Digital motion sickness will be the occupational disease of the 21st century – Christopher Mims


The better technology gets, the more likely it is to give you a headache or make you throw up. The trend is inescapable: Whether it’s videogames, Apple’s latest mobile operating system, 3D movies and television, or Google Glass, a portion of the population—basically, anyone predisposed to motion sickness—is going to spend their sunset years, when this kind of technology is ubiquitous, in serious discomfort.

And if you think you can escape it simply by avoiding sophisticated but optional entertainments, think again—the latest example is people experiencing motion sickness as a result of Apple’s new iOS 7, which uses a parallax effect to make its interface look 3D. (If you haven’t experienced iOS 7 yourself, this video is a good illustration.)

While people encountering these effects for the first time compare them to motion sickness, what they’re experiencing has a more specific name—simulation sickness. The US Army has known about the problem for decades, since it often uses simulators to train soldiers. Motion sickness arises when our inner ear senses movement but our eyes don’t perceive any, whereas simulation sickness is the inverse: We see motion that should indicate we’re moving when we’re not. The exact incidence of these disorders is hard to pin down: motion sickness occurs in between 25% and 40% of the population, depending on the mode of transit, and simulation sickness occurs in between 13% and 90% of the population, depending on how immersive and convincing is the virtual environment. (pdf)

For @Barrygott. Sorry…

Digital motion sickness will be the occupational disease of the 21st century – Christopher Mims


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Stowe Boyd: Popular Science Drops Comments

Suzanne LaBarre, the online content director of Popular Science, Why We’re Shutting Off Our Comments

A politically motivated, decades-long war on expertise has eroded the popular consensus on a wide variety of scientifically validated topics. Everything, from evolution to the origins of…

This is sobering but not surprising. I think that one day we will exit this uncivil era and regain the ability to have rational debates. We’re in the opening days of a profound and far-reaching cultural shift. But in the meantime, I think it’s a matter of practicality to limit troll- feeding as much as possible.

Stowe Boyd: Popular Science Drops Comments