Invention May Have Cured Motion Sickness Without Drugs

Invention May Have Cured Motion Sickness Without Drugs. By Patrick Tucker.

More than half of [US] soldiers got sick while riding in Army vehicles. Roughly 25 percent of military personnel got sick on “moderate seas” and 70 percent on “rough seas.” In the air, as many as 50 percent of personnel get airsick; even 64 percent of parachutists reported episodes.

To treat symptoms, troops typically take a drug called scopolamine. It has serious side effects, most notably drowsiness, so soldiers often take it with an amphetamine that carries its own downsides and side effects. It’s like being on uppers and downers at once, which makes for a fatiguing Friday night, much less a war. …

As many gamers are today discovering, VR can have big motion-sickness effects. …

Whew, so it wasn’t just me. Now the good news:

Enter a young inventor named Samuel Owen, who has developed a prototype device called the OtoTech. Worn on a headband behind the ear, it uses subtle vibrations to change the way the brain computes the fact that the body that it’s attached to is in motion. Early tests show it relieves motion sickness without the side effects of drugs, Owen said, though he admits the science is so young that it’s not clear just how. …

While you remain consciously aware that you’re moving, the balance portion of your brain stops noticing the fact; the data has been drowned out in white noise from the device.

So far, he says, initial testing shows that it works to prevent motion sickness without affecting balance, vision, alertness, or anything else it’s not supposed to.