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How Apple Vision Pro will prevent motion sickness

Published Jul 10th, 2023 5:50PM EDT
Apple Vision Pro, first spatial computer made by Apple
Image: Apple Inc.

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As we wait for Apple to release its Vision Pro spatial computer, we’ve been learning more about it. In a recent BBC interview (via AppleInsider) with David Reid, professor of AI and spatial computing at Liverpool Hope University, he explained how Apple Vision Pro could help prevent motion sickness, unlike other similar devices.

It’s fair to say that one of the most common issues with VR headsets is motion sickness. For example, I have tried many headsets over the past few years, the last one being HoloLens 2, and all of them eventually gave me motion sick. This is why reading early impressions of Apple’s Vision Pro felt different and made me hopeful about getting this device eventually.

According to Reid, it’s not that Apple solved this issue but rather that it made the virtual world feel more natural. “It is better, but it still isn’t ideal. The main problem with VR motion sickness is Vergence-accommodation conflict (VAC).”

Vergence-accommodation conflict happens when we receive mismatching cues between the distance of a virtual 3D object and the focusing distance required for the eyes to focus on that object, explains the professor to BBC. That said, unlike other companies, Apple can make virtual objects feel more realistic.

He continues: “With Apple, they’ve tried to reduce the motion sickness as much as possible. By reducing lag and delay and utilizing high-quality displays, Apple has made a headset that is still best in class for motion sickness.”

With two micro OLED displays with more pixels than a 4K TV each, these screens also offer a higher-refresh rate and a custom chip for dealing with Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality tasks called R1. Apple says this chip “process input from the cameras, sensors, and microphones, streaming images to the displays within 12 milliseconds — for a virtually lag-free, real-time view of the world.”

Combining all of that, this is why the premium Vision Pro headset received such well-praised hands-on. By spending more on display technology, a perfect integration between hardware and software, Apple is able to make this device almost motion sickness free.

As the company still has a few more months to improve software, this experience with the Vision Pro may be way better in early 2024 than it already was for influencers and the media during the WWDC 2023 conference.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.