Engineering student offers people a better, nausea-free ride through virtual reality

Two people talk.

Megan Charity explains her invention to Tamas S. Gal, Ph.D., director of cancer informatics at VCU’s Massey Cancer Center.

As the sophistication of virtual reality increases, so does an old-school problem: motion sickness.

Megan Charity, a senior in the Virginia Commonwealth University College of Engineering computer science program, aims to give users an immersive — and nausea-free — ride through virtual environments.

“I’m studying low-acceleration vehicles and motion sickness in virtual reality,” Charity said. “In layman’s terms, I’m building a skateboard in VR and seeing if people get sick when they ride it.”

Motion sickness happens when what the eye sees doesn’t match what the part of the inner ear that deals with balance perceives. That disconnect is high in VR, where users are navigating large visual spaces but staying physically in place.

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