Virtual reality has become one of the most popular technologies in the past few years. Different headsets are being used by people for getting a wonderful experience in the world of virtual reality. With Facebook acquiring Oculus VR in a $2 billion dollar deal, the importance of this technology has grown even more. Events like Comic-Con and South By Southwest, have seen the extensive use of VR. However, among all these advancements, there is an obstacle which is faced by people using the VR headsets and that is ‘sim sickness’. Read Also – Physical World gets a Virtual Dimension with Augmented Reality
What is ‘Sim Sickness?’
‘Sim sickness’ is a type of motion sickness that is experienced by some people who use virtual reality headsets like Sony’s Project Morpheus or Oculus Rift. Even developers, who are responsible for creating virtual reality games, suffer from this problem initially. One of them who experienced “general nausea and malaise” during the development of VR games is E McNeill, the creator of VR game Ciess and Darknet.
Nausea is the most common symptom of this sim sickness. According to the President and Founder of Design Interactive Inc., Dr. Kay Stanney, the probable effects of the ailment might get more complicated.
However, Stanney also says that VR companies can use sim sickness in a positive way for marketing purpose.
Postural instability and hand-eye coordination challenge is another problem which people can face when they remove their VR head-mounted displays and come back to the real world. After calculating the after-effects of postural instability to blood alcohol level, it has been found that users of VR headsets will be physiologically drunk and if they drive after that, it might be a matter of concern.
How to Overcome this Obstacle?
The effects of sim sickness can be countered by working on the hardware of the VR HMDs. In fact hardware makers are already working on this matter.
Guy Freestone, who is the Product Manager at TVPlayer Ltd. in the UK, has been researching on virtual reality for quite some time now. He has been able to distinguish between sicknesses that can be dealt by overcoming the hardware limitations and those which can be solved within the software. According to Freestone, Oculus Rift has overcome the hardware issues. However, sim sickness caused due to unsuitable software implementations needs to be worked upon.
With proper software implementation, disconnect between what the eye sees and what the body feels, can be reduced, which in turn will reduce the motion sickness. Also, with time and regular exposure to VR, motion sickness of the users will be reduced significantly. Like every new technology, VR also has its own share of obstacles which needs to be overcome so that users are able to get an interactive, safe and enjoyable experience.
Image Source – gameskinny.com