In an effort to bring the other three senses up to par with sight and sound in the virtual landscape
, researchers in the UK have developed a headset that not only offers a stereoscopic display and four speaker surround sound, but throws in smells, tastes, and a fan for heating your grill up (or cooling it down) for good measure. The Virtual Cocoon doesn't look too terribly comfortable (this thing would be burdensome without the required tubes for the user's mouth and nose), but Professor Alan Chalmers of Warwick University doesn't seem to think this is a problem. If anything, the team is betting that you're going to welcome the opportunity to smell your co-workers when telecommuting, or your fellow cybernauts when running around Second Life. The device, which will have an estimated cost of £1,500 (around $2,100), should be ready for production within five years. More pics after the break.