Ever since the launch of modern virtual reality (VR), there has been a major, re-occurring problem for many users, one which has put off many potentially VR fans from trying the technology again. It is simulation sickness, a form of motion sickness peculiar to VR. A number of measures have been introduced, but the MonkeyMedia research lab thinks it has an answer with its BodyNav technology.
MonkeyMedia is a research lab based in Austin, Texas which has just announced the release of a development tool kit for its BodyNav technology, which has been designed to make using VR more comfortable.
The toolkit includes an OpenVR driver which lets developers explore the body-based navigation system for themselves without needing to change code or add additional hardware. Considering that between 25%-80% of the population can be affected by motion sickness, this technology stands to have a significant impact if it is proven effective.
“BodyNav is a game changer,” said Eric Gould Bear, MonkeyMedia CEO and inventor of more than 100 patents and patent applications, in a statement. “As a body-oriented designer, it’s been helpful that VR makes me feel sick. For me, vection (or various cognitive factors that can influence self-motion perception in virtual reality) isn’t an abstract concept — it’s a gut-wrenching reality. So, I wanted to make this technology available to everyone building next-gen computing experiences.”
The idea behind the technology is to improve first-person VR by giving the task of movement and navigation to the user’s body, leaving their hands free to perform other tasks, like picking up and using VR objects. This is said to reduce the disconnect between physical action and what the eyes are perceiving, which is thought to be a major contributor to simulation sickness.
A 30-day trail of the MonkeyMedia technology is available for free. It runs with the SteamVR environment and can integrate with a number of videogames for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.