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Virtual reality has a motion sickness problem

People prone to nausea may opt out of immersive experiences

6:00am, March 7, 2017
Resident Evil 7 screen capture

NOT JUST THE JITTERS  Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is one of the most popular virtual reality games available. But it has also gained a reputation for making people motion sick.

Tech evangelists predicted that 2016 would be “the year of virtual reality.” And in some ways they were right. Several virtual reality headsets finally hit the commercial market, and millions of people bought one. But as people begin immersing themselves in new realities, a growing number of worrisome reports have surfaced: VR systems can make some users sick.

Scientists are just beginning to confirm that these new headsets do indeed cause a form of motion sickness dubbed VR sickness. Headset makers and software developers have worked hard to combat it, but people are still getting sick. Many in the industry fear this will be a major obstacle to mass adoption of virtual reality.

“A lot of VR, people today cannot tolerate,” says Kay Stanney, a human factors engineer with a focus on VR at Design Interactive in Orlando, Fla. Search for “VR sickness” on Twitter, she says, and you’ll see that people are getting sick every day.

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