Virtual reality is an awesome technology that allows us to view and interact with simulated environments using various sensory feedback techniques. Using virtual reality we can explore deep space, zoom around the world using Google Earth, and even play awesome games using our own actions and movements to control characters. This technology is truly fantastic and in the last few years has developed greatly – we have a plethora of VR headsets and compatible devices that utilize the technology and bring it to the public.
If you want to experience virtual reality, it is important to understand the technology, and also the side effects it can have. As with any form of modern technology, VR does have some drawbacks – they are minor, but you must be aware of what you could experience, to avoid any unpleasantness when using a headset for example. The following are some of the negative side effects VR can cause:
Motion Sickness & Disorientation
Although when using virtual reality technology you are not moving, your brain may still think that you are and thus if you are prone to motion sickness, you may feel the effects when using a headset. Even if you don’t suffer from motion sickness, prolonged usage of a VR headset could cause you to feel disorientated and groggy. Simply use the technology in short bursts to lessen these potential effects, and if you feel unstable whilst wearing a headset, stop and take it off.
For the average healthy person, there is no risk of seizures and you should be able to use virtual reality technology with no problems at all. If you do suffer from seizures or conditions such as epilepsy then it is advisable to avoid VR technology for now – the technology works in a way that interacts with your brain and affects its neural patterns; this could have an adverse effect for someone who does suffer from seizures.
Irritation of the Eyes
This is common sense and applies when looking at any type of monitor or display for a prolonged period of time. In the same way that looking at a computer monitor for long periods can strain your eyes and cause soreness, so can wearing a VR headset for too long. As of yet, no long-term effects to sight have been discovered, but it is recommended to only use VR headsets for short bursts of 30 minutes or less for example – this will help lessen the strain on your eyes.
Lack of spatial awareness
When using VR technology, you will in most instances wear a headset – this headset covers your eyes and obviously your vision will, therefore, be impeded. You will not be able to see anything around you and thus your spatial awareness becomes extremely limited. Many people when using VR headsets will have accidents such as bumping into tables and chairs or walking into doors. You can sometimes forget your surroundings because the VR world you are immersed in seems so realistic! To avoid injury, ensure that the area you are standing in is totally clear of any potential trip hazards!
As you can see, VR technology does have some drawbacks, but as with any technology you simply have to use your common sense. For the most part, wearing a VR headset can be a truly amazing experience – you just have to know when enough is enough!