Excedrin’s Virtual Reality Migraine Experience is Almost Too Real to Believe


a1While virtual reality gaming seems to be all the rage now-a-days, it’s other experiences and applications which could drive the technology into new areas over the coming months and years ahead.  Some of those areas are not exactly fun for the user, like with Genworth’s R70i Virtual Reality Aging Suit.  Still though, such experiences allow others to put themselves in the shoes of the disadvantaged and learn quite a bit.

For example, take Excedrin’s new virtual reality migraine simulator as one of the ways that family members can share the agony with the sufferer, thanks in part to virtual reality.  My wife, Heidi, can suffer from severe migraines, which come about almost every month.  While she lays in bed in agony, unable to move more than a few inches before being overcome with pain, it bothers me that I’m unable to understand completely what she is going through.  That lack of knowledge is no longer set in stone, as Excedrin, the maker of one of the world’s leading migraine medications, has rolled out a virtual reality-powered simulation of a migraine.  Each simulation that the company has set up was catered to specific migraine sufferers.  Once complete, the VR experience was provided to family members of the sufferer, and the results were quite impressive.

New York Daily News’ Diana Crandall tried the simulator on for herself, and said that it was “nearly unbearable.” She continued to describe the simulation in the following passage: “I couldn’t compose a text message, let alone scroll through a newsfeed. I sat helplessly trying to make a phone call. I staggered down my office hallway in a seemingly drunken stupor, grasping at walls to try and steady my steps.  I could barely focus on putting one foot in front of the other, making talking while walking akin to a mission impossible.”

The simulation is able to replicate many of the key symptoms of a typical migraine, including changes with light and sound, disorientation, and aura, which are visual changes that usually include spots with oddly shaped edges.  While Excedrin has created these experiences for particular individuals, the company plans on releasing a virtual reality application sometime in May, so that anyone with a Google Cardboard VR headset and a smartphone can download the app and experience many of the symptoms of a migraine themselves.

I look forward to finally being able to experience at least a small part of what my wife has to deal with nearly every month. Let’s hear your thoughts on this virtual reality experience in the Excedrin Migraine Experience forum on VRTalk.com.  Check out the video below to better understand the simulation: