VR motion sickness is a thing

Published on January 12th, 2019 by Debi Christensen

VR motion sickness is no picnic.

Your head throbs, and your stomach flips and flops. Sweat breaks out across your forehead and dots your palms. The disorientation can make you feel queasy for hours after using a virtual simulation. You won’t want to do much of anything – except be very, very still.


All in all, VR motion sickness may remind you of getting car sick or sea sick. The symptoms aren’t too different.

Fortunately, though, VR motion sickness doesn’t have to sideline you from engaging in virtual reality training opportunities. Cybersickness can be predicted and prevented.

Read on to find out how.

VR motion sickness can be predicted

Researchers at the University of Waterloo already know who is most likely to feel the adverse effects of VR motion sickness. Their study has been published in the Journal of Neorophysiology, and their finding may have an impact on virtual reality design.


The discovery is simple: people use vision to control their balance. When their eyes lock on to a moving object, the amount of sway necessary to keep the object in focus determines who will and who won’t develop VR motion sickness. Those people who cannot acclimate to wide ranges in sway are most likely to experience VR motion sickness.

Even if you’re likely to experience cybersickness you can take steps to prevent it.

Cybersickness prerevention

Do you take Dramamine before getting on a cruise? OTC meds like Dramamine can alleviate the symptoms of cybersickness, too. If antiemetic medicines have worked for you in the past, they may help you during a VR simulation.

Opt for simulations that recreate natural movement. The virtual reality simulation should create a sense that the user is really in the environment. Your movement in real life should also control your avatar’s movement in similar fashion. The object is for your brain to assume that reality and the simulated experience are the same.


You can also rely on a single point of reference. According to the researchers at Purdue University, a point of reference can make the difference between cybersickness and simulation success. By placing a faux nose tip in the view, VR users have a familiar point of reference. Point serves as an anchor and reduces the likelihood of feeling like you’re floating.

Finally, one of the best ways to prevent VR motion sickness is to use virtual reality software for brief periods of times. Gradually increase the time you spend in simulations. By taking on experiences a little at a time, you’ve be increasing your ability to tolerate sway.


And of course, if you’re feeling queasy and experiencing any of the symptoms of VR motion sickness, you can always take off your headset.

For the future

Virtual reality presents almost unlimited potential for training, so it makes sense to reduce the effects of cybersickness. Businesses who can use VR training simulations can improve workplace efficacy and save money – as long as employees can engage in the training without getting sick.As a result, VR designers are responding to user need and are developing more ways to reduce the likelihood of developing VR motion sickness.

That’s a win for everyone.