The beauty of VR, as well as its curse, is that once immersed, you immediately forget the physical world exists. VR goggles distract the user and completely block the view of their actual surroundings. This is great for the mind, but can be dangerous for the body. Serious injuries can occur when VR users aren’t proactive about their safety. We’ve outlined 3 suggestions to help keep you safe in virtual reality. (Related: VR medical training, AR to teach anatomy, virtual reality medical education)
Carefully choosing the physical space in which you’ll enter the virtual reality world is vitally important. Even if you choose to remain seated in your VR experience, ducking, flinching, reaching out are common reactions within an VR experience. Choose a space that is not near stairs, balconies, or windows. Move furniture and clutter out of the way so you don’t trip on something (table corners, rug edges, and plants are biggest offenders). Keep your pets in another room so they don’t wander into your space and get stepped on or trip you. Don’t stand close to other people or you may end up running into or slapping someone. A wide, clean space is the safest option to avoid serious injury to yourself and others.
Virtual spaces are infinite. Living rooms and classrooms are not. Before you enter the virtual space, walk the physical space with your goggles to calibrate your boundaries. Many VR systems will alert you when you are close to walls, but it’s important to be aware of your physical space and not solely depend on these alerts. Hardware or software malfunctions may prevent these alerts from being accurate, or there may be a physical object that was moved after you go inside that could prevent these alerts from being unconditionally trustworthy.
Unless walking is an integral part of the VR space you are occupying, sit down. Sitting is the best way to avoid accidents. Even though you will orient yourself with your physical space and set your VR boundaries before placing your VR goggles on, once you’re enveloped with the virtual reality space, it’s very easy to forget about physical objects or boundaries if you’re walking or moving around. Running into a wall, stumbling over furniture, or tripping over the headset cord is a sure way to ruin your VR experience and potentially cause great harm to yourself.