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The Impacts of Long-Term Use of Head-Mounted Devices: A Stanford University Study

A recent Stanford University study of long-term use of head-mounted devices such as the Apple Vision Pro revealed that users may experience real-world consequences, including depth perception issues or simulator sickness. Apple’s new term of choice, “spatial computing,” is used to describe wearable computers with see-through capabilities. The novelty of the technology means there is little information on the health effects of using these tools, but researchers are working on it.

Virtual Human Interaction Laboratory Research Report

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According to a research report published by the Virtual Human Interaction Lab at Stanford University, VR head-mounted devices that rely on perspective technology, such as Meta Quest 3 and Apple Vision Pro, may have a psychological impact on users. While this study is intended to establish more guidelines as a basis for future research areas, the results suggest that users should exercise caution when using these products for extended periods of time.

It also becomes difficult to walk normally when worn for a long time.

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Product specifications, such as field of view, number of pixels per degree, and refresh rate, may affect the wearer’s visual world, exacerbating the distortion effect. The Meta Quest 3 model used in the test showed severe distortion issues, especially when objects are close to the headset’s camera.

Effects such as distortion, narrow field of view, and poor contrast can cause cognitive dissonance in the brain between the content within the headset and the real world. Trying to walk or perform tasks normally after wearing a VR headset for an extended period of time may become difficult.

Vision Pro vs Meta Quest 3 comparison

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The research report states that Apple Vision Pro has improved on the problematic features of Meta Quest 3, but there is still room for improvement. There are various unconfirmed estimates of the Apple Vision Pro’s specs, with the field of view ranging from about 100 degrees to 110 degrees and the number of pixels per degree being about 34. Apple hasn’t announced these specific ratings for its hardware, and the numbers won’t be determined until the Apple Vision Pro reaches people’s hands.

Adaptability and long-term effects of the human brain

Because seeing the world through a headset is different than seeing it with the naked eye, your brain adapts. This adaptation means that using the headset becomes easier over time as the brain learns to compensate for distortion, distance judgment and other problems. However, this isn’t necessarily a good thing unless you plan on wearing the headset permanently.

If your brain is already tuned to react to things when you’re looking at the world through a headset, you’ll find that your brain is still compensating, at least for a while, even when you take the headset off.

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