As virtual reality headsets begin arriving at the doorsteps of thousands of tech enthusiasts, one big question that’s on the minds of the hardware manufacturers, designers, developers and gamers alike, is just how severe will the so-called problem of virtual reality nausea be? While the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive have been tested and trialled extensively over the last year or two, it won’t be until widespread adoption sets in over the course of the next few months that we will really understand how big of a problem nausea may cause within the VR space.
With this said, soon such issues may be almost entirely eliminated as researchers at the Mayo Clinic claim to have patented something they call galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS) technology. What GVS does is eliminate the disconnect between a VR user’s brain and what they are seeing within the headset. This disconnect has been known to cause nausea, and many headset developers are trying their best to crank up the frame rates of their devices in order to eliminate some of these side effects. With that said, frame-rate increases are not the cure-all solution.
This is why the Mayo Clinic has licensed out their GVS technology to a company called vMocion, who is working to incorporate it into a new platform they call 3V (virtual, vestibular, and visual). 3V technology would utilize Mayo Clinic’s proprietary algorithms, along with a rather unintrusive system of electrode-like devices placed on a user’s forehead, nape of their neck, and the area behind each of their ears, to eliminate nausea. This system would then send signals to the user in which their brain can actually sense movements such as rotation, jars, etc.
“By adding this magical sensation of motion in gaming, movies, amusement parks, and other entertainment environments,” Brad Hillstrom, the chairman of vMocion, said, “Our 3v platform is enabling a whole new dimension of motion that creates a truly immersive experience well beyond the current virtual or augmented reality technology offerings.”
So not only could virtual reality sickness be avoidable, thanks to this new technology, but the entire VR experience could become even more life-like and immersive. Vmocion will now work to hopefully bring 3V technology to headset manufacturers. It may take some time, but virtual reality will trend more and more towards reality over the coming years ahead. Let’s hear your thoughts on this new technology in the Mayo Clinic VR Nausea forum on VRTalk.com. Check out the video below for a further explanation of GVS.