As more and more developers introduce more and more Virtual Reality devices and content, I have to wonder about the safety of VR. I found out a few things I would like to share. Most of this information is from a study by P.J. Costello from 1997. Sounds old, but though VR has changed recently, our bodies have not changed…much…I guess I have gained a few pounds since 1997 and have a few more gray hairs!
VR Virgin Solution: Take frequent short breaks, much like any computer use, or game playing. Take a 10-15 minute break every 30 minutes whether you think you need it or not. Stop, relax, stretch your muscles do something else for a short time. (I once went to the doctor because my thumb muscles were hurting soooo bad! The diagnosis was that I was playing too much Bejeweled Blitz on my iPad…WOW, I felt …ridiculous!
VR Virgin Solutions: Look for a light weight device, use for short periods of time, and remember to stretch periodically. Adjust the head straps and lenses of the HMD correctly for each user. Poor posture is something most of us have problems with… don’t agree? Ask my chiropractor!
VR Virgin Solutions: Make sure the area where you are using your HMD is clear from clutter, objects like dirty clothes or soda cans on the floor, no exposed electrical cords, or doting pets. Use your device seated if possible until you are conformable with the feeling and immersion experience. Allow your body to adjust gradually to VR (5-10 minutes at a time and then work your way up)
VR Virgin Solution: Do not use HMDs with foam face padding. Foam will absorb facial oils, sweat and other moisture…you know what happens to your dish washing sponge over time… Look for devices with padding that can be cleaned with either a disinfectant cloth after use or one with padding that can be removed and washed or just removed and replaced. Moisture and condensation may develop over long play periods so look for devices with several means of venting heat and air.
Well now that we know what we are subjecting our bodies to, let’s move on to Physiological issues address in the study.
VR Virgin Solution: Look for a VR Viewing device HMD with adjustable lenses so you can adjust the IOD to more closely match the distance between your eyes.
VR Virgin Solution: Ask your doctor before use if you are pregnant, elderly, have binocular vision abnormalities, psychiatric disorders, heart condition. And of course if it makes you feel bad, stop doing it! Vacuuming makes me feel bad so I stopped doing that years ago!
VR Virgin Solution: I guess I have no solution…addicts you know who you are…be careful! Remember my Bejeweled Blitz thumb. Did I stop playing, NO, I just limited my time on the iPad. Problem solved.
Other warnings associated with VR use:
Well now you have it….
Remember not to let these warnings and concerns scare you away from trying VR and having a great, fun experience. As we all know, sitting at a desk, flying in a plane, driving a car, taking prescription medications, and watching TV all have similar consequences and health risks and we all enjoy each of these activities every day.
Bye For now!
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