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WMG researchers creating 'virtual cocoon'


WMG researchers at the University of Warwick have joined a  team of scientists from universities across the UK to begin work on a project to use the latest advances in virtual reality to enable users to go on safari from the comfort of their own front rooms.

The virtual reality headset will enable users to experience the smells, heat, sounds and sights of places such as Kenya's Masai Mara - while sitting on their sofa. It is hoped that the device will be available in three to five years time.

University of Warwick WMG Professor Alan Chalmers is working on how smells will be generated electronically in the device.  He said: "The idea is to produce a portable virtual reality device that you can use in the comfort of your own home. This will be a huge step forward in comparison to today's virtual reality devices.  Combining the use of all five senses will make the experience feel totally real - it will be unlike anything previously available."

The device will be used for leisure and also for education and training.  It is hoped the headset will also give users an ultra realistic experience of history by providing sights, sounds and smells of day-to-day life in places such as ancient Egypt. 

Scientists working on the project will give the public a preview of the ideas behind the device at the 'Pioneers 09' science showcase, organised by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council at the Olympia Conference Centre in London today, Wednesday 4th March 2009.

To contact Professor Chalmers on 4th March  further details from:

EPSRC Press Office, contact: 01793 444404 or e-mail:

After 4th March please contact:

Peter Dunn, Press and Media Relations Manager, Communications Office,
University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL
024 76 523708 or 07767 655860 email:

PR21  PJD 4th March 2009