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Microsoft is experimenting with ways to prevent nausea while using VR headsets

Microsoft is working to solve the issue of nausea when using VR headsets like the Oculus Rift. If there's one thing to complain about virtual reality headsets, it's the simulation sickness some wearers can experience when enjoying VR content. It's an issue that can affect those who are susceptible to feeling nausea, especially during long sessions. But how does the company hope to achieve this? By adding some cheap LED lights.

As showcased in the video, Microsoft has added an array of inexpensive LEDs around the central display. This enables the overall experience to emulate a much higher field of view for the wearer, hitting 190 degrees horizontal, which should help reduce the possibility of feeling sick when wearing the headset.

" Our findings show that sparse peripheral displays are useful in conveying peripheral information and improving situational awareness, are generally preferred, and can help reduce motion sickness in nausea-susceptible people."

The company produced two prototypes with the concept implemented on virtual and augmented reality headsets, dubbed the SparseLightVR and SparseLightAR, respectively. Some good news for those who have tried out VR headsets already, but found them to induce nausea.

Rich Edmonds
Rich Edmonds

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

19 Comments
  • Yea, take it off
  • Interesting, since this implementation is cheap and not really that complex, these implementation are possible for any next gen VR headsets. Though nothing beats on having a wider FOV and let our own peripheral vision do the rest, same story with AR too. Next thing we really going to solve is having a wide FOV which allow our eyes to move around and still see the VR/AR projection without ever seeing the borders. As usual, things that are on Microsoft Research never fails to be really cool!
  • While this is a cool finding, do not mistake silence from other players in the field as inactivity on VR research. There are simply limitations on what is possible right now, foveated rendering will likely be next step, and should enable wider fov.
  • Unless they can get a patent on this and license it out, it seems like a waste of resources given that they are not in the VR space.
  • Remember MS is a Software & Services company, if Oculus or any VR OEM uses W10, then that's what MS wants. They could be in the AR RD just to set the bar for other OEMs to follow, also letting other OEMs develope AR!
  • Again, unless they hold a patent on it or are selling the OS to run these VR units to the VR OEMs, I'm not immediately seeing how they profit from doing this.
  • If VR games are made for Windows store, Microsoft gets a cut Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • None of the current vr games/apps are on windows store though. and oculus and valve have their own stores. So ms has some work to do.
  • Current is a short period of time. Can change quickly. I would imagine that this will also affect HoloLens, maybe not directly but certainly indirectly.
    Plus research with VR is fun, and everyone likes to have fun.
    Stuff like this makes it seem like windows is more friendly to VR, and so it's worth it to make VR games for windows, because they're more likely to support it and bring in revenue. Have to build a foundation to build a house. Posted from my lovely MS Surface Pro 4 i7 512 16GB - assuming that it currently isn't BSODing or suffering some other horrible software or hardware malfunction.
  • Not the only thing to complain about, look at all of those fingerprints on the oculas
  • Screw the weak.
  • So you want to screw yourself?
  • Oh good lord. Please try harder next time.
  • YES PLEASE.
  • I own the Vive and have played a few hours with the new Rift and for me at least it's being able to physically stand/walk/crouch with the Vive. I have not felt nauseated at all yet five minutes in the Rift playing Lucky's Tale or the Climb sitting with a controller and I have to get out...
  • This would be great, I am afraid I will likely have this problem. Just add a virtual nose and I should be good to go VR! How cool will it be able to pick your virtual nose and eat virtual booger balls.. mmm mmm mmm.. http://www.wired.com/2015/04/reduce-vr-sickness-just-add-virtual-nose/
  • I never understood why a few 3D games on a normal PC would make me sea sick.  All others I could play all day long, with zero problems.  There's something in the mix, and I hope they find it. And, after watching the video, seems to me they need to start working on a full field of view display to put inside these goggles.  Basically an edge-to-edge display inside the goggles.  Why fake it when they might be able to display everything inside and outside the direct viewpoint?
  • Costs are the biggest reason to fake it
  • Here's an idea... Hey g33ks, unplug and try a little real-ality... There, problem solved... Now back to our regularly scheduled program...