Modern-day gadgets like the Occulus Rift bring state-of-the-art graphics and increased immersion to the experience, yet have failed to prevent stomach-churning nausea. But that might be about to change.
Valve, the company behind the Steam content distribution system and some of the most popular video games in history, says the solution lies in its newly-developed motion-tracking technology. The system, dubbed Lighthouse, uses lasers to sense the position of the VR helmet and accurately translate the real-world movements of the person wearing it. Valve managing director Gabe Newell claims not a single person has reported experiencing sickness while using the technology. It makes sense logically, because scientists believe VR-sickness is caused by the sensory delay between real-world motion and the in-game experience, and lasers are a lot quicker than cameras.
Valve showed off the technology at the Game Developer’s Conference, in tandem with smartphone-maker HTC. The tech firm is incorporating Lighthouse for its commercial VR system due out by the end of the year, Vive. It boasts 1200×1800 pixel screens for each eye and with refresh rates of 90 frames per second, which the companies say eliminates the jittery effect commonly found in other VR systems.
Tech reporters who got their hands on the device described the experience as “brilliantly immersive,” “potentially life changing,” and as one that “made me believe in VR.” None of them mentioned any associated nausea or sickness. Between their reports and the claims from Newell himself, it’s hard to believe it’s not true. After all, he is the guy who revolutionized video games with Half-Life. And nobody messes with Gordon Freeman.