There have always been concerns regarding the long-term effects of continued VR exposure. As this technology is still relatively new, conducting conclusive research is rather difficult. A new study published in PLOS One finds that VR users suffer from increasing mental exertion and a loss of balance. Two very troublesome findings well worth keeping a close eye on.
The Impact of VR Headsets Remains Unclear
A lot more research will need to be conducted prior to drawing any real conclusions regarding long-term VR headset use. It is only normal there will be some side effects, especially while this technology is still in the early stages of development. New research shows there are some very problematic consequences which may prove very difficult to solve. Information like this is always worth taking into account prior to purchasing any virtual reality equipment.
According to the researchers, wearing a VR headset causes two major issues. First of all, there is the mental exertion users put themselves through unknowingly. Staring at images from up close can have major consequences, and the human brain is seemingly not trained to deal with this input. Secondly, wearing a VR headset gives users a bad posture. As a result, users suffer from impaired physical performance while balancing themselves.
Researcher Steven M. Peterson adds:
“While many studies have explored upper-limb activities, I wanted to understand how immersive and mentally challenging a virtual reality headset is when the user is walking around and not seated. We decided to test the realism of virtual reality by looking for stress at high heights because just the perception of heights can affect how people walk and how cautious they are.”
Another interesting observation during the trial is how VR headset wearers have an increased heart rate and slower response time. Although these are only the initial findings, there is a very real chance other future “investigations” will show a similar outcome. It is evident virtual reality alters one’s mind and body beyond what is normal, albeit the early findings are not too positive in this regard. A rather worrisome outlook for the VR industry, as addressing these issues may prove to be rather challenging.
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