One of the biggest barriers to making virtual reality (VR) a household staple is this: it has a tendency to make people feel sick. VR sickness has been around for a lot longer than Oculus Rift. In the 1950s, U.S. Navy researchers who used a type of virtual reality to train helicopter pilots dubbed it "simulator sickness," and we've been trying to find ways to overcome it ever since. Authors of a Purdue University study that was presented at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco in 2015 may have found a solution: add a nose. For the study, 41 participants engaged in a variety of VR experiences ranging from exploring a Tuscan villa to riding a roller coaster. For half of the subjects, a fairly large virtual nose was placed at the lower center of their screens. Sure enough, those with the noses were able to stay an average of 94.2 seconds longer in the Tuscan villa simulation and 2.2 seconds longer on the roller coaster—both large effects when you consider how much faster the coaster is liable to make you sick than the villa. Researchers think that the virtual nose may have a stabilizing effect that keeps our visual and motion systems from going off-kilter. More surprisingly, none of the subjects even knew the nose was there until the researchers told them, perhaps because of the phenomenon known as unconscious selective attention. What other challenges does VR face? Explore the topic with the videos below.
Is A Nose The Cure For VR Sickness?
Find out how adding a nose may cut down on simulator sickness.
Why Does Virtual Reality Make People Sick?
What's causing all that high-tech nausea?
Is Virtual Reality Sexist?
Women may be at a higher risk of simulator sickness than men. Find out why.
Written by Curiosity Staff September 13, 2016
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