New Medical Study Shows iPad Can Cause Motion Sickness

motion sicknessShortly after Apple launched iOS 7, word got around that the parallax feature and new way that things are animated were causing some pretty severe motion sickness. Some even complained of missing work due to sickness, headaches, and nausea. We tried to help out with a few suggestions for those suffering from nausea by turning on the “Reduce Motion” feature in Accessibilities, plus a few more suggestions. However, they were not a cure-all by any means.

Apple has since made the Reduce Motion feature more effective, but the damage has been done. I can only imagine that users suffering from severe motion sickness probably won’t ever be able to use iOS 7 without fear of the effects.

Thanks to new research from the University of Minnesota, sufferers have a whole other set of worries to deal with now. According to the research, the iPad has been directly linked to motion sickness in some users, specifically while playing games that use touch controls.

Research was conducted by having participants play video games on the iPad. Depending on the type of controls, participants became ill almost a third of the time. Those in the tilt control study group rarely experienced motion sickness. However, those in the touch control study group were nearly five times as likely to get motion sickness.

“This result is remarkable,” said lead researcher Thomas Stoffregen, director of the U of M Affordance Perception-Action Laboratory in the School of Kinesiology. “Given the number of mobile devices out there, our findings suggest the potential for a serious problem. However, the research also has some practical tips for how people can minimize the risk of motion sickness.”

The research, which was published in the “Experimental Brain Research” journal, was based on 36 undergraduate participants averaging 21 years old. The subjects played “Call of Duty: Modern Combat 3” on iPad devices moving the character on the screen for up to 40 minutes. Overall, 31 percent of participants reported feeling sick after playing, no matter how they controlled the game. Of the 31 percent who noted feeling sick, 11 percent of those using tilt controls got sick, while 50 percent of those using touch controls got sick.

Stoffregen believes this research has broad implications for motion sickness studies. “We have had lots of anecdotal reports that mobile devices can induce motion sickness, but ours is the first study in which these anecdotes have been put to the test under controlled experimental conditions,” he said.

About Lory: Writer of all things app related, traveler of the space-time continuum, baker of really great cookies. Follow me @appaholik

  • immovableobject

    “I can only imaging (sic) that users suffering from severe motion sickness probably won’t ever be able to use iOS 7 without fear of the effects.”

    That’s right. This FUD exists in your imagination. But thanks for sharing.

    • Lory Gil

      Not in my imagination. I don’t suffer from motion sickness while using iOS 7, but thanks for commenting.

  • Dexter Marlowe

    it’s Call of Duty for crying out loud! who DOESN’T get sick playing that game!? how come no one ever complained about Candy Crush, Angry Birds, Flappy Bird, etc. and why single out the iPad?

    • Lory Gil

      According to the study, 69 percent of people don’t get sick playing the game. The games you mentioned above don’t use motion (although Flappy Birds might be considered). It would be like sitting in a car that inched forward one foot every few minutes and then testing whether a person got motion sickness from it. The iPad isn’t being singled out. There are plenty of studies taking place that involve other tablets, too. This particular article is in reference to an iPad-related one.