This wearable headset uses lights to stop motion sickness in self-driving cars

Researchers are already working to solve the future's problems
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Researchers at the University of Michigan are developing a wearable system that will help travellers in self-driving cars avoid motion sickness.

The solution, which works by co-ordinating lights to match the movement and speed of the autonomous vehicle, will combat the potential for nausea by helping the user's brains remain in sync with their eyes, even when remaining stationary.

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The patent indicates that the wearable would be able to mimic the lateral movement, vertical movement, velocity, acceleration, yaw rate, roll rate, and pitch rate of the vehicle, meaning the lights "or other visual stimuli" would be akin to staring out a window to avoid sickness.

So, for example, if you were reading a book or looking down at your phone for the duration of your journey, the system (which researchers also indicate could be built into the car itself) of lights would nullify the usual effects.

This wearable headset uses lights to stop motion sickness in self-driving cars

The patent doesn't go into great detail about how exactly the lights would work, but it's fair to assume they would subtly mirror the direction the car would be travelling in order to keep your eyes and brain in check.

Of course, we're not yet at the point where this is an issue, since autonomous vehicles are still a couple of years away from wider rollouts, but the concept will be able to be applied to any kind of self-driving car when the time comes.

It's also dependent on whether the wearable itself sees eventual production, which is no guarantee when it comes to patented technology, but the team of researchers are currently looking for potential commercial partners to get the device into production, so stay tuned.

Source: New Atlas via University of Michigan

This wearable headset uses lights to stop motion sickness in self-driving cars

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Conor Allison


Conor moved to Wareable Media Group in 2017, initially covering all the latest developments in smartwatches, fitness trackers, and VR. He made a name for himself writing about trying out translation earbuds on a first date and cycling with a wearable airbag, as well as covering the industry’s latest releases.

Following a stint as Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint, Conor returned to Wareable Media Group in 2022 as Editor-at-Large. Conor has become a wearables expert, and helps people get more from their wearable tech, via Wareable's considerable how-to-based guides. 

He has also contributed to British GQ, Wired, Metro, The Independent, and The Mirror. 

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