06.05.16

Microsoft deploys LEDs to reduce nausea from VR and AR

Suffering from motion sickness after slipping off your virtual reality (VR) headset may soon be an issue of the past thanks to new findings from Microsoft Research on the effect of LEDs.

Microsoft Research has discovered an inexpensive method to reduce the nausea-like feeling some experience after a VR or AR experience: LED lights. Researchers found simply expanding the user’s field of view with LED array with a Sparse Peripheral Display reduced motion sickness-like symptoms in 11 out of 14 VR testers.

The majority of VR headsets on the market currently have a field of view of around 100-degree mark, almost half as narrow as a human’s natural visual field (over 180 degrees).

Microsoft’s Sparse Peripheral Display can be integrated it into both VR (SparseLightVR) and AR (SparseLightAR) headsets. The SparseLightVR is built upon an Oculus Rift DK2 prototype and features 70 LEDS positioned around the outer edged of the headset’s screens to create a wider 170-degree field of view. The SparseLightAR model incorporates a custom modified Gear VR prototype and uses 112 peripheral LEDs to create a 190-degree field of view. Several light probes were used to render the colour of the LEDs - these are able to be deployed in any scene using the Unity game engine.

The devices reduce some of the detail compared to wearing a regular headset, but allow the user to enjoy a more immersive experience through increased situation awareness. The research team found that testers of the SparseLightVR system could find objects more quickly than those wearing a standard VR headset.

The finding comes in perfect time for companies like Microsoft and Samsung trying to dominate the VR and AR space. Microsoft recently used its HoloLens AR headset for the ‘holoportation’ of people.

Microsoft Research will discuss its SparseLight technology at next month’s CHI 2016.

Source: Microsoft Research