MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) is a private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This is a university that has their hands in many different areas of technology, but today, we will be pointing out one of their most recent virtual reality experiments and inventions. MIT is responsible for creating the MoveU wearable device for virtual reality. Not many people have heard about it, but they should. MoveU may be the next big invention I virtual reality, and it may be the secret to reducing or cutting out, motion sickness while the headset is on.
The MoveU device is a wearable vestibular stimulator. This device provides proprioceptive haptic feedback while inside of your virtual reality experience. This means that with the help of this device, you are going to be able to feel your VR experience without actually having to get off of your swivel chair. The device will introduce your body to the sensations of movement slowly throughout the experience, and by the end, you will be fully immersed in your game and experience without any of the side effects like kinetosis or motion sickness.
Although it doesn’t sound believable off first-gland, this is a non-invasive device that is using a technique called galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS). This is just one specific way to give the VR user vestibular reflexes by using an electrical current rather than going through the ear for stimulation. The sensors that are going to be placed behind your ears are also responsible for monitoring your heart rate, electrodermal activity, and other measurements that will help immerse into VR. This technology and what they will measure is still under development, but the research university is clearly packing a lot of tech into something pretty small.
MoveU is still a prototype and is still under development, so it is unlikely we will see any public versions of this anytime soon. But with this kind of technology in the works, it is a time where many have justified reasons to be excited about virtual reality. There is a true problem of great games losing players due to motion sickness. Even some of the newest AAA games that we have seen from the biggest virtual reality developers are struggling to find the right way to movie inside of virtual reality without feeling sick. Although this doesn’t completely ruin the game, it makes it hard to be truly immersed and causes players to overthink the idea of staying in the game too long.
Some of the best games in virtual reality right now are games that bring the action to you. Think of Beat Saber, Pistol Whip, I Expect You To Die, and even the smaller Dick Wilde games. They all bring the action to you, and don’t force you to move in a medium we aren’t fully confident in yet. These games reduce the chance of you becoming motion sick and they do a fantastic job of it.
Whether this is happening from a lack of developers interest in making games without motion sickness or because the developers simply don’t know how to avoid it, it is a problem that needs to seriously be addressed. With devices like MoveU hopefully making their way out to consumers in the next few years, a full new era of virtual reality may be upon us. By tricking our body into believing something that isn’t really there, we may be able to finally get the immersion that we have been waiting for. For more VR news and community updates, make sure to check back with us at VRGear.com.