How Do You Solve Virtual Reality Sickness? Try a Fake Nose

Virtual reality just might be the future of, well, everything (Facebook sure seems to think so anyways). Unfortunately, there’s one big obstacle no one’s been able to get around yet: those headsets make some people really, really sick.

While this VR-enabled motion sickness is caused for a wide variety of reasons, a team at Purdue University may have just found a potential solution, albeit at the cost of making everything you view look a little silly.

They simply inserted a digital nose in front of the player’s view, and voila, most of the study’s participants were cured of their motion sickness.

Why the hell does that work?

According to these researchers, the fake nose helps to “ground” a person’s senses, helping their brain to get over the fact that their eyes are seeing what their bodies aren’t feeling.

“Our suspicion is that you have this stable object that your body is accustomed to tuning out, but it’s still there and your sensory system knows it,” says David Whittinghill of Purdue University’s Department of Computer Graphics Technology.

I can’t argue with the results, but that giant nose is a major eyesore.

Interestingly though, Whittinghill added that most of the subjects didn’t even notice the nose until it was pointed out to them later. That seems pretty ridiculous considering how much screen space it takes up, but it seems the brain is better at filtering out that extraneous information than we would’ve guessed.

According to Whittinghill, “Surprisingly, subjects did not notice the nasum virtualis while they were playing the games, and they were incredulous when its presence was revealed to them later in debriefings… You are constantly seeing your own nose. You tune it out, but it’s still there, perhaps giving you a frame of reference to help ground you.”

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