Virtual Reality games are unbelievably realistic and take gaming to a whole new level. But is it safe? Does it cause any health issues? As VR headsets become increasingly affordable, these questions are naturally coming out to the open.
The early VR headsets were notorious for causing nausea. Since the brain gets signals of movement while the user is still, it used to trigger motion sickness or nausea. Whenever there is a mismatch between the physical and mental signals, it will cause an unpleasant reaction. Sensory conflict theory suggests sickness caused by VR is similar to seasickness. Some people will experience it when they use VR while others won’t.
With the recent improvements, the chances of nausea have reduced significantly. But it is still a problem worth investigating.
Some slow moving games that involve head movement may cause people to throw up. The new generation of content developers are taking into account the VR sickness when designing the new games. This way, the gamers using the latest headsets don’t have to go through the same problems the first gen users went through.
Virtual reality sickness is not a new problem. Flight simulators used by trainee pilots are infamous for the “simulator sickness”.
But reducing the lag time and improving the game design has brought down the chances of virtual reality sickness to a great extent.
The long-term effects of virtual reality experiences are still being field tested. However, there are a few precautions that VR users can take to make the experience safer.
Location clearance: If you are setting up a VR room, make sure you can navigate through it without getting hurt. Clear away small tables, or chairs or other equipment that may cause you to fall. A loose wire, an oscillating fan are all hazards you cannot see when you are immersed in the VR world. VR proofing a room is like baby proofing it.
Setup: When you buy a new VR headset, take the time to set it up correctly to suit you in terms of the lens’ focal length, tightness of the band, etc. If the angle of lenses is not correct, you will experience vertigo. So take time to set up your headset correctly.
Timeout: it is common for gamers to spend hours at a stretch in their world. But you cannot do the same in virtual reality. It is very important to take long breaks between the sessions. Otherwise, you are in danger of getting very nauseous and may even throw up. Do not use a VR headset for longer than 30 minutes at a time.
Follow the rules: Whenever we bring a new electronic item, we toss the manual into the box and forget about it. You cannot afford to do that with VR. Read the safety manual and follow them diligently to ensure safe usage of this exciting technology.
Safety concerns in using VR can manage easily when you take these basic precautions and stick to the limits suggested by the headset makers.