The disparity of eye vector orientation and proprioception demonstrated with the Oculus VR.

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Recently I after playing with my Oculus VR with some games and environments with a Galazy S7 Edge, I had spoken with some other users, several of whom complained of becoming nauseous after some use with it. Unlike about  25 to 33% of the population (depending on which statistical data you use to compare), I am not prone to motion sickness so I hadn’t experienced this and so I questioned those users and found they had all been prone to motion sickness to some extent. I theorized that it probably had to do with the fact that the motion sensory system had to do with head position and not eye direction. This is a major factor in common instances of motion sickness.

For example, someone prone to motion sickness may be able to easily drive a car on a windy road with no effect, but if they are a passenger instead of the driver, they are more likely to be looking in direction other than the direct forward direction (e.g. slightly to the left when turning left or slightly to the right when tuning right.) in other words maintaining a view on the vector of movement and slightly ahead of the current position. As soon as the individual separates the direction of view from this vector, any mild disorientation is likely to initiate the motion sickness effect.

The same is true when wearing an Oculus VR headset. The Fact that there is no eye-tracking leads the user to a disparity of directional viewing vector and head orientation which will cause motion sickness in those prone to it.

This is noticeable when using a game that uses the orientation of the head to create a point in the virtual space “in front” of the user. The point only moves when you move your head, but when you move your eyes, iit doesn’t move. This creates an interesting paradigm of disparity between a seemingly immersive virtual environment and the way the brain processes visual information using both proprioception (primarily of the head) and visual vectors of orientation. When these are disconnected as in a virtual environment, then there is a blank area of perception that is most easily recognized by those who are prone to motion sickness.

Two issues then present themselves which can be taken as potential solution opportunities:

1.       Could this type of virtual reality be used in a therapeutic sense to see if there is a way of reducing motion sickness through development of a training in an environment that already separate these two elements.

2.       This is also an opportunity to add eye-tracking hardware and associated software to account for this disparity and create a more effective virtual environment.

 I will post more regarding this after more experimentation. There are different issues with the tactile UI which I will address separately, If you have any questions, just ask.


About rrglaser

Sr. UX Architect/director, with avocations in music, science & technology, fine arts & culture. Finding ways of connecting disparate ideas, facts, and concepts into solving problems. In the last 30 years, I have worked at (among others) various Ad agencies, Xerox, Pitney Bowes, Shortel, Philips (medical imaging R&D), CloudCar. I prefer to stand at the vertex of art, technology, culture and design since there is the where the best view of the future exists. "Always learning, since I can't apply what I haven't yet learned."
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