TechnologyThe VR Motion Sickness

The VR Motion Sickness

The world of Virtual Reality is definitely as fun as it sounds like. But like every great thing in life it comes with certain drawbacks. Today we will be talking about one important health side-effect of Virtual Reality. When people put on a VR headset and enter a virtual environment, they may experience motion sickness, which causes them to feel dizzy or uncomfortable. Just like how you would feel in a car or sitting on a rollercoaster.

If you’ve had VR motion nausea before, it doesn’t mean you’ll always have it. It is possible to reduce nausea and, in some cases, altogether remove it. Today’s article is going to be all about VR motion sickness, why it happens, and how to avoid it so you can enjoy your favorite games and simulations.

What is motion sickness in VR?

Virtual Reality sickness (VR motion sickness) is a physical ailment when a user’s brain receives contradictory information about moving in a digital environment. While it’s impossible to forecast the exact number of people who may have VR motion sickness, software developers who construct VR and augmented reality (AR) environments frequently assume that 25% of viewers will get VR motion sickness. This is the same percentage of people who develop motion sickness on a plane when flying through turbulence at low altitudes.

VR sickness is caused by the brain receiving contradicting messages from the person’s eyes, inner ear, and bodily tissue sensory receptors. A significant sensation of nausea is frequently felt when a spectator observes a digital portrayal of oneself to move quickly in a digital setting. At the same time, the person’s natural body remains static. Like other types of simulator sickness, nausea, dizziness/loss of balance, tiredness, warmth, sweat, headaches, disorientation, eye strain, and vomiting are possible symptoms of VR motion sickness. According to research, participants in virtual reality encounters may feel uneasy for several hours after removing their VR headsets.

What are the causes of VR Sickness?

According to numerous theories, differences in how people utilize vision to retain their equilibrium might be one of the reasons for VR motion sickness. The major contributing factor is sensory conflicts that provide false information to the brain. This is because, while the person’s eyes may signal that they are roaming around a virtual world, their body may indicate that they are genuinely seated, resulting in a sensation of sickness.

Gender and age may also play a role in determining who is sensitive to VR motion sickness. Women, for example, are more likely than men to be affected. While some studies believe this is because women consume less virtual reality programming than men, others feel it is because women have better peripheral vision than men and require a larger field of view (FOV) to avoid motion sickness.

The user’s age and stage of life may also impact whether or not they feel VR sickness. Genetics may also play a role in determining who gets VR motion nausea. If a person’s family history includes migraines, inner ear troubles, vision problems, or past motion sickness experiences, their children may likely suffer in the same manner.

What influences VR sickness?

When creating VR experiences, there are several factors to consider to avoid the risk of motion sickness.

  • The Type of Headset

In virtual reality, the headgear and tracking utilized significantly influence whether or not someone gets motion sickness. Three degrees of freedom (3DoF) meant you could see up, down, and to the sides in 360 degrees with the first VR headsets.

In VR, you couldn’t walk around, and even if you could, the scene wouldn’t move with you, leaving you feeling uneasy and unbalanced (and perhaps a bruised leg from walking into your corner table). While 3DoF headsets are great for watching static 360-degree videos and photos, they aren’t meant to allow users to move around in a 3D world.

This problem can be handled using either 6-degrees-of-freedom (6DoF) or spatial tracking. Users have more flexibility of movement in the virtual environment with 6DoF headsets, and the environment around them changes accordingly. This reduces the feeling of disorientation by increasing your sense of presence and decreasing the contradictory impulses sent to your brain that cause motion sickness.

  • The Type of Controller

Another factor that influences VR motion sickness is the type of controller used. Controls were formerly only found on high-end headsets, but they are now much more ubiquitous and help to eliminate sensory conflict. It’s less unsettling to have hands in the virtual world and be able to see them rather than looking down in VR and seeing nothing you’d expect to see.

  • Latency

Latency is one of the most prominent causes of motion sickness in virtual reality. The length of time it takes for movement to register in-app is known as latency, and it might convey signals to your brain that something is wrong. Balance is disrupted if the display receives the call too late because your physical motions and activities do not match what you see or hear.

  • Eye Movement

Another consideration is that VR may cause motion sickness owing to the peculiar eye movements required to maintain the virtual scene stable on the retina.

There is a difference between what the brain expects the eye to experience and what the eye sees if the virtual environment moves differently than the eye anticipated. As a result, to stabilize the picture in VR on the retina, the eyes must move differently than usual, and it is this unique movement that creates motion sickness.

  • Postural Instability

One of the fascinating factors impacting motion sickness in virtual reality is postural instability. One of our basic jobs as animals is to maintain posture and stability, and we get unwell in situations where we have not yet learned to keep our balance. This is most easily understood in seasick people: their bodies seek to find homeostasis in a new circumstance.

If the virtual picture moves forward in VR, such as on a rollercoaster, the user will lean forward in real life to keep up with it. However, in VR, their body has not been pushed forward as it would be on a real rollercoaster. This is a new environment for the body to find equilibrium, resulting in postural instability and motion sickness.

The experience can increase based on the length of time exposed to the instability and its severity, as it does with other kinds of motion sickness. The same way your body reacts to boat postural instability, it can adjust to VR postural instability. As your body learns to maintain posture and balance in VR, motion sickness symptoms are predicted to fade.

Also Read: What Controllers Work With SteamVR?


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