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Department of Cognitive Science

Seminar Abstract

Researching cybersickness: Seeking causes and cures.

Speaker : Professor Hyun Taek Kim, Department of Psychology, Korea University, South Korea.
Date : 12th of July 2017, 11:00AM until 12:00PM
Location : Australian Hearing Hub, 3.610, Macquarie University.

    Cybersickness is a coined term to describe the motion sickness-like experiences in virtual reality (VR) which have a different profile of symptoms from those of simulator sickness or visually induced motion sickness. The issue of cybersickness has increased in significance since HMDs with eye tracking and body positioning systems have become major devices for more immersive experiences in VR. Therefore, finding the causes and cures for cybersickness has become an ongoing challenge to scientists and engineers to understand mechanisms of cybersickness and to develop techniques reducing cybersickness symptoms for VR users. Investigating the causes of cybersickness initially focused on the technical limits of hardware and software. After exploring the means to enhance these technical factors, researchers have been investigating human factors, such as sensory conflict and postural instability while experiencing VR. As a result, we have attempted to determine the psychophysiological correlates of cybersickness in virtual environments by measuring changes in physiological signals as online activities of the central and sympathetic nervous systems. Finding cures for cybersickness has been another research path as technology races ahead. Although factors which can contribute to cybersickness have been studied for the past 20 years, no definitive conclusions have been reached. Researchers have investigated how to control cybersickness, including applying independent visual backgrounds and galvanic cutaneous stimulation on users in VR. We have demonstrated that wider field of view (FOV) can be an important factor in increasing cybersickness, compared to narrower FOV. In addition, we have preliminary data indicating that transcranial direct current stimulation on the left parietal cortex might alleviate some cybersickness symptoms. Because of the present lack of a unifying theory to understand and explain the variety of cybersickness symptoms resulting from using different software and hardware products, one promising path for future research might be dissociating the neural correlates associated with the various symptoms of cybersickness. Further efforts to mitigate the specific symptoms of cybersickness could be based on the results of those studies.