Apple tries to solve motion sickness in self-driving cars using virtual reality

As Apple continues to work on its “iPhone of Cars”, that hasn’t stopped the Silicon Valley company from working on other technical solutions related to vehicles, beyond the vehicles themselves. On May 3, 2022, Apple was granted a patent to combat motion sickness in moving vehicles, especially autonomous vehicles such as their planned “Apple Car”. Instead of just making the vehicle smoother so that it doesn’t feel like it’s moving, Apple is moving towards virtual reality and a headset that passengers can wear.

Since we have entered a new phase of autonomous vehicles, the idea of ​​non-forward-facing seats and the use of cars as virtual offices have become the ‘it’ ideas. There is only one problem with those seating arrangements for a fraction of potential users: motion sickness in a moving vehicle. For some, medication is the only solution to the dizzying sensation caused by either backing up or driving a car, period, while for others it’s as simple as looking in the same direction the car is traveling. If inverted seats and headsets are blocking your view and you don’t want the side effects of certain motion sickness medications, what will you do? Apple seems to have an idea with another recently granted patent that uses virtual reality to visually simulate a vehicle’s movements.

The idea is that no matter what you’re in front of and whatever virtual screens you have, the peripheral environment will adapt to the movement of the vehicle as it moves. The way Apple’s patent would figure out what to display, how quickly and when would work in tandem with the autonomous vehicle’s sensors, navigation and 3D map data, along with preferences set by each passenger. For those who don’t get motion sickness, they get a regular virtual environment unaffected by vehicle motion data. For those who get motion sickness, they can set up the sensors in the car to detect it and change the virtual environment to reflect the vehicle’s movement with peripheral visual cues that move at virtually the same speed as the vehicle, slowed or even accelerated. It all depends on the user and how they deal with motion sickness. Another idea is to show a real world view through the headset, along with the virtual content, to alleviate the problem or even prevent a passenger from causing motion sickness.

Apple’s patent drawings show the different environments, but Figure 8 piqued our interest. It shows a chair that allows movement in combination with a virtual environment. It seems that Apple has plans for a “4D” virtual environment where you will not only have a visual experience, but one that will also allow you to feel movement. This could also potentially inadvertently cause motion sickness, just as it could “fix” it when detected. Since the vehicle’s interior sensors are already looking for signs of motion sickness, the seat movements can be altered to reduce or even induce motion to correct the problem. Overall, the patent covers a broad base of what a virtual environment would look like to a user in an Apple Car world, so some of this is likely to see the light of day in the forever-coming “iPhone of Cars” Apple fans are waiting for. call and at approx. Until then, these are all virtual ideas that have not been fleshed out in reality. Until then, people with motion sickness should deal with it as they normally do now.

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