Health and Safety in VR

Last updated on May 10, 2022

Introduction

We all customise our work station: adjusting the table height, finding a comfortable chair, installing the screens and surrounding with the accessories we need for our unique work style and flow. So when it comes to using VR as a part of your professional experience you should treat your headset the same way – customise it to your comfort level so you can spend time working with it and feeling great!

Safety First!

Make sure your environment is safe for using Gravity Sketch VR. The last thing you want to do is hit your laptop screen or step on a pencil.

Remember to:

  • Use a VR headset indoors only!
  • Ensure you have enough space to stretch your arms in any direction without hitting furniture, windows or the ceiling
  • Clear out the space of any trip hazards (wires, cables, toys or pets)
  • Make sure to have a wall socket or USB/USB-C port nearby in case you need to charge your headsets whilst using it. If you are tethered, ensure the cable is running behind you, and you are close enough to the computer that moving won’t pull on the cable.

Seated or standing?

You can use VR both seated or standing, but for longer sessions, a seated option could be more comfortable.

What is the most comfortable chair for VR? A standard office chair is very supportive for working on a computer, but some are too upright for VR, putting a strain on your neck. If you sink down in the chair to look up, you will put strain on your lower back. Look for a reclinable chair that allows your back to be slightly angled back.

If you are standing avoid walking with your feet and teleport only by using the Gravity Sketch VR interface to minimise the risk of nausea.

Let’s get comfortable

Now it’s time to find the most comfortable fit for your VR headset. Everyone is different and the best way to find your best fit is simply to try different things. Here are a few tricks to find your fit:

Balance the weight of the headset

Having too much weight on your face can get uncomfortable pretty quick. To minimise this discomfort try to balance the weight of your headset at the centre of your head by giving more support from the back. Pull the back strap low so it supports the base of the skull taking away the weight from your face.

The key thing is to ensure that the headset is not pressing too much on your forehead, cheeks or nose.

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Tip: You can consider buying a third party hard strap with soft padding and support for external batteries, which allows you to counterweight the front part of a VR headset.

1. Oculus Elite Strap 2. Basic hard strap 3. Pro Battery Pack strap

Adjust the lens position based on your IPD (Interpapillary Distance)

Interpapillary distance (IPD) is the distance measured in millimetres between the centres of the pupils of the eyes. Everyone is different so it’s important to set the lens position correctly in order to get a clear image in VR and minimise eye strain.

Ensure to adjust the lens position to your IPD following the headsets manufacturer instructions. You can find your IPD by speaking to an optician or at home with these mobile apps for iOS or Android.

After setting your IPD, If the image is still a little blurry, try to adjust the headset up and down so the centre of the lens matches your pupil. Sometimes a few millimetres can make a huge difference.

Using a VR headset with prescription glasses

Firstly, try the headset with and without glasses and see what feels better. Generally, looking in VR is like looking into the distance. If you wear glasses only for reading or using the computer, perhaps using a headset without glasses would suit you better.

If you decide to go with using glasses, try to use a special spacer which will create some extra space between the headset and the face to fit the glasses in.

You also have the option to insert prescription lenses directly into a headset. They also come with blue-light protection.

Time in VR

Once you’re feeling comfortable you’ll be able to create in Gravity Sketch for much longer. Breaks are essential when using VR for long periods.

  • If this is your first time using VR – start slow. Build up your tolerance session by session starting from as little as few mins until you eventually get comfortable to spend longer in a VR session.
  • Control your time. It’s easy to lose track of time in VR but you can always keep an eye on a clock on your non-drawing hand in Gravity Sketch, or simply set up a timer to alert you when it’s time to stop and take a break.
Try not to spend more than 60 mins in VR before taking a break. If you are planning a long session, break it down into smaller chunks, ensuring you take at least one long break every 2 hours.
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Do some eye exercises and general stretching when taking a break or at the end of a session. Even 2-3 minutes of basic stretches can make a significant difference over time and prevent repetitive stress injuries.

Take care of your VR equipment

These are simple ways to maintain your headset:

  • Clean the face foam or silicone cover regularly.
  • Wipe the plastic surfaces of the headset & controllers with antibacterial wipe or a wet cloth.
  • Don’t use chemicals to clean the lens, use a dry microfibre cloth or distilled water misted onto a microfibre cloth.
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Protect the lenses from direct sunlight to avoid damage. They are extremely sensitive to direct sunlight.
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