Virtual noses in VR headsets reduce sickly symptoms, studies suggest

Virtual reality is cool, and it is the future undoubtedly, but the headsets currently available invariably make users really, really sick. But that could be remedied by using something as simple as a nose.

No, seriously.

“The problem is your perceptual system does not like it when the motion of your body and your visual system are out of synch,” explains assistant professor at Purdue University David Whittinghill to

“So if you see motion in your field of view you expect to be moving, and if you have motion in your eyes without motion in your [what most mammals use to remain balanced] you get sick.”

Hilariously, the brain is so used to seeing that semi-transparent nose bump in the middle of the face, that when virtual reality goggles are strapped on, and there’s a distinct lack of that semi-transparent bump in the middle of the face, it throws a fit, and sends your body into a spiral of nauseating experiences.

The solution? Sticking a virtual nose on the simulator screen.

“You are constantly seeing your own nose. You tune it out, but it’s still there, perhaps giving you a frame of reference to help ground you,” Whittinghill continues after an undergraduate student suggested the rather interesting solution.

The team has since found that this virtual nose reduces the feelings of sickness in those studied.

Studies are still in full swing at Purdue, but the team hopes to produces a model that will predict sickness and somehow counteract it. And the virtual nose is the first sniff in the right direction.

Read the full story at

Feature image: Travis Isaacs via Flickr



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