The ghost howls

A blog of virtual reality, startup and stuff



Is virtual reality (Oculus, Vive, etc…) safe for kids?

In the last times, I found myself arguing a bit on online communities with people sharing videos of their babies wearing Vive or Oculus headsets and having funny reactions. While the videos are surely amusing, I’m worried about little kids using VR and I often comment that… and usually people answer me that there’s no problem in children using virtual reality. In fact, out there there are virtual reality headsets especially crafted for children (like the Mattel View Master of the header image).

At the good old Oculus DK2 times, we all remember the first HEALTH & SAFETY warning stating that the device should not be used by kids under 7yo. That age was risen in 2014 to 13yo: this decision was interpreted by me as a move by Oculus to play ultra-safely. Even now, Oculus says that kids under 13 years old should not play VR. Vive and PSVR come with similar warnings (12-13yo age limit). But people seem not to care about these warnings and continue saying that there are no practical and proven reasons for this limit.

Oculus health and safety warning kids
The good ol’ health and safety warning (Image from Oculus Forums)

Well, actually, there are. And I’m going to briefly list them here. Continue reading “Is virtual reality (Oculus, Vive, etc…) safe for kids?”

How a developer can reduce motion sickness in VR games

Some times ago I made a quite successful post about how to experience virtual reality reducing your simulation sickness. After that, I also published a deeper insight on simulation sickness where I described how this issue depends on age, sex and race of the person experiencing virtual reality. People have asked me to make another kind of post: if you are a developer and don’t want to give motion sickness to your users… what can you do? So, here you are, with some advices on how to make your users puke less.

First of all, absolutely, in any case, don’t make the camera move without an explicit action of the user. Please, don’t. I know that making some cinematic sequences with camera moving on the play area is very cool, but it’s also very nausea inducing… so, it’s not a good idea. The reason is the same that I described in my previous articles (read them if you want to understand better what motion sickness is!): your body stays still, but your eyes see movement; the brain thinks that this sensorial mismatch is due to some kind of poison and so trigger its defenses, that are nausea and stuff (come on brain, what awful defenses you have! 🙂 ). This is a very basic concept, but I continue seeing lots of demos with automatic camera movements. Camera MUST move only under consent of the user. Continue reading “How a developer can reduce motion sickness in VR games”

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