Turbulent motions cannot shake VR

Florian Soyka, Elena Kokkinara, Markus Leyrer, Heinrich Bulthoff, Mel Slater, Betty Mohler

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

13 Citations (Scopus)


The International Air Transport Association forecasts that there will be at least a 30% increase in passenger demand for flights over the next five years. In these circumstances the aircraft industry is looking for new ways to keep passengers occupied, entertained and healthy, and one of the methods under consideration is immersive virtual reality. It is therefore becoming important to understand how motion sickness and presence in virtual reality are influenced by physical motion. We were specifically interested in the use of head-mounted displays (HMD) while experiencing in-flight motions such as turbulence. 50 people were tested in different virtual environments varying in their context (virtual airplane versus magic carpet ride over tropical islands) and the way the physical motion was incorporated into the virtual world (matching visual and auditory stimuli versus no incorporation). Participants were subjected to three brief periods of turbulent motions realized with a motion simulator. Physiological signals (postural stability, heart rate and skin conductance) as well as subjective experiences (sickness and presence questionnaires) were measured. None of our participants experienced severe motion sickness during the experiment and although there were only small differences between conditions we found indications that it is beneficial for both wellbeing and presence to choose a virtual environment in which turbulent motions could be plausible and perceived as part of the scenario. Therefore we can conclude that brief exposure to turbulent motions does not get participants sick.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2015 IEEE Virtual Reality Conference, VR 2015 - Proceedings
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9781479917273
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Aug 25
Externally publishedYes
EventIEEE Virtual Reality Conference, VR 2015 - Arles, France
Duration: 2015 Mar 232015 Mar 27


OtherIEEE Virtual Reality Conference, VR 2015


  • Motion sickness
  • physiological measures
  • presence
  • turbulence
  • virtual environments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition


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