Motion sickness is a potential barrier to the widespread adoption of VR. As more and more businesses turn their attention to immersive tech, GingerVR from researchers at the University of Texas at San Antonio could be the remedy to treat the problem
➨ GingerVR implements eight motion sickness reduction techniques in Unity. They are packaged in an open-source repository along with tutorials for ease of integration.
➨ The software toolkit was developed at the University of Texas at San Antonio by associate professor John Quarles and PhD student Samuel Ang
➨ They are currently working on releasing an integrated automated, real-time motion sickness detection, prediction and reduction framework on the GingerVR toolkit
Researchers at the University of Texas at San Antonio have developed GingerVR, an open-source Unity software toolkit for reducing motion sickness in VR experiences and environments.
GingerVR implements eight motion sickness reduction techniques in Unity. They are packaged in an open-source repository along with tutorials for ease of integration.
Developed by University of Texas at San Antonio associate professor John Quarles and PhD student Samuel Ang, GingerVR is aimed at multiple VR use cases, as the likes of Unity move beyond gaming into enterprise and encourage developers to apply immersive technologies to industries such as architecture, engineering and construction.
Quarles said: “GingerVR can be applied to any Unity application, be it a game, enterprise application or job training.”
As immersive tech is applied to enterprise use cases, the motion sickness problem that has long plagued VR in particular will need to be addressed.
‘Cybersickness’, as Quarles calls it, “is a threat to the overall user acceptance of VR, which has a potentially huge impact on the VR industry”.
Quarles continued: “The negative symptoms experienced by a user can decrease human performance, limit learning and hinder decision making. It has been a problem in VR since the creation of the technology and is still not totally understood as to why it occurs and in whom.”
According to Quarles, research indicates that more than half of VR users experience motion sickness symptoms but with a wide range of severity.
He explained: “Some users can habituate over time, while others could just put on a headset and have to pull it off. They just can’t handle it.”
“We just don’t know why there are those individual differences. Our goal is to make the technology available to the widest possible audience.”
To that end, GingerVR has been made open source, in the hope that researchers around the world creating new reduction techniques can easily integrate them into this software toolkit.
Quarles and Ang are currently working on releasing an integrated automated, real-time motion sickness detection, prediction and reduction framework on the GingerVR toolkit.
Quarles said: “We hope that this package will serve as a shortcut to researchers looking to utilise these techniques and develop a better understanding of why they are effective.”
“In the future we hope to update this Unity package with additional cybersickness reduction techniques as they appear in the literature and improve existing assets based on user feedback.”
As motion sickness affects all VR users differently, this kind of research and collaboration is crucial if this problem is going to be solved and a potential barrier to wider adoption lifted.
Do you experience motion sickness when you put on a headset and get to work? How do you personally overcome the problem?
What about businesses? If you want to train your employees in VR but some report symptoms, will you avoid immersive tech altogether, or will you offer an alternative?