Physiological Responses to Virtual Spaces: Exploring the Oculus Rift and the Experience of Virtual Simulation Illness

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Three-dimensional virtual worlds have been around since the advent of the accessible-to-all Internet – roughly two decades. The experiential promise of virtual worlds has been in their presentation of a computer generated space that mimics the real world – three dimensions and full immersion of experience. Until the advent of reliable and non-platform/game specific viewing technology, the average user of a virtual world had to be content with a flat screen view of their 3- D world. Of the several devices available at the time of this writing, the Oculus Rift appears to have placed the most number of (still-in-development) viewing kits in the hands of developers and some end users who are willing to deal with the quirks of a development kit. The result has been a minor explosion in the development of immersive experiences, facilitated by the near-total visual immersion generated by the Oculus Rift. This contribution examines a challenging phenomenon that appears to affect a number of users of this technology. Virtual reality sickness, ‘sim sickness’, ‘cybersickness’, or more simply, motion sickness caused by the discrepant visual and vestibular information presented to the user, is a challenge to the overall success of devices like the Oculus Rift. This chapter reviews the literature on the phenomenon of motion sickness in virtual spaces, describes the physiology involved, and examines some of the work being done to address this issue.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVirtual Worlds
Subtitle of host publicationThe Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Intersections
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781848883840
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan. 2019


  • ELVW
  • Oculus Rift
  • Second Life
  • Virtual Worlds
  • ‘motion sickness’
  • ‘sim sickness’ cybersickness
  • ‘virtual reality sickness’


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