Virtual reality is a modern-day beacon of escapism -- a way to fully immerse yourself in other worlds -- and it's seeing unprecedented applications. The market, no surprise, is exploding, with some industry groups estimating a $60 billion global market by 2022. As business booms, however, people who are using the tech are reporting a growing number of physical side effects -- like VR arm, but worse: eye strain, dizziness, headaches, nausea, and even dissociative experiences. From a report: VR companies recommend that people take frequent breaks and moderate their VR time when they're first starting out. "As you become accustomed to the virtual reality experience, you can begin increasing the amount of time you use Daydream View," reads one line of the health and safety information included with Google's VR platform. But what happens when it's your job to build these escapist technologies? The potential health risks for everyday consumers are compounded for those who make VR products for a living. When VR bigwig Jeremy Bailenson founded Stanford University's Virtual Human Interaction Lab, in 2003, two items were even more important than the VR equipment he was using: "We had to keep a bucket in the lab and a mop nearby," Bailenson says. Today, he institutes a strict 20-minute limit on headset time for people in his lab. These health effects produce unique challenges for VR developers. "We have to understand not just the good but also the downsides of this technology. There a lot of questions we need to answer," Bailenson says. "The whole point of VR is it takes you out of your space, but you can't be doing that for many hours a day." [...] Suddenly rotating around a virtual environment using handled controllers or quickly looking left and right in the VR space without any concomitant physical movement in the real world tend to physically affect Jonathan Yomayuza, VR technical director at the Emblematic Group, a creative firm based in Southern California. [...] The feeling Yomayuza describes is common among people who work with or use VR.
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