Society of Simulations

Solutions to Virtual Reality’s Big Problem

Virtual reality glasses come with a big limitation: motion sickness. The human eye just wasn’t built to look at screens this way, you see yourself riding a virtual roller coaster while your body doesn’t feel the movement. This mental discrepancy not only affect the believability of the VR-experience, it also leaves you nauseous, dizzy and suffering from headaches.

Galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS) could be a way to trick the brains movement sensors. These sensors are chambers of fluid located in the inner ear. Put a low electrical current (+/- 9V) to the skin behind your ear and the sensors get stimulated. This produces a sensation of movement. A current to the left ear tells your brain your are moving to the left. You will automatically move your head to the right to compensate.

This sounds promising: equip your VR goggles with GVS and your will be ready for an extra realistic experience in the virtual world with no motion sickness. Sadly, it’s not as easy as it seems. The technique is still extremely inaccurate, stimulating lots of nerves at the same time. This lack of precision, combined with bad timing, reproduces the effect of reading while driving a winding road, you get motion sick again. So, unless you are looking for the virtual torture of a bad roller coaster trip, GVS is not something to try yet.

Few months ago we presented an alternative: researchers suggest that adding a virtual nose inside the virtual world might help as well. The virtual nose gives you a stable point of reference in the virtual world, the reference point does not need to belong to your body, a virtual dashboard reduced nausea as well. In the research the presence of a simulated nose slightly increased the time people could spend into virtual realities.

If you experience virtual reality sickness, here some handy tips for you. First of all, calibrate the device to your eyes, everyone has a different distance between the eyes. Secondly, turn down the volume and the brightness of the device. This will make the experience less intense and will help you control of your senses. Taking breaks helps as well. If you still get sick, try to eat something that contains ginger to fight the nausea, or turn off the virtual reality and go enjoy the real word!

Source: Wired (GVS), Wired (Virtual Nose), Tom’s Guide.
Image via: betto rodrigues / Shutterstock.com.

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