Despite numerous advancements in virtual reality technology, one of the biggest issues hardware manufacturers and software developers still face is how to counter motion sickness. The VR headsets available in the market mostly force players to move their head or eyes around while the body mostly stays stationary or moves only slightly. This ends up triggering motion sickness because the brain feels as if you are on a roller coaster or a fast-moving car. The degree of motion sickness differs from individual to individual and some don’t feel it at all. However, those who do, our guide on Tips to avoid virtual reality motion sickness should help them counter its effects if they use VR headsets for a long duration.
Tips To Avoid Virtual Reality Motion Sickness
As mentioned above, VR motion sickness depends on a number of factors including the hardware you are using and the software itself with which you are experiencing VR content. Company’s like Fantom Fathom have worked on products to minimize or completely eliminate VR sickness but not every solution works for everyone so our tips given below might need to be tried one by one to see which one works best for you.
Work Your Way Up
While moving around, painting stuff or shooting bad guys is really fun in virtual reality, just the fact that you are moving around so much can be a motion sickness trigger for some. It is generally a good idea to start your VR journey with seated experiences first and then gradually move your way to standing VR apps. For example, if you are playing a game, start off with playing it while sitting on a chair or couch and with a normal controller. As you get used to the VR movement in the game, then you can switch to Touch controllers and motion tracking to fully experience the fun.
Even once you get used to VR, it is not a good idea to keep wearing the VR headset for a number of hours continuously as your eyes and brain need rest from all that motion. Start off slowly with small sessions of VR experiences and continue to build upwards as your body gets used to virtual reality so ultimately you can play or work in VR for 3-4 hours in a go. Similarly, try to start off with VR content where you control the movement like Google Tiltbrush instead of games that just throw you in the mix of a lot of action and you have to constantly move or look around to fight and survive.
While this should be obvious but it needs to be said, invest in better hardware when trying to experience VR content and if you want to avoid virtual reality motion sickness. Better hardware doesn’t just mean a high-quality VR headset instead of cheap branded ones but also the hardware of your PC on which you are going to experience the VR content. If your computer can’t handle VR games and apps smoothly, you shouldn’t try to force yourself and it is better to wait for a computer upgrade.
While big companies like Oculus and HTC have mentioned the recommended specifications which should be used for VR content, it doesn’t hurt to have a PC that exceeds those requirements just so your content can be extra smooth and not trigger motion sickness for you. For example, a GTX 970 is a minimum requirement for VR content and while it can run most games just fine, it is a good idea to invest in something more powerful like a GTX 1070 just so you can have that extra smoothness and frames. If your VR content continuously lags, you are bound to feel virtual reality sickness after a while and powerful hardware can help counter that. Since most VR headsets have a refresh rate of 90Hz, it is best that you make that the frame rate target when playing VR content to avoid virtual reality motion sickness.
Besides the tips to avoid virtual reality motion sickness mentioned above, there are also some unorthodox methods, which have worked for some people in the past for number of motion sickness related issues and could potentially work for VR sickness as well.
- Eat ginger. Yes it may sound weird but it is known to counter nausea so an hour before putting on a VR headset and immersing yourself in the virtual world, eat a small piece of ginger or take some ginger supplement
- Take an antiemetic medicine like Dramamine, which counters the effects of motion sickness. Originally intended for people who get sick when travelling but since it counters motion sickness so should work against VR induced motion sickness as well.
- Wear a sea-band if you aren’t interested in taking any medications. These bands are designed to block nerve points on your wrist, which lead to motion sickness. While these bands are originally intended for people who travel on seas as the name suggests but they have been known to provide some relief against VR sickness.
So there you have it, some of our Tips to Avoid Virtual Reality Motion Sickness. Whether all of these solutions work for you or not depends on your constitution and susceptibility to motion sickness. If you have any other solutions in mind, share them in the comments below.