The University of Waterloo, Canada has made research progress on the prediction of which virtual reality users are likely to get virtual reality motion sickness.
The researchers found that they could predict whether an individual would have cybersickness (virtual reality motion sickness) after using virtual reality technology by monitoring how much the person sways in response to a moving visual field.
What is cybersickness?
Cybersickness is nausea and discomfort caused by using virtual reality technology. The technology is used in gaming, skills training, and clinical rehabilitation. Cybersickness can last for hours after participating in virtual reality applications.
The benefits of predicting virtual reality motion sickness
Virtual reality technology has many applications across varying fields, some of which can improve the wellbeing of users. One example of the research into the benefits of virtual reality in therapy is the study on the potentially anxiety-reducing effects of virtual reality technology for people aged 65 and over. Séamas Weech is the lead author of the paper and a postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo. Weech said: “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 can make them feel sick… our results show 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.”
Michael Barnett-Cowan, a neuroscience professor in the Department of Kinesiology and senior author of the paper, added:”Knowing who might suffer from cybersickness, and why, allows us to develop targeted interventions to help reduce, or even prevent, the onset of symptoms…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.”