Will AltspaceVR cause motion sickness?

Why do some people feel ill in VR?

It is a popular belief that all VR causes vertigo and nausea. The problem stems from a discrepancy between what your eyes are seeing, and what your inner ear is transmitting to your brain. When your eyes detect motion, and your ears communicate that you are standing still, some individuals' brain may react by inducing dizziness and nausea. Some people who are more susceptible to motion sickness may be more sensitive to this phenomenon, while others may not have an issue with it whatsoever. 

There are several things that are done at the hardware level, and some in AltspaceVR's software that severely reduce or completely eliminate the nausea-inducing motion in VR.

Hardware-Based Nausea Reduction

Contemporary VR hardware, including Gear VR, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive, reduces motion sickness by presenting video frames at a rate that eliminates the latency that can cause nausea. If the software is optimized, as AltspaceVR is, then there is no perceived delay when you turn your head in VR. The accelerometers in the HMD are communicating movement and transmitting that telemetry faster than the human eye can detect any latency. On HMD models outfitted with positional cameras, this goes a step further, not only is rotational movement represented, so is lateral (side to side) motion.

Software-Based Nausea Reduction

In addition to hardware improvements and framerates, AltspaceVR has implemented several features that help people reduce and eliminate nausea:

  • Teleporting - Being able to move instantaneously from point-to-point does not communicate motion to the brain, thereby eliminating motion sickness.
  • Snap Turning - On all hardware, AltspaceVR provides means for "ratcheted" or "stepped" rotation of the view in VR. In other words when turning, your view will pivot about 20 degrees of rotation. Again, this does not trigger nausea in most people.
  • Snap Motion - On certain hardware, including the Gear VR, swiping forward on the touchpad will move the perspective forward in an increment that does not trigger motion sickness. 


Suggestions for Eliminating Motion Sickness

Stand Still

Some VR HMDs that are mobile phone based, do not have this positional camera element. One may notice that slight shifts of weight while standing can cause faint dizziness. We recommend that while using Mobile HMDs, you should try to either remain seated, or standing with your weight centered on your feet. This will help eliminate the sensation that what you are seeing in VR, conflicts with small side-to-side motions.

Don't Use a Mouse/KB or Controller

AltspaceVR offers users the option to use standard gaming peripherals such as Mouse/Keyboard and Game controllers to move in VR as you would in a video game. This includes multi-directional movement, strafing, and a turbo button. We recommend using these only after becoming accustomed to being in VR. Even then, please take it slow.

You Can Always Bail Out

If you experience nausea, please remove your HMD immediately. Regain your equilibrium, calm your stomach, and when ready return to the VR environment. Try to remember the movement that caused the sensation and refrain from repeating it.

Know When it's Time to Exit VR

Most importantly, know when it is time to take a break. You know your body, and when it is giving you strong indication that something is wrong, listen. Take a break and get some air. Walk around and realign your equilibrium. Once you feel good again, come back, we're confident the party will still be going!

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