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Prone to motion sickness? Here's what's being done to allow you to experience virtual reality

ABC 7 San Francisco logo ABC 7 San Francisco 7/1/2022 KGO
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We keep hearing about the Metaverse, which includes a world of games and entertainment created by virtual reality. But the immersive experience and the use of headsets are preventing some people from using this fast emerging technology because of motion sickness.

Virtual reality (VR) is already a $16 billion a year industry, used for training of oil and gas workers and pilots. The potential for explosive growth lies in consumers donning VR headsets for entertainment and games if they can overcome a hurdle.

A major problem for this industry is motion sickness. It's estimated one-third of all people do suffer from it. So how do they address that?

"I've had motion sickness when I've done VR, and sometimes it has occurred right after getting out or sometimes a couple of hours later," acknowledged Adrian Steckel, CEO of The VOID, which creates virtual reality experiences. He doesn't want motion sickness to take away from believing what they're seeing and feeling.

VIDEO: iChina to debut Silicon Valley's 1st virtual reality dining room, no VR headset needed

"Sometimes people forget that, and your head or your eyes get ahead of the body, and that doesn't work," said Steckel. The VOID is working with XCOM Labs and headset maker HTC on multiple fronts -- by improving the refresh rate of video so it's smooth, widening the field of vision and eliminating the time lag between body movements and what's displayed.

"Everywhere in the system, there were just little bits of delay injected, and what we learned from that is you have to go into the system, find every place that there's delay and optimize it out," said Paul Jacobs, CEO of XCOM Labs. The goal is to remove the sickness barrier. That would open virtual reality experiences to all consumers and provide even more opportunities to the hundreds of companies working in the Metaverse, who showcased their technology at the Augmented World Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center.

"The amount of advances I've seen here at this show and what I've seen today are significant, even over just the last 12 months ago. So at least we're on the right track," said Tim Bajarin, analyst at Creative Strategies. Research indicates women and children under 12 are the most prone to motion sickness.

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