Rotational and translational velocity and acceleration thresholds for the onset of cybersickness in virtual reality

Publication Date


Document Type

Conference Proceeding



Publication Title

AIAA Scitech 2020 Forum


1 PartF




This paper determined rotational and translational velocity and acceleration thresholds for the onset of cybersickness. Cybersickness causes discomfort and discourages the widespread use of virtual reality systems for both recreational and professional use. Visual motion or optic flow is known to be one of the main causes of cybersickness due to the sensory conflict it creates with the vestibular system. The aim of this experiment is to detect rotational and translational velocity and acceleration thresholds that cause the onset of cybersickness. Participants were exposed to a moving particle field in virtual reality for a few seconds per run. The field moved in different directions (longitudinal, lateral, roll, and yaw), with different velocity profiles (steady and accelerating), and different densities. Using a staircase procedure, that controlled the speed or acceleration of the field, we detected the threshold at which participant started to feel temporary symptoms of cybersickness. The optic flow was quantified for each motion type and by modifying the number of features, the same amount of optic flow was present in each scene. Having the same optic flow in each scene allows a direct comparison of the thresholds. The results show that the velocity and acceleration thresholds for rotational optic flow were significantly lower than for translational optic flow. The thresholds suggestively decreased with the decreasing particle density of the scene. Finally, it was found that all the rotational and translational thresholds strongly correlate with each other. While the mean values of the thresholds could be used as guidelines to develop virtual reality applications, the high variability between individuals implies that the individual tuning of motion controls would be more effective to reduce cybersickness while minimizing the impact on the experience of immersion.

Funding Number