Scientists reported method to predict whether a person is likely to suffer from cybersickness – a type of motion sickness caused by using virtual reality technology
Cybersickness is characterized by symptoms such as nausea and discomfort that can last for hours after participating in Virtual Reality (VR) applications, which have become prevalent in gaming, skills training, and clinical rehabilitation. Researchers from the University of Waterloo, Canada developed a method to predict whether an individual is at risk of suffering from cybersickness by analyzing how much person is inclined towards visual field. This method is estimated to have application for developing counteractions to cybersickness.
“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,” said Seamas Weech, a postdoctoral research fellow at University of Waterloo. “Our results show that this is partly due to differences in how individuals use vision to control their balance,” said Weech. “By refining our predictive model, we will be able to rapidly assess an individual’s tolerance for virtual reality and tailor their experience accordingly,” he said.
As a part of study, 30 healthy participants aged 18-30 were enrolled. Several sensorimotor measures such as balance control and self-motion sensitivity, were collected from these participants. Furthermore, they were exposed to VR for examining the severity of motion sickness. The regression model was used to predict level of cybersickness experienced by participants after being exposed to a zero-gravity space simulator in VR.
“Knowing who might suffer from cybersickness, and why, allows us to develop targeted interventions to help reduce, or even prevent, the onset of symptoms,” said Michael Barnett-Cowan, a neuroscience professor at University of Waterloo. “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,” said Barnett-Cowan.