The virtual reality device CES becomes a hot spot, is the child safe to wear?

Virtual reality (VR) technology is one of the hottest topics in the IT industry today. Manufacturers such as Oklahoma, Sony, and HTC saw the development potential of this technology. In the past year, virtual reality devices such as helmets and glasses were sold.

This kind of equipment is mainly used in the entertainment field, especially as a game display, which has been sought after by game lovers. According to the Xinhua News Agency, the market research institute Jibang Technology released a report in December 2016, showing that the global virtual reality device sales of nearly 3 million units that year (excluding Google Cardboard and other virtual reality devices that must be used with mobile devices). At the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the virtual reality device continues to be a hot spot.

Teenagers and children are important consumer groups of video games. But when virtual reality devices enter the ordinary family, a new problem arises: Is it safe for children who are not yet fully developed, such as the brain and vision, to wear virtual reality devices that are compatible with the game?

In the global virtual reality device market, Oaklus, Sony and HTC are in a three-pronged position, with Samsung and Google taking a large share in the low-end market. From a security perspective, the above-mentioned mainstream devices invariably define the user's age in the instruction manual or disclaimer.

For example, the Samsung GearVR manual says: “Children under the age of 13 should not be used; adults 13 and older should limit their use time and ensure that they rest at the right time.” Oklus also limits the user’s age. At the age of 13 or older, Sony requires users to be 12 years of age or older, and HTC and Google do not recommend that children use or require children to be under adult supervision.

Although manufacturers strictly limit the age of users of virtual reality devices, there is no conclusive scientific evidence to support this limitation. The Digital Trends website quoted Martin Banks, a visual scientist at the University of California, Berkeley, as saying that "there is no concrete evidence to suggest that wearing virtual reality devices can have a negative impact on children of a certain age group."

Many parents worry that wearing virtual reality devices will affect children's vision development and increase the incidence of myopia. In this regard, Banks explained that although the eyes are close to the screen when wearing the device, the imaging distance of the device may be very far, in order to see the image, the eye is actually focused at a great distance.

Some people may experience discomfort such as visual fatigue and dizziness when wearing equipment. This is caused by the so-called "visual convergence adjustment conflict", which is the main bottleneck for the popularity of virtual reality devices. In order to create a 3D effect, these headsets "spoof" the wearer's left and right eyes with a slightly offset image to create a three-dimensional effect, and the eye focal length will remain at a fixed distance while viewing, but the biased image received by both eyes Will allow the binocular vision to converge to another distance.

When this conflict with everyday physiology rules occurs, the eyes and brain will "protest." However, this discomfort is not unique to children, and wearers of all ages may occur. Stop wearing will disappear and will not last long.

There is also a view that virtual reality devices can have a negative impact on the human brain, and children's brains at the developmental stage may be more sensitive to this effect. In 2014, a rat-based study in the United States found that brain neurons associated with spatial learning were completely different in virtual reality and reality. In a virtual environment, more than half of the neurons are dormant. The impact of this phenomenon on humans is still unclear, but scientists have recognized the importance of studying the long-term effects of virtual reality on the human body, especially children.

Virtual reality equipment is a brand new thing. In addition to the entertainment industry, it also has immeasurable application prospects in the fields of education and medical care. However, before researchers and vendors understand the long-term impact of virtual reality on users, experts are more inclined to be cautious about child use.

"(On children's use of virtual reality devices), I doubt that parents can do their due diligence, which will be the most important factor," Michael Doudry, assistant researcher at the University of Mainz in Germany, who is engaged in the research of emerging technology ethics, is interested in the United States. The Science website said that parents should be extremely cautious and understand that the relevant research has not yet been carried out. Do not experiment with your own children.

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