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Mayo Clinic’s inner ear stimulation for motion sickness could transform Virtual Reality

The intention is to provide a sense of rotation when someone is sitting still through Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation.

vMocion tech from mayo ClinicVirtual reality and the cumbersome goggles that go with it was a big theme at SXSW this year. Personally, I liked the less goggle heavy option like what Lumo Interactive offered with its interactive floors to stimulate social interaction. But researchers at Mayo are offering a new wrinkle in the realm of VR.

What started off as a way to do flight simulation has evolved 11 years later into a way to expand on virtual reality through a form of inner ear stimulation called Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation. Researchers at Mayo Clinic see the technology platform as a potential treatment for motion sickness and balance disorders such as vertigo, among other applications.

The intention is to provide a sense of rotation when someone is sitting still.

In an interview with TechCrunch Dr. Michael Cevette, chair of the audiology department at the Mayo Clinic, said its vMocion technology gives three-dimensions of motion stimulation.

Electrodes go on the back of the neck, behind each ear, and on the forehead and are linked so that movement in the user’s visual field triggers a synchronized GVS command, according to the article.

Cevette told TechCrunch: “It enhances your immersion because not only are you seeing and anticipating how you would feel, but you actually feel the motion because the inner-ear is stimulated consistently with how you would expect.”

vMocion, a media and entertainment company formed by Mayo Clinic and Hillstrom Media Technology, holds the exclusive, global, license for Mayo Clinic’s Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation patents and algorithms in media and entertainment categories, according to its website.

Mayo Clinic plans to license vMocion’s 3v Platform to interested companies that want to try out different applications.

To get an overview of how Mayo Clinic developed its GVS technology and the 3v Platform, check out the video.