Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Knowing the Nose

Professor's and scientists at the Purdue University may have found a resolution to reducing the feeling of sickness in virtual reality simulators: putting a "virtual nose" in the middle of the screen to help direct the eye's focus.

Assistant Professor David Whittinghill commented that simulator sickness is a common occurrence. "The problem is your perceptial system does not like it when the motion of your body and your visual system are out of synch. So if you see motion in your field of view you expect to be moving, and if you have motion in your eyes without motion in your you get sick."

Evidence from other simulators where there was a fixed object on the screen helped to reduce the intensity of the sickness symptoms, such as race car dashboards. An undergraduate student, Bradley Ziegler suggested sticking a nose in the middle as an alternative to having cockpits and dashboards cluttering up the space. Using 41 test subjects, they ran through a few simulations and were surprised to find that not only did the sickness reduce, but that no one noticed the nose. It was only after the team informed the subjects about the object, that they became aware of the nose blocking out a portion of their screen.

The research is ongoing as they don't know exactly why putting a nose on the screen is helping reduce simulator sickness. The thought is that a nose is a stable object that we are all accustomed to tuning out, but our senses know it's still there. So be prepared to see Call of Duty on the Oculus Rift with a giant nose in the middle of the screen.

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