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Free Content Oculo-Vestibular Recoupling Using Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation to Mitigate Simulator Sickness

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Cevette MJ, Stepanek J, Cocco D, Galea AM, Pradhan GN, Wagner LS, Oakley SR, Smith BE, Zapala DA, Brookler KH. Oculo-vestibular recoupling using galvanic vestibular stimulation to mitigate simulator sickness. Aviat Space Environ Med 2012; 83:549–55.

Introduction: Despite improvement in the computational capabilities of visual displays in flight simulators, intersensory visual-vestibular conflict remains the leading cause of simulator sickness (SS). By using galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS), the vestibular system can be synchronized with a moving visual field in order to lessen the mismatch of sensory inputs thought to result in SS. Methods: A multisite electrode array was used to deliver combinations of GVS in 21 normal subjects. Optimal electrode combinations were identified and used to establish GVS dose-response predictions for the perception of roll, pitch, and yaw. Based on these data, an algorithm was then implemented in flight simulator hardware in order to synchronize visual and GVS-induced vestibular sensations (oculo-vestibular-recoupled or OVR simulation). Subjects were then randomly exposed to flight simulation either with or without OVR simulation. A self-report SS checklist was administered to all subjects after each session. An overall SS score was calculated for each category of symptoms for both groups. Results: The analysis of GVS stimulation data yielded six unique combinations of electrode positions inducing motion perceptions in the three rotational axes. This provided the algorithm used for OVR simulation. The overall SS scores for gastrointestinal, central, and peripheral categories were 17%, 22.4%, and 20% for the Control group and 6.3%, 20%, and 8% for the OVR group, respectively. Conclusions: When virtual head signals produced by GVS are synchronized to the speed and direction of a moving visual field, manifestations of induced SS in a cockpit flight simulator are significantly reduced.

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Keywords: cybersickness; electrical stimulation; flight simulation; motion sickness

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-06-01

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