Underwater VR could help with motion sickness

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Motion sickness is a common complaint among Virtual Reality users. The conflict between a stationary body and a moving screen can create a disorientating and even nauseous situation for players.

As a result, several research teams have attempted to find solutions to the problem - also known as cybersickness.

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And now, one researcher has found that using VR submerged in water could be the best way forward.

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Underwater VR?

Of course, this doesn't mean you should jump in the bath with your Oculus Quest 2 attached.

Instead, Ballast VR offers customers the chance to try out its 'Divr' headset. This is a custom VR device that comes with a built-in snorkel.

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Using the Divr headset, players can experience a deep diving simulation, or even a 'Spaced Out' experience that simulates floating in space.

Alongside creating a unique VR experience, Ballast VR may have also inadvertently discovered a solution for cybersickness.

Motion Sickness Cure

Writing in AIXR, Ballast's CTO Ando Shah noted the lack of VR motion sickness while underwater.

"Floating in water seems to interrupt the vestibular system or the inner ear’s ability to sense orientation, acceleration and velocity, probably due to the lack of gravity while floating," Shah said.

"Aquatic virtual reality users feel no motion sickness when there are velocity and position changes in the virtual world, as there is no cognitive dissonance associated with it, since the inner ear does not have the ability to make this comparison in water."

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Geraldine Fauville, a University of Gothenburg researcher, has since carried out a study into aquatic VR using Ballast's experience. As reported by Freethink, she found participants submerged in water reported they felt as if they had moved further than those on dry land, despite both groups remaining still. This demonstrates aquatic VR can create a more immersive, less nauseous experience in which users believe they are in motion.

What's the point?

Ballast VR currently uses its aquatic VR for water slides and in theme parks, but the technology has additional users that could prove vital for exploration.

While aquatic VR may not see much consumer use for gaming purposes, it could offer astronauts and divers new opportunities to train and practice in zero-gravity situations without the risks.

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READ MORE: Best VR headsets 2021: The top VR gaming systems to get you started