How to overcome motion sickness when playing in virtual reality

Virtual reality is a gift that never stops giving away. It has never been so easy to immerse yourself in the worlds of your favorite games. Virtual reality (VR) lets you get into the (almost literal) skin of your favorite characters in the comfort of your own home.

Despite this call for virtual adventures, it is not the most comfortable experience for everyone. Many RV users report different types of discomfort while playing. But why is that?

Why does virtual reality make us feel sick?

According to an article in the International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, the most common symptoms of virtual reality-induced motion sickness are eye fatigue, disorientation, and nausea.

While the exact reason why people experience virtual reality motion sickness varies, we usually attribute it to the asymmetry between various sensory information. For example, our eyes tell us to move, but the rest of the body does not. This experience confuses our brain, which cannot differentiate between the virtual and the physical world.

Because virtual reality (VR) is still a relatively new technology, there is still no definitive study that reveals how many people experience virtual reality disease. However, there are enough people who experience it to be a cause for concern.

Fortunately, being prone to virtual reality movements does not mean that you will never experience the joys of virtual reality.

Tips for overcoming virtual reality motion sickness

Girl with VR helmet

Scientists have identified the three main factors that cause virtual reality disease: hardware, content, and individual human factors. In this guide, we will share examples of how to manage each of them.

1. Get proper nutrition

As with many other things, prevention is better than cure. To prevent nausea while playing virtual reality, dry foods can be eaten for several hours instead of some hearty meals. Dry foods such as cookies, cereal or toast can help keep your stomach seated. It is also good to drink plenty of water and avoid sweet, caffeinated or dairy-based drinks.

Alternatively, you can also consume ginger as a tea, biscuit, beer or capsule. Ginger contains bioactive compounds (gingerol, paradol and shogaol) that interact with the central nervous system. It has a long history of use as a safe and effective treatment for the symptoms of nausea.

2. Start with shorter intervals

Like any new skill, it’s important that you take your time. Don’t force yourself to play RV when you have nausea. Make an effort to pause between games to reorient yourself in your physical environment.

One of the critical signs you should stop is when you experience a delay within the game. Due to latency issues, some virtual reality headsets may have delays or problems. If you notice a disconnect between what’s going on in the game and what you’re experiencing, it’s time to stop and reset or recalibrate your device.

3. Practice with different virtual reality games

Some games can cause more motion sickness than others. If this is your first time playing VR, try playing games designed to guide you with various sensations. Knowing the different aspects of virtual reality can help manage the initially overwhelming sensory disconnect.

For example, start with games that start with simple moves, such as interacting with objects. Then switch to games that allow for space recognition, such as teleporting or experiencing heights. Finally, you can learn about complex virtual movements like walking, running, or even fighting.

Related: The best social virtual reality experiences to spend time with friends

4. Keep the room cool

virtual reality

Although VR technology has come a long way, it still suffers from several limitations. One of the most common problems of today’s bulky commercial headphones is the generation of heat.

Many people who suffer from motion sickness also experience sensation of heat and sweat. To help alleviate this discomfort, you can keep the room cool when you play by turning on the air conditioning or fan.

5. Take medication

You can also try taking one of the many pills that claim to help relieve nausea from motion sickness. Keep in mind that they will not work for everyone and you need to be careful with medications.

As with many medications, always consult a doctor to get the dose before taking them and check if this is a suitable medicine for you.

6. Pressure point laptops

If you are against using medications for fun, an alternative is to use pressure point items. Pressure point equipment helps to pressure the right places to relieve the symptoms of nausea naturally. They usually come as bracelets or bangles.

At the time of writing, there is no usable pressure point designed for virtual reality. However, diving pressure points are available that will offer a similar effect.

7. Change the controller clicks for actual movements

If you’re not interested in virtual reality games that don’t need drivers, there’s still an alternative. Virtual reality software companies have designed software to help mimic the natural movement in virtual reality space.

Natural Locomotion works to emulate the very input of virtual reality controllers to more natural physical movements. For example, instead of pressing a button to advance or jump, you can do the movements physically.

Software like this helps solve the motion sickness of virtual reality by reducing the sensory dissociation of habitual virtual reality experiences. If you keep your body moving similar to what you are experiencing during play, you can reduce the stress on your vestibular system.

8. Update the VR hardware

Aside from software, incorporating hardware designed to mimic the body’s natural movement can help relieve VR motion sickness. If you’re willing to spend a little more, you can invest in hardware that can enhance your experience.

There is a lot of commercially available hardware to augment your VR moves, such as VR treadmills, shooting game weapons, and even shoes.

VR hardware

Don’t let VR motion sickness stop you

Virtual reality motion sickness can be an incredibly stressful experience, especially when playing in front of a group. While it can be confusing for some people, it doesn’t have to define your experience with virtual reality forever.

Ideally, virtual reality equipment should feel like an extension of the body, not like an overweight. As virtual reality technology evolves, ease of use should improve with it.

Meanwhile, the human body can learn to move in new spaces. Adapting to virtual reality is a lot like learning to drive; you need to practice until it feels natural.

In the coming years, the use of virtual reality will only continue to grow and become more integrated into our daily lives. When working to overcome the disease of virtual reality, you don’t have to be left behind.

Virtual reality at the convention
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