Virtual nose can soothe VR motion sickness, study shows

If the blight of nausea is the main reason you’re not so keen on virtual reality, science may have the answer. It’s all in the nose.

A new study, courtesy of Purdue University, claims a virtual schnoz will put a stopper on sickness.

Motion-induced nausea is one of the most common complaints levied against virtual reality, and it’s this woe that inspired the research.

The University team rounded up 41 participants to try out a selection of VR apps that all involved movement.

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Some of the apps included riding a roller-coaster or walking around a villa; half of the participants had a nose superimposed on the screen, while half didn’t.

“We’ve discovered putting a virtual nose in the scene seems to have a stabilising effect,” said David Whittinghill, an assistant professor at Purdue who led the study.

Virtual nose 02

Apparently, the effect is thanks to the fact that the nose becomes a point of reference for the user, just as it is in real life.

While everything moves around the user, the nose stays in place and grounds the motion.

According to the professor, effects of sickness were reduced by around 13.5 per cent, and most didn’t even notice the nose was there.

“It’s a big honking nose,” explained Whittinghill. “It never occurred to us that they wouldn’t perceive it, but they were almost universally baffled about what we were even talking about.”