Virtual Reality Games Can Cause Motion Sickness

As much as we love it, Virtual reality has a downside as well.

Virtual Reality is something that has recently become a part of our lives. There are a lot of benefits that have been associated with virtual reality. Besides taking gaming to the next level, virtual reality has   the power to combine theory with practical when it comes to education. It also helps in skill building..

However, there are some problems that have surfaced which are associated with the use of Virtual Reality. People, who have made virtual reality an active part of their lives have complained about suffering from nausea, dizziness, vomiting, headache and balance disorder, all symptoms of motion sickness. This phenomenon is known as Cybersickness.

The Science Behind It

Scientist from quite some time have been trying to solve this problem of Cybersickness. A recent study published in the Journal Of Neurophysiology in 2018 has a way in which this form of motion sickness can be subsided after using virtual reality gear. Seamas Weech, the lead researcher of the study mentions in the paper, “Despite decreased costs and significant benefits offered by VR, a large number of users are unable to use the technology for more than a brief period because it makes them feel sick.”

They tried to come up with a way to solve this, “Our results showed that this is partly due to differences in how individuals use vision to control their balance. By refining our predictive model, we will be able to rapidly assess an individual’s tolerance for virtual reality and tailor their experience accordingly.”

What Went Down

For the study, 30 healthy individuals between the ages of 18-30 volunteered. The individuals were exposed to VR to note the severity of cybersickness. The individual tests were based on various sensorimotor measures such as balance control and self-motion sensitivity of each of these individuals. The intensity of all the symptoms of cyber sickness after being exposed to to a zero-gravity space were noted for each of them.




Michael Barnett-Cowan, senior author in the research, mentions in the paper, “Knowing who might suffer from cybersickness, and why, allows us to develop targeted interventions to help reduce, or even prevent, the onset of symptoms. He added, “Considering this technology is in a growth phase with industries such as gaming, design, medicine and automotive starting to use it, understanding who is negatively impacted and how to help them is crucial.”

What We Learnt

The researchers finally concluded that they can predict if an individual will be affected by cybersickness or not and by what intensity. This can be done by noting down how much they sway in response to the movement in virtual reality. They feel that this knowledge will help them a great deal in developing an antidote to cybersickness.

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