Why VR Gaming Makes Us Sick

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Virtual reality sounds like a fantastic idea, doesn’t it?

We can climb pyramids, battle orcs, and have a duel in space — all in an afternoon.

But for many of us, the most telling reality is the nausea we feel shortly after we engage in virtual reality.

This nausea, and the vomiting that sometimes follows, are caused by the same circumstances that cause motion sickness: the difference in what we see and what we feel.

That conflict creates the nausea and vomiting.

With motion sickness, three things are out of sync — our eyes tell us we’re not moving (flying in a plane, riding in the back seat of a car while reading a book), but our body (muscles and joints) and our inner ear tell us that we are moving.

With virtual reality, our eyes tell us we’re moving, but our body tells us we’re not moving, at least, not moving exactly as we seem to be doing in the world of virtual reality.

The inner ear is the third partner in virtual reality sickness. In there is the vestibular apparatus, which provides sensory information to the brain about “motion, equilibrium, and spatial orientation.”

Put these three things together — what our eyes see, what our body feels, and what our inner ear detects — and if they’re all working as they should, we can do loop-de-loops ‘til the cows come home and not get sick.

It’s when they get confusing information that things go awry.

Developers are working on potential solutions to the problem.

Until that anticipated day, we need to prevent virtual reality sickness. The best way we know to do that is to follow the science and wear a ReliefBand.

Happy gaming!

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