Virtual Reality’s Hidden Dangers
Your home is set to go with an advanced VR kit and you wire it to your PC. Everything is as it should be. Is there anything to be concerned about?
Sure. There’s lot’s to be concerned about.
Virtual reality is truly an amazing thing, but it isn’t perfectly safe and it’s certainly not easy. It could end up being a nightmare with the complicated hardware that is now being released.
People seem to slip or trip while using VR headsets at times.
It’s not like virtual reality is some intense danger to fear right now. But as the public gets their hands on Oculus Rift and many more headsets, there could be some real problems.
Nausea induced by virtual reality is an issue noted by many users at some point while they play. These occurrences seem to be lessening but many people have still said that they experienced nausea at some point while utilizing VR.
Predicting when it will happen is hard to do. It happens with different games and experiences for different people. Slow moving games where people have to use an actual controller and move their head around are the ones that seem to make people the most nauseus. A few that are like this on Oculus are: Dreadhalls, Adr1ft, and The Vanishing of Ethan Carter. Faster moving games don’t seem to bother as many people as slow moving games, but it has bothered people too, so it’s hard to say. The safety manuals recommend taking breaks often and readjusting the fit of your headset.
The realistic simulator motion of VR can have effects on your brain. A condition suffered in flight simulations called “Simulator sickness” and also “Virtual Reality Sickness” have been part of this world from the early days of VR existence. New technology has helped these things greatly, but it still exists to a degree.
There is a pass through camera with HTC Vive who’s sensors can tell you when a wall is coming, but the camera features aren’t always on. I’ve witnessed several people at CNET almost crash their Vive motion controllers into a television when the camera sensor was turned off without even realizing it was there. It would be an awful real-world injury. Or if you don’t draw a boundary properly for a wall you could suddenly punch your hand into very real bricks.
Systems like the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR ask you to stand, move your arms around, duck and even walk – all with your vision blocked by a headset.
VR shouldn’t be kept anywhere around a small pet or a child. Oculus has warnings telling you to keep the Rift “out of reach from children and pets,” or you should “move objects or people out of your Rift space.”
The newest crop of advanced VR systems have more drawbacks: cables. The Vive, PlayStation VR, and Oculus Rift coming later this year all are held together by thick bunches of wires leading to the back to your PC or game system. The Vive and Rift have lengthy cords, and the cables are plugged into a breakout box where they can pull away in case they’re yanked too hard.
Even in special rooms fitted for these games people tend to get tangled up. Full-room VR like the Vive entails walking with a long cord trailing behind you that you can’t see. It’s very easy for the cable to get wound around your feet or legs.
The very best advice would be to make sure you take time to read the safety manuals that are included with your game. Set up your home playing space away from little kids or pets. Even with that, it could help to just play alone in an empty room.
VR is most likely pretty safe but clearly has some dangers. The technology will probably become safer over time, but if you are new to this hardware, it’s smart to just take the manuals and instructions seriously and feel it out as you go.