Monthly Archives: June 2014

Poor Virtual Reality Experiences Recalibrate Vestibular System

An interesting conversation in the comments of Hacker News today.

  • Oculus Rift is the name of a really good virtual reality system; truly the first system to come along that avoids giving the user motion sickness
  • Google Cardboard is a recently released project by Google that lets you use your smartphone as virtual reality–however, the processors on a smartphone are not powerful enough to provide a good virtual reality experience; so motion sickness is induced pretty easily

From https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7945968:

toomuchtodo 7 hours ago | link

> In fact, many people have reported that spending time in VR, and taking a break whenever motion sickness creeps up, actually reduces motion sickness outside of VR. As in, people are saying “After playing in my Rift for a few weeks, I can suddenly read in the car for the first time!”Is this because the VR experience is causing your brain to recalibrate your vestibular system [1]?

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vestibular_system

reply

electromagnetic 4 hours ago | link

More than likely. Our brains are very adaptable, it would appear this is more similar to how people have been “recalibrated” to chronic pain and extreme phobias.The chronic pain example is that a prolonged duration (about 2 weeks) of being free of pain medications can cause the body to adapt and recognize it’s over-interpreting pain.

The extreme phobia was if you had someone with a severe phobia of snakes, you would put them into a room with a few dozen snakes in cages and lock them in until they recalibrate as their body can only stay in panic for so long. However… it isn’t the most ethical way as it actually is possible to suffer heart failure from fear.