Friday, July 18, 2014

An Unexpected Problem With Oculus Rift

By Bixyl Shuftan

Danah Boyd of Quartz wrote an interesting article that suggest a little caution about the notion that the Oculus Rift could be a cure-all for Second Life's ills. Despite all the "guy in real life" jokes, it's agreed that close to half of Second Life's users are female. So when Dana's article suggested that women were more likely than men to feel nausea from using a 3D rig, it's likely to get attention. "By and large, my male friends and colleagues had no problem with these systems," Dana wrote, "My female peers, in the other hand, turned green."

Why were girls more likely to have trouble. As it turns out, there's evidence sex hormones affect the retina more than any other body part apart from genitals. The reason this is a problem is there are two ways someone can tell depth perception, "motion parallax," which has to do with an object's apparent size, and "shape from shading," which is how the light from off an object changes when you look at if from a slightly different perspective. While virtual reality handles the former just fine, "3D graphics does a terrible job of truly emulating shape from shifting." And Dana's research concluded women on the whole rely on shape-from-shading much more than men (pdf link).

This doesn't mean that this applies to each and every one. Some women can still handle Oculus with ease while some guys will need a barf bag handy. Still, it's a suggestion that perhaps more research needs to be done on the matter.

Source: Quartz Magazine 
Image Source: Jeff Chiu

Bixyl Shuftan

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