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Virtual reality: how to try and not hurt yourself
Virtual reality: how to try and not hurt yourself

In childhood, many wanted to have superpowers: stop time, be able to fly, move in space. All these sensations are partly provided by virtual reality. Find out how to get into it and, most importantly, get out safely.

Virtual reality: how to try and not hurt yourself
Virtual reality: how to try and not hurt yourself

How virtual reality differs from the real one

Virtual reality is a world created with the help of technical means, in which people are able to experience a state close to real. In virtual reality, a person acts on objects according to the laws of physics, but he can also do things that are impossible in the real world: fly, interact with any objects and creatures, travel along imaginary routes. Virtual reality creates an artificial world.


Kirill Makukha VRlab Community Manager

If "real reality" is the familiar world around us, then virtual reality is a space that is completely generated using computer graphics. Thus, virtual reality can be anything from watching dinosaurs to a shooter in the 21st century.

What happens to a person when fully immersed in VR

The feeling of virtual intervention depends on the degree of immersion. It is created thanks to human sensations: sight, hearing, smell, touch.

The sudden perception of oneself in an unfamiliar environment evokes both delight, curiosity and a feeling of sleep. Virtual reality develops spatial thinking. This helps to quickly get used to the artificially created environment. The user begins to navigate in a new space and perform assigned tasks.

Full immersion in VR is when I begin to feel the size of the virtual space in which I am, I understand how big and tall I am.

Kirill Makukha

How VR Can Affect Your Body and Brain

Immersion in VR can cause dizziness and nausea, the helmet makers themselves warn about this. Basically, negative effects occur when using computers that are not optimized for the game. Weak equipment is not capable of producing a high-quality picture with a stable frame rate of at least 90 per second.

Problems can also arise when turning the user's head. The picture does not keep pace with the movements of the person, a headache may begin. The vestibular apparatus perceives this effect as poisoning or strong alcoholic intoxication.

The most famous long-term stay in VR was made by Derek Westerman from the USA. The guy spent 25 hours in virtual reality. To achieve the record, he chose the HTC Vive helmet and the Tilt Brush app to paint 3D images in 3D. Tilt Brush makes the user active and agile to create new images while in virtuality. After 17 hours in VR, Derek vomited. 25 hours in VR by Derek Westerman hit the Guinness Book of Records.

VR has no clearly defined restrictions. People with a weak vestibular apparatus should use VR less often than others. Users with epilepsy and visual impairments are also at risk. It is recommended to use VR immersion with caution in pregnant women, the elderly and people with cardiovascular diseases.

The brain perceives reality as a new environment. The human senses are activated to interact with this environment. When returning to material reality, the brain fully realizes that the previously visible world was artificial, and its influence on mental functions decreases.


Anastasia Khizhnikova, neurologist of the Department of Neurorehabilitation and Physiotherapy, Federal State Budgetary Scientific Institution "Scientific Center of Neurology"

One of the areas using virtual reality technology is psychiatry, where it is used to treat various phobic disorders (agarophobia, arachnophobia, etc.) and post-traumatic syndromes.

“It has been proven that the effect of immersing a person in a stressful situation is really significant and comparable in strength to psychological training. However, this effect is unstable and fades away rather quickly (2–3 months after the termination of training). The researchers attribute this to the fact that the brain understands that everything that happened in the virtual environment was not real. Therefore, even with the modern capabilities of computer graphics and modeling, the barrier between the real and the virtual world remains,”says Anastasia.

How VR addiction manifests itself and how to avoid it

VR immersion addiction has been compared to gambling addiction. Man prefers the artificial world to live communication with people, and the virtual world is gradually replacing the real one. In many countries, to solve the problem of dependence on the virtual world, specialized rehabilitation centers are being created.

In the case of VR, it all comes down to the quality of the content. On the mobile side, it's not so good that you would rather run home and put on a VR headset.

At the moment, you can limit the time spent only when you yourself have realized that you are beginning to disappear in other realities. Set an alarm, prescribe an auto shutdown in the system after a certain period of time. Or ask a friend, girlfriend, mom to come in a couple of hours and get them out of VR.

Kirill Makukha

How to test VR without harming yourself:

  1. It is advisable to consult with a psychotherapist what individual effects immersion in VR can cause on your psyche.
  2. The first experience is best done in a VR themed club. Consultants will help you set up the equipment and make your experience in virtual reality comfortable and safe.
  3. Be in VR for a short time, take breaks.
  4. Monitor your well-being, with bouts of nausea and dizziness, exit virtual reality or change the game.

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