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Dakota Kimble, Sierra Sandison, Andrew Armstrong, Forrest Burt, Dr. John Bieter, Dr. Peter Müllner

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We bring the power of scent into the Virtual Reality experience

Woman wearing VR equipment

VARScent aims to combine the unique mnemonic properties of scent with the immense possibilities of virtual reality. Did you know that the brain pathways for scent closely relate to those that process memory? We hope to find clinical applications for the VAR Scent device, such as therapies for Alzheimer’s & Dementia patients.

Pump house, photo

The pump housing is 3D printed from PETG. We use layers of vinyl to both create the supporting backplate, and the pumping seal.

Scent wick, heating coil, and scent reservoir, photo

The pump moves fluid from the refillable reservoir to a scent wick, which diffuses rapidly when the heating coil is activated.

We place all associated electronics withing a 3D printed housing. The housing front plate snaps onto the housing back by means of a magnet.

future prototype, photo

We keep our minds open to new ideas, trying alternative designs for distribution of scent. This future prototype will be able to disperse five different scent options.

VR scene depicting a grassy field with trees and boulders. A castle type door stands between two stone walls.
Preview of our current VR environment, designed by Forrest Burt
pump connected to laptop

We use a magnetically actuated micropump to deliver scent to a vaporizer. We can program the pump to integrate with the VAR environment and deliver scent during specific events. For example, when you go near a flower in the VAR world, the scent delivery system could be triggered to release a flower scent to the user.


Our team is led by Dr. Peter Mullner (MSE) and Dr. John Bieter (History). The students include Sierra Sandison (ME), Andrew Armstrong (MSE), Dakota Kimble (GIMM), and Forrest Burt (CS)

Additional Information

For questions or comments about this research, contact Dakota Kimble at