The Feelreal virtual reality smell mask isn’t a vaping product, it doesn’t contain nicotine, and it doesn’t promote e-cigarettes. It does though, fall into the ban of the vaporization of aromatic liquids for consumer inhaling. The FDA has put a ban on any product of the sort, and the Feelreal VR Smell Mask, unfortunately, falls into the category. Although the company was certain that they find their way around this, there is one last step that is going to make or break the companies future.
Feelreal first saw success back in 2015 but has most recently seen a bigger trail of success. In 2019, they raised nearly $200,000 between two different fundraising campaigns. The initial launch and shipment of the product was aimed for an August 2019 release, but that never materialized. The problem was attaching to the headset itself, something they still have yet to figure out.
The headsets that are compatible are the Oculus Go, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and the PSVR headset. The newest headsets of companies are not compatible, something that Feelreal will need to fix if they are approved for more production of their $209 product. The games that are supported with the newest smells are Beat Saber, Skyrim VR, and Arizona Sunshine. The list is still being created and developers can still integrate the smells through the Unity and Unreal SDKs.
The reason Feelreal is having problems though is the tech they use. Essentially, the mask is acting as multiple little vaping machines. They don’t have nicotine, but they still vaporize the scents fo consumption of the consumer. When this was first made back in 2016, vaping wasn’t a problem, especially at a federal level. Now, it has become a national scare and many complies and officials are taking definitive actions.
CNN has recently reported that the White House will soon announce a ban on all flavored vapes, other than tobacco and menthol flavors. This would make Feelreal need to retest their tech. If they pass, they will be able to continue on the production as scheduled. Without changing anything though, they will likely fail, forcing them to re-evaluate how they make their product. Feelreal will either need to shut the entire idea down or simply remake their entire mask.
Feelreal gave an update last week via Kickstarter, and it wasn’t the reassuring statement many were looking for.
The information we have received from FDA considers all types of vaping devices dangerous to people. Since Feelreal Mask is technically a vaping device, we had to start a new round of testing and improving the product to get a permission for mass production and sales.”
“We didn’t know about the possible danger when we have started to work on the Mask concept, and we do care about our users health. So if we don’t get the approval after a new series of tests, we will have to close the project. We’re terribly sorry for the inconveniences, but there’s nothing we can do at the moment. We couldn’t imagine that our Mask would fall under such restrictions.”
“We will put a new update right after we have any new details on this matter.”
As for the refunds, if this project is shut down, there is also no detail. Other than the fact that no one is sure where their money is going. A spokesperson said this about the matter:
“Unfortunately we can’t issue you a refund right now,” the spokesperson told a number of concerned backers. “Since it’s a crowdfunding campaign, all the funds were transferred to the production site. We are doing our best to bring Feelreal to you as soon as possible, but with the best of possible legal procedures. Project is not closed, we just have to postpone the realisation a bit more.”
This isn’t a pressing problem right now, but the FDA has surely thrown a wrench into the companies plans. For more VR news and community updates, make sure to check back at VRGear.com