Some people do roller coasters, and some don’t. You can blame your stomach or your inner ear, but motion sickness – that hangover sensation without the party beforehand – isn’t much fun. Now there’s good news for FPV pilots who find that their stomachs tend to drop along with their drones: MONKEYmedia, an independent R&D lab, has tackled the problem.
“MONKEYmedia, Inc. announced the launch of its patented body- based navigation solution (BodyNavTM) for hands-free virtual reality interactions. BodyNav leverages the existing on- board sensors of smartphones and advanced 3D headsets in novel and unanticipated ways to engage the body’s innate center of gravity,” says the company press release. “This human-centered interaction approach reduces motion sickness artifacts and enhances navigation abilities in virtual and augmented realities (VR/AR), as well as first-person view (FPV) drone aviation contexts.”
Rob Bamforth, Principal Analyst at research and analysis company Quocirca, explains that “making the physical experience align with human expectations, as I experienced with MONKEYmedia’s BodyNav technology, is critical not only for an effective VR experience, but also for avoiding digitally induced motion sickness.”
The Motion Sickness Challenge
Motion sickness has long been a complaint amongst virtual reality gamers and drone pilots. Traditional stereoscopic headset interfaces use multiple sensor axes (e.g. rotate left/right, pivot up/down, tip left/right) to establish viewer orientation, while requiring handheld controllers (e.g., joysticks, gamepads, keyboards, etc.) for locomotion. Visually “moving” through space while in a sedentary posture creates sensory imbalances that can cause dizziness and nausea in the viewer. Oculus’ former Chief Scientist goes so far as to call hand controllers “sickness generators.” Addressing this problem, MONKEYmedia’s patented, hands-free BodyNav technology creates more intuitive virtual interactions by remapping control axes to accomplish both orientation and locomotion with natural body movement. This provides the organic equilibrium needed to circumvent sensory imbalances.