Virtual reality is becoming one of the mainstream medium to consume content these days. There are some limitations of using the technology and one of the most trivial limitation is motion sickness. Motion sickness is caused when the balance signals from your inner earlobe doesn’t agree with the visual data captured by your eyes. In VR experiences when we are navigating using the controller the visual data seems to give a feel that you are navigating but in real worl you are not actually moving. The inner earlobe doesnt get a impression you are actually moving so you end up having a motion sickness.
‘Otolith labs’, a technology company based out of Washinton DC claims to have solved the VR locomotion-induced sickness. Their solution claims to prevent the cause not just the after effects.
Strapped in just behind the ear with a headband, the non-invasive gadget generates vibrations against the inner ear nerve responsible for transmitting balance information to the brain. Owen, the man behind the device, says the device is comfortable and “virtually silent”.
Owen believes the vibrations flood the inner ear with “white noise” and that it causes the brain to ignore the input from the inner ear. Owen said they’ve observed no other effects of the gadget other than your your brain being more comfortable with simulated movement.
Researchers at Jaguar Land Rover conducted a double blind study of the device which was submitted to the Journal of Vestibular Study. This isn’t the only time this technique for mitigating VR sickness has been studied. Back in March, researchers at Queen’s University in Canada published a study in the PLOS ONE journal to assess the effectiveness of the idea. Their results were also positive, finding that it worked across a range of virtual scenarios.
Spaces co-founder Brad Herman has already patented an application in 2014 that describes a similar concept to the OtoTech.