Some Effects of Using Virtual Reality Technology
This paper discusses some of the effects on the user of immersive virtual reality technology. Effects in this context refers to negative or unwanted side-effects of the technology, such as nausea.
In a study that set out to document the frequency of occurrence and severity of side-effects of immersion in VR, 150 subjects were immersed in the VR system for 20 minutes. Subjects were required to provide ratings on a 1–6 malaise scale immediately prior to the immersion, at 5 minute intervals during the 20 minute immersion period, and at 5 and 10 minutes post-immersion. Subjects also completed a standard simulator sickness questionnaire both immediately before and immediately after the immersion. Sixty-one percent of the subjects reported some symptoms of malaise at some point during the 20 minute immersion period and 10 minute post immersion period. These ranged from symptoms such as headaches and eyestrain to severe nausea. Five percent of the subjects had to withdraw from the study due to the severity of their symptoms.
Two possible causes of the side-effects documented are discussed. The first of these possible causes is that immersion in VR causes a conflict of the senses which results in the malaise. The second is that technological factors, such as the resolution of the displays, are responsible for some of the symptoms. Clear experimental data is lacking on these issues, and hence a program of investigation is underway.
KeywordsVirtual Reality Motion Sickness Virtual Reality System Severe Nausea Virtual Reality Technology
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