition for implementing the Internet of senses. With a ultra high bandwidth, latency will no longer be a problem. Apart from that, you should also think about the accessories.

Today, you can already have an immersive experience with the VR headset. In addition, some specially designed controllers allow you to have haptic sensations. But it takes much more than that to provide a multi-sensory experience.

Next to that, the legal side should not remain silent. Indeed, the big problems of today’s technology arise because of a legal vacuum. For example, when we talk about blockchain technology, the law is still unclear, actors have difficulties with the various transactions, etc.

In addition, hacks of all kinds make current mobile systems vulnerable. If big data has suffered from information leaks, who can guarantee that the Internet of senses cannot be mind-read? To ensure its development, it is important to put in place a legal framework and a reliable legal environment.

The major challenges of the Internet of senses

Before the Internet of senses goes live, it’s worth taking a close look at what might happen when it arrives. Certainly, this technology will be one of the most innovative ever. But it is not without its flaws, there are points to be clarified.

When the Internet of senses comes out, it will use the human brain as a user interface. It is very likely that various gadgets will be used to allow the brain to interact with the objects to be sensed. This could be a headband to put on the head or a specially designed headset (like the current VR headset).

But how will the brain process the information to allow smelling something. L’smell is controlled by a deeper part of the brain unlike the other senses which are perceived at the cortical level.

Furthermore, other problems may arise with latency. What would happen if a surgeon operated at a distance, when there is a delay of even 1 ms?

In addition, as we think about it, we also fear the possibility of others reading our minds. The hackers have always found ways to circumvent technology to their advantage. Why shouldn’t they do the same?

Where are we today?

Years have passed since work began on the Internet of senses. Today, we can see prototypes that aim to offer such an experience. A certain Ranasinghe has developed the vocktail, the lemonade and the virtual lollipop.

With the vocktailThe taste of the water can be customized with the help of aroma tubes, LED lights and electrodes. The control of the taste is done through a dedicated application. The virtual lemonade as for it allows the sharing of the taste via Internet, whereas the virtual lollipop simulates tastes.

However, there is still work to be done. Many challenges remain, if only to mention the implementation of 6G. This is used to transmit information flows with the highest precision and speed. The level of latency must be as low as possible, if not non-existent, if real-time interaction is to be achieved.

Will we get there by 2030?

Numerous patents on various technological innovations, including the VR and thehaptics have been filed lately. All this only confirms the imminent arrival of the Internet of senses. Ericsson is leading in this innovation. Alongside it, Tesla and Apple are also enthusiastic. The latter has, for example, filed over 500 patents on haptic technology.

Challenges to overcome

While there are many advances, let’s not kid ourselves. Tasting and smelling something online may not be for the end of the decade. Today, we are still in the prototype stage.

In fact, it is not enough to send the message to the brain to be able to smell and taste a thing. Such a perception requires a complex interaction inside the brain. This implies a personal commitment of each one in the transformation of the virtual reality into a perception of reality.

Despite this skepticism, we must remain optimistic about the idea of developing the Internet of senses in the near future. Consumers have already proven their opinion on this point. According to a survey conducted by Ericsson, the majority of the population would like to use applications related to such technology.

Internet of senses potential use case

Living with the Internet of senses is not just a far-fetched desire. It is another way to satisfy the needsThis is the case for the current reality (social distancing for example). From this point of view, we can cite some examples of potential use of this technology, allowing the physical and virtual world to merge in a more natural way.

In medicine

Medicine can easily benefit from the Internet of senses in that the surgical interventions are performed remotely. In this case, the operating room must be connected to the Internet with a very good connection speed. But before that, the doctor can check the patient at a distance.

In e-commerce

Moreover, the Internet of senses will be able to help sick people to recover their senses. Chemotherapy can cause many after-effects such as loss of taste. With the necessary devices, patients can regain the use of their taste buds.

In the video game industry

VR has been able to take a big step forward thanks to the video game industry. Today, the metaverse offers an even more fascinating experience with the various dedicated gadgets. With Internet of senses, players will be able to feel thesmell and taste of their virtual drink.

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