Regulation, content warning and health & safety
Philosophy Doctors Michael Madary and Thomas Metzinger believes that regulation and restrictions have to govern the creation and publishing of VR content, in order to protect the end-users from the possible long-term trauma and changes that they may expose themselves to Vikram (2016). Due to the mass media interest in the Oculus Rift, I thought it would be fascinating to analyse the health and safety guidelines that comes with the headset. There appeared to be a huge focus on the possible side effects with warnings ranging from seizures, nausea and dizziness to – for children engaging in prolonged use – trouble with hand-eye coordination to which can be concerning in regards to long term damage. I had also identified that before playing any VR content, a warning splash screen appears, informing the user to read the guidelines handbook before use, this clearly displays VR system policies and that they know there is a possibility of users being affected by the technology and that they should be aware of such beforehand.
Marty Banks a professor at University of California has carried out research into VR and vision. He states his findings show that one of the biggest problems from VR is vergence accommodation conflict which is an issue that can cause major eye strain which can result in long term vision damage.Interestingly enough, this was a warning on the oculus guidelines.
To conclude this area of study, I looked into developers rules and regulations. WEVR is VR games development company, specialising in horror VR. They have a rule that within the creation of their horror, ‘no creature should be larger than the size of a small dog’ because the human brain will detect it as a real physical threat or as a survival threat which could lead to violence and trauma. Stephen a developer at WEVR stated that ‘developers have a “responsibility” when creating VR content, and users need to be prepared ahead of time for what could be deemed a scary experience.’ WEVR tried to “mitigate some of that” with the use of audio cues to warn the user when something was behind them in the demo (Nunneley, 2016).
Vikram (2016) The dangers of virtual reality: It’s cool, but is it safe? Available at: http://www.technorms.com/47235/dangers-of-virtual-reality-its-cool-but-is-it-safe (Accessed: 29 November 2016).
Nunneley, S. (2016) Jump scares and horror game creators need to be cautious with VR, say devs. Available at: https://www.vg247.com/2016/03/16/vr-jump-scares-horror-games/ (Accessed: 29 November 2016).