Study Suggests iPad Gaming Makes People Feel Like Throwing Up

Researchers at the University of Minnesota say they've found a link between motion sickness and iPad gaming. The fact they played Gameloft's Call of Duty clone, Modern Combat is delightful to me, but the game itself isn't what makes people queasy. It's how games are played on the tablet in general.

In the study, half of the participants (average age 21) played the game using tilt controls—that is, manually moving the iPad. The other half played it with touch controls. Those who used touch controls—that is with the iPad itself motionless—were five times as likely as the tilt controllers to feel sick, the study found.

Now, overall, 11 people out of a study group of 36. They played for up to 40 minutes, in a controlled lab environment. So not everyone gets motion sick using a mobile device like an iPad, but if they do, then playing on an immobile screen is probably what's behind it.

Taken with two other studies done by the same Minnesota laboratory, it seems to support the idea that when someone is not in control of their locomotion, they're more likely to become motion sick.

In 2011, Thomas Stoffregen, director of Minnesota's Affordance Perception-Action Laboratory, used an Xbox 360 and driving games to study why a driver is less likely to get carsick than a passenger. In 2012 he used Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 to study motion sickness in walking, with someone "driving" the first person avatar and others watching a recording of its movement. "Turns out, like in our new study, the difference in getting sick or not is about being in control of your locomotion," Stoffregen said.

The study is published in an article appearing in the journal Experimental Brain Research.

New research links iPads to motion sickness [University of Minnesota]