System Bits: March 31

Virtual nose; fever alarm; atoms entangled with a photon.

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Virtual nose reduces video game simulator sickness
While virtual reality games often cause simulator sickness – inducing vertigo and sometimes nausea — new research by Purdue University points to a potential strategy to ease the affliction: adding a virtual nose.

They explained that a number of physiological systems control the onset of simulator sickness including a person’s overall sense of touch and position (the somatosensory system), liquid-filled tubes in the ear (the vestibular system), as well as muscles that control eye movements (the oculumotor system).

Anecdotal evidence has suggested simulator sickness is less intense when games contain fixed visual reference objects – such as a racecar’s dashboard or an airplane’s cockpit – located within the user’s field of view — but the researchers acknowledged that there can’t be a cockpit in every VR simulation.

Then, an undergraduate member of the team suggested inserting the image of a virtual human nose in the center of the video display, which was genius because it gives a a frame of reference to help ground the player.

Virtual reality games often cause simulator sickness – inducing vertigo and sometimes nausea - but new research findings point to a potential strategy to ease the affliction: insert an image of a virtual human nose, or "nasum virtualis," into the center of the video display. This screenshot is from one application where the user rides a roller coaster. Findings suggest the virtual nose reduces simulator sickness. (Source: Purdue University)

Virtual reality games often cause simulator sickness – inducing vertigo and sometimes nausea – but new research findings point to a potential strategy to ease the affliction: insert an image of a virtual human nose, or “nasum virtualis,” into the center of the video display. This screenshot is from one application where the user rides a roller coaster. Findings suggest the virtual nose reduces simulator sickness. (Source: Purdue University)

The researchers confirmed that the virtual nose, or “nasum virtualis,” reduces simulator sickness when inserted into popular games.

Indoor-light-powered fever alarm armband
In the realm of wearable medical devices, a fever alarm armband device has been developed by researchers at the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Industrial Science and the Graduate School of Engineering that combines a flexible amorphous silicon solar panel, piezoelectric speaker, temperature sensor, and power supply circuit created with organic components in a single flexible package.

Constant monitoring of health indicators such as heart rate and body temperature is the focus of intense interest and sensors for such applications need to be flexible and wireless for patient comfort, maintenance-free and not requiring external energy supply, and cheap enough to permit disposable use to ensure hygiene. But conventional sensors based on rigid components are unable to meet these requirements.

Fever alarm armband: a flexible, self-powered wearable device that sounds an alarm in case of high body temperature. (Source: University of Tokyo)

Fever alarm armband: a flexible, self-powered wearable device that sounds an alarm in case of high body temperature. (Source: University of Tokyo)

The fever alarm armband incorporates several first-ever achievements, the researchers asserted. It is the first organic circuit able to produce a sound output, and the first to incorporate an organic power supply circuit created entirely with organic transistors. The former enables the device to provide audible information when the flexible thermal sensor detects a pre-set value, while the latter increases the range of operational illumination and permits the device to function under indoor lighting conditions. The device can provide constant monitoring of body temperature without the need to change batteries. In addition to the current temperature sensing device, the technology could also be adapted to provide audible feedback on body temperature, or combined with other sensors to register moisture, pressure or heart rate.

Atom entanglement
In a development that could make atomic clocks more accurate, physicists from MIT and the University of Belgrade have developed a new technique that can entangle 3,000 atoms using only a single photon. They said this represent the largest number of particles that have ever been mutually entangled experimentally.

This image illustrates the entanglement of a large number of atoms. The atoms, shown in purple, are shown mutually entangled with one another. (Source: MIT)

This image illustrates the entanglement of a large number of atoms. The atoms, shown in purple, are shown mutually entangled with one another. (Source: MIT)

The technique provides a realistic method to generate large ensembles of entangled atoms, which are key components for realizing more-precise atomic clocks, the team said.



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