Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Device and Task Independent Universal Countermeasure for Motion Sickness in Vehicles and Autonomous Driving

Technology #7031

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Researchers
Michael Sivak
Managed By
Keith Hughes
Assistant Director, Physical Sciences & Engineering 734-764-9429
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending
US Patent Pending

Motion sickness most often results from a sensory conflict between inputs from the visual and vestibular systems. Substantial proportion of passengers, who attempt to perform reading and other activities, do experience motion sickness. For example, about 50% of adults get motion sick, at least occasionally, when reading a book in a moving vehicle. It is important to note that motion sickness is expected to be of even greater concern with autonomous, self-driving vehicles, because all persons aboard will now be passengers. The three main factors contributing to motion sickness (conflict between vestibular and visual inputs, inability to anticipate the direction of motion, and lack of control over the direction of motion) are elevated in self-driving vehicles. Therefore, new technologies that can provide universal solutions to motion sickness in vehicles have important potential to contribute to autonomous driving vehicles market which is expected to have 3 million automated vehicles by 2025.

Device and Task Independent Universal Countermeasure for Motion Sickness in Vehicles and Autonomous Driving

Researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute have developed a motion sickness prevention technology that consists of a wearable array of lights (such as LEDs, mounted on goggles, glasses, hat brims, etc.), which is constantly presented in the viewer’s peripheral field of view. In order to prevent motion sickness, this presentation of light stimuli in the visual periphery are timed in such a way that the apparent movement of the lights mimics (in terms of speed and heading) the visual input one would receive if one were to look outside the vehicle. Presenting such apparent motion (such as forward velocity, yaw rate, and/or pitch rate of the vehicle) in the viewer’s peripheral field of view allows them to look away from the outside scene, such as would occur when working on a laptop, reading, playing video games, watching movies, etc., yet still be able to perceive the motion of the vehicle while performing such tasks. Contrary to existing motion sickness countermeasures presented as simulated motion around a video frame (such as with a phone or laptop screen), which are tied to each specific device, the proposed technology is both device- and task- independent. The current proposed technology can be installed in a variety of wearable items, and requires only a small portion of the user’s peripheral field of view to be blocked by the device.

Applications

  • Autonomous vehicles
  • Motion sickness prevention

Advantages

  • Helps reduce the frequency and severity of motion sickness
  • Both device independent and task independent
  • Can be installed in a variety of wearable items
  • Requires only a small portion of the user’s peripheral field of view to be blocked