Motion sickness, disorientation, and headache while using virtual reality — or cyber illness — can be a major obstacle to the development and implementation of augmented and virtual reality technologies. Now, researchers from UTSA (University of Texas at San Antonio) have created the first open-source Unity software toolkit, GingerVR. It allows developers to use proven methods and innovative solutions to combat cyber illness in the future.
XR (Extended Reality, or “Augmented Reality”) is a popular phase for next-level digital content. Technology companies such as Microsoft, Samsung, Apple, Google, and Facebook are introducing it into smartphones and, in some cases, directly into the faces of users in the form of headsets. In the gaming industry, augmented reality is seen as the third pillar of entertainment.
Although Unity is a leader in the development of games for AR and VR, it has shifted towards business applications. Already many companies, like her, are planning to move from games to developing applications for the architecture, design, and construction of XR. A survey conducted by Forrester Consulting showed that one of the two companies in these industries plans to implement augmented reality over the next two years.
This means that the future workforce will need to quickly learn how to navigate these XR environments, where the virtual connection seamlessly blends with the real and vice versa.
“Cyber disease is a threat to the general acceptance of VR users, which could potentially have a huge impact on the VR industry. The negative symptoms that a user encounters can reduce a person’s productivity, limit learning, and interfere with decision making. “This has been a problem in VR since the creation of the technology, and it is still not completely clear why and for whom this is happening”.
John Quarles, Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science, University of Texas
The percentage of people who suffer from the side effects of motion sickness is difficult to pinpoint. According to Quarles, more than half of users experience symptoms, but with a wide range of severity.
Some users may get used to the inconvenience over time, while others may just put on a headset and take it off right there. Researchers called their goal to make technology accessible to the widest possible audience.
GingerVR was named after the plant, which is known to be an antidote to nausea – one of the classic symptoms of cyber disease. Other negative effects of these new environments include disorientation or fatigue.
The software toolkit implements eight methods for reducing cyber disease in Unity. These solutions are packaged in an open-source repository along with tutorials for easy integration. As a result, these methods are now easy to add and are independent of other software packages other than those already included in the Unity project by default.