Promoting relaxation using virtual reality, olfactory interfaces and wearable EEG

Judith Amores ; Robert Richer ; Nan Zhao ; Pattie Maes ; Bjoern M. Eskofier. "Promoting relaxation using virtual reality, olfactory interfaces and wearable EEG." Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). April 5, 2018.


The ability to relax is sometimes challenging to achieve, nevertheless it is extremely important for mental and physical health, particularly to effectively manage stress and anxiety. We propose a virtual reality experience that integrates a wearable, low-cost EEG headband and an olfactory necklace that passively promotes relaxation. The physiological response was measured from the EEG signal. Relaxation scores were computed from EEG frequency bands associated with a relaxed mental state using an entropy-based signal processing approach. The subjective perception of relaxation was determined using a questionnaire. A user study involving 12 subjects showed that the subjective perception of relaxation increased by 26.1 % when using a VR headset with the olfactory necklace, compared to not being exposed to any stimulus. Similarly, the physiological response also increased by 25.0 %. The presented work is the first Virtual Reality Therapy system that uses scent in a wearable manner and proves its effectiveness to increase relaxation in everyday life situations.

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