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Health issues with virtual reality displays: what we do know and what we don't

Wann, J.P. and Mon-Williams, M. (1997) Health issues with virtual reality displays: what we do know and what we don't. ACM SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics, 31 (2). pp. 53-57. ISSN 0097-8930

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During the late 1980s and early 1990s virtual reality (VR) technology enjoyed a prolonged honeymoon with the international media who presented a glossy futuristic image of the technology. It was inevitable that the media would eventually tire of this image and look for new journalistic angles, such as the negative effects of VR. Some speculation then ensued about the negative social consequences of VR in the public domain ("Social autism" and "The end of civilisation as we know it…" --- Stone, 1992, BBC Horizon), although these speculations now appear unfounded.The first direct assertion, in the international media, that there might be visual safety issues with VR technology, came from the reporting of findings from Mon-Williams, Wann and Rushton in 1993 [5]. Since then a steady trickle of media features have strongly hinted at virtual problems that may arise (e.g. Business Week, July 10, 1995; New Scientist, Jan 27, 1996), each being followed by accusations of "scare-mongering" from some sectors of the VR community. Our research findings have fueled some of the negative reports, and our position has angered some VR protagonists. Also, like other research groups in this field, we are often approached by journalists in pursuit of a sensationalist story.Hence we think it is timely to examine what we know about the effects of virtual reality displays; what we don't know about virtual reality displays; and what research should be undertaken to resolve the unknown issues.

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of Leeds
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Medicine and Health (Leeds) > School of Psychology (Leeds) > Cognitive Psychology (Leeds)
Depositing User: Sherpa Assistant
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2009 15:04
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2009 15:04
Published Version: http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/271283.271307
Status: Published
Publisher: Association for Computing Machinery
Identification Number: 10.1145/271283.271307
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/8889

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