Having VR motion sickness? A cure is headed your way soon

With Virtual reality headsets such as the Oculus Rift available to consumers, soon users might find themselves dealing with headaches and nausea from the motion effects of VR. Besides apart from the fact that research has shown that one of the major issues of VR could cause eye strain, the Oculus Rift’s guidelines also notes that possible side effects could range from nausea, dizziness and seizures to children who have engaged in prolonged use.

Now, as technology evolves, so does science and healthcare, so we could be certain that there’s always a remedy for an affliction caused by technology itself. The Mayo Clinic may have found a solution to VR sickness; Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation, GVS. This algorithm can trick the brain into syncing what you’re seeing in VR with physical stimulation within a tenth of a second.

The nausea most people feel when putting on Virtual Reality headsets is as a result of a synchronization problem: the motion you’re seeing on the screen often lags behind the movement of your body. GVS principle is simple; It uses sensors on your forehead, neck, and ears to tell the VR software exactly where your head is positioned at all times. That is, electrodes are placed behind each of the users ear, on the forehead and at the base of the skull. After which, electrical impulses are sent to simulate the type of vestibular responses one would have for rotating left or right. In essence, the Mayo Clinic has found a way to synchronize what your body is feeling with what your eyes are seeing.

Although the GVS technology was licensed this week by Mayo Clinic to VMocion, a Los Angeles-based VR entertainment company, no hardware or software makers such as HTC, Sony or Oculus have signed up yet, even though the technology has been used for years in the U.S. military to eliminate fighter pilots’ motion sickness while using training simulators.

“Our research has proven that GVS can mitigate simulator sickness among pilots,” said Michael Cevette, co-director of the Mayo Clinic lab.

What makes this technology unique is that we have found a way to synchronize the inner ear stimulation with what people see visually on a movie screen or a gaming device, so they actually can feel the motion that they are seeing in real time.

Lots of users have already started to experience slight nausea feeling when using the VR headsets (well i haven’t used one yet so i cant say for certain), Some companies such as Sony suggests that all games and other applications written for PlayStation VR must be able to sustain frame rates of 60fps or better so as to alleviate this sickness and improve the visual experience. Other companies such as Mozilla targets at least 90fps for its WebVR technology. Vmocion on the other hand believes that even 90fps won’t completely solve the motion sickness problem.

Implementing this tech seems impossible right now especially when Oculus rift has started to deliver its VR headsets, PlayStation VR pre-orders are already open and the Vive releases next month. Still one way or the other, especially since it would make the use of VR stress free, it will be acheived.

Virtual reality (VR) can be referred to as immersive multimedia or computer-simulated reality, VR creates or replicates an immersive environment similar to the real world in order to create a lifelike experience, allowing the user to interact with that world. Virtual realities artificially create sensory experience, which can include sight, touch, hearing, and smell.

Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit medical practice and medical research group based in Rochester, Minnesota. It is the first and largest integrated nonprofit medical group practice in the world, employing more than 3,800 physicians and scientists and 50,900 allied health staff. It spends over $500 million a year on research.

Dr. William Worrall Mayo settled his family in Rochester in 1864 and opened a medical practice that evolved under his sons into Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic is widely regarded as one of the world’s greatest hospitals and ranked No. 1 on the 2014–2015 U.S. News & World Report List of “Best Hospitals”, maintaining a position near the top for more than 20 years. It has been on the list of America’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” published by Fortune magazine for eight consecutive years.

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