The Solution For Virtual Reality Nausea Might Be a Stick of Gum

A girl wearing a headset while blowing bubble gum.
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Those CEOs and tech dorks that talk about attending business meetings in VR are completely out of touch with what people really want from VR—games and adventures that you can’t experience in real life. That means floating through outer space, zooming on a military-grade jet, mowing down zombies, and of course, riding nightmarish roller coasters.

Unfortunately, our feeble human minds are susceptible to motion sickness, especially in fast-moving or physics-defying VR environments. But there may be a cheap and simple solution to help you enjoy VR without losing your lunch. And no, I’m not talking about medication; I’m talking about gum.

In a newly-published study, German researchers found that chewing gum can alleviate or prevent visually induced motion sickness while wearing a VR headset.

The researchers split 77 test subjects into three groups; one with peppermint gum, one with ginger gum, and another without gum. When these subjects were sent on a VR helicopter ride, those with gum reported fewer symptoms of motion sickness than those without gum.

And funny enough, test subjects reported less symptoms when they enjoyed the flavor of gum that they were chewing. Researchers can use this information to theorize that great flavor, not just the act of chewing, can reduce the symptoms of visually induced motion sickness.

The science behind these findings is still a bit unclear—does our inner ear ignore scary signals from our visual cortex when we chew gum? Or are our minds so feeble that a tasty treat can prevent motion sickness? Either way, I suggest chewing spearmint gum, not ginger gum, the next time you put on a VR headset.

Source: Experimental Brain Research (2022) via TechRadar