HTC Vive is a Barf Free Zone



HTC Vive is a Barf Free Zone

VR and nausea is akin to drinking and a hangover. Drinking is fun but drink too much and a hangover ensues.
Too much VR, and the nausea will likely kick in too.

Valve boss Gabe Newell claims that their new HTC Vive device has solved the nausea problem. Gabe claims Zero percent of people experience nausea with the Vive.

"zero percent of people get motion sick"

What causes nausea in VR? Generally if you move in a different fashion compared to real-life, it may cause nausea. The extent of which is dependent on the person. The two primary causes are:

  • If you turn your head and the image is a little delayed
  • Your controller moves your view point whilst your head remains stationary

The HTC Vive features its own controllers and their lighthouse motion-tracking devices track your movement very accuratelyThe key is tricking your brain into feeling like it is there, aka VR presence.

Michael Abrash gave a talk on VR at Steam Dev Days in 2014. According to the VR research team at Valve, all of the following are needed to establish presence.

  • A wide field of view (80 degrees or better)
  • Adequate resolution (1080p or better)
  • Low pixel persistence (3 ms or less)
  • A high enough refresh rate (>60 Hz, 95 Hz is enough but less may be adequate)
  • Global display where all pixels are illuminated simultaneously (rolling display may work with eye tracking.)
  • Optics (at most two lenses per eye with trade-offs, ideal optics not practical using current technology)
  • Optical calibration
  • Rock-solid tracking - translation with millimeter accuracy or better, orientation with quarter degree accuracy or better, and volume of 1.5 meter or more on a side
  • Low latency (20 ms motion to last photon, 25 ms may be good enough)

The HTC Vive meets or beats these specifications. Are the days of VR nausea coming to an end?

We may find out in November.



Steven Paterson

Based in California. I am Scottish, I like Scotch and, oh yeah, a little VR too.