Italian start-up adds the sense of smell to virtual reality

On the occasion of ECRO 2022, one of the leading international scientific conferences on olfaction, which this year takes place in Berlin from August 31st to September 3rd, CyNexo, a north-eastern Italian start-up presented a further evolution of their already tried and tested, and much appreciated, Sniff-0 platform for the study of olfactory perception, from a neuroscientific point of view. It now offers scientists a great novelty: the ability to associate smells to objects and environments within a virtual reality. Thanks to the use of a viewer that allows you to enter an immersive reality, the user no longer has only the sensation of being in that space but can also perceive its smells. For example, if in the virtual world they were to pick up an orange and bring it to their nose to smell it, they would now also be able to recognize its scent.

The addition of the sense of smell to virtual reality pushes the immersive experience to another level which  becomes a very powerful, highly useful and innovative tool for scientists who study how our brain perceives and interprets odours.

Another innovative instrument presented by CyNexo, created to study the secondary effects of the SARS-CoV-2 virus on smell, is Sniff-nano. The need to evaluate olfactory performance and recognize the decrease or complete loss of smell (hyposmia and anosmia respectively), was one of the determining factors to start the research and development of innovative, economic and effective solutions to these new needs. Sniff-nano was born from the experience gained in the development of instrumentation for olfactometry, taking it a step further to create a compact and autonomous olfactometer for both olfactory research and clinical use.

In addition to the products presented, CyNexo offers a wide range of fully customizable devices, mainly intended for scientific research. They are able to cover the entire life cycle of the product: from the development of the initial idea, to the generation of a proof of concept, to prototyping, and up to the production of small quantities of final products.

CyNexo’s technical team was born within the mechatronics laboratory of SISSA (International School of Advanced Studies in Trieste, Italy), directed by Prof. Mathew Diamond. In 2018 CyNexo was recognized as one of only a handful official SISSA affiliated start-ups. The company now boasts a multidisciplinary team with proven technical skills developed through over fifteen years of collaborations with a range of internationally recognised advanced scientific laboratories. They also support research institutions in their European ERC / HORIZON projects as a technical partner.