Virtual reality is great, but many people have reported getting motion sick during the experience. This sickness usually stems from your brain telling your body it is moving, while in fact you are staying stationary, or at least mostly stationary, the entire time. This sickness is the reason we have to use such high resolution screens at high refresh rates, and it can often make virtual reality experiences quite difficult to drive. Even with our current technologies however, this sickness can still take place in many people who are more sensitive to this type of movement. Fortunately, people are hard at work trying to solve this issue, and researchers at Columbia University seem to have found quite a viable solution.
The researchers found that by limiting the field of view of the viewers during peak states of movement, they can reduce motion sickness by a significant amount. During testing, software was used which closed off a wider amount of vision while the subject was being moved quickly, and the result was quite astonishing. The researchers tested the new limited view method on 30 different subjects, and the majority of them did not even notice their view was being limited. Those that did said they actually preferred the option, and all 30 test subjects said they felt more comfortable during testing.
There have been multiple different methods tested over the last few months aimed at helping reduce this feeling of sickness, but most of them require extremely experimental processes such as attaching electrodes to the backs of recipient’s heads. This method seems much more doable, and might actually be less taxing on hardware than many other sickness-reducing implementations. Software can easily reduce and expand field of view in many applications, and should be fairly easy to implement as well.
The researchers believe that virtual reality is going to be essential to our development as a culture, and we would have to agree with them. The implementations of the technology seem almost endless, and making the experience as comfortable as possible should be a top priority. As professor Steven K. Feiner, head researcher on the project says,
Virtual reality has the potential to profoundly change how we interact with people, machines, and information. It is critical that the experience be both comfortable and compelling, and we think we’ve found a way.
Would you be interested in trying out the implementation? Do you get motion sick often?