Motion sickness is a bitch to deal with, particularly if you're the kind of person who gets it whenever they're not driving. That's a big problem with the autonomous future we're finding ourselves heading towards, but Uber thinks it has a solution. A solution that involves vibrating seats and bursts of air. Oh my.
Obviously motion sickness is going to be a problem in the future. As anyone who's had to sit in the back seat during a long journey will tell you, it's not like you can sit back and read or stare at a screen without some unfortunate consequences. Since autonomous cars are supposed to free up time for more productive things, it'll be a bit of a waste if you spend the entire journey on the verge of throwing up.
While the autonomous car revolution is still a way off, you can find yourself in a similar situation if you're being ferried about by a taxi driver. That's why Uber has patented a new 'sensory simulation system' to try and beat the problem.
The idea behind the system is that the car will use a set of sensors that will alter the environment of the back seat to try and trick your brain. Motion sickness is generally caused by your bodies sensory system sending back opposite signals, usually with the balance systems in your ear claiming you are moving when your eyes don't see it. Uber thinks the new system will be able to fix the issue with the use of vibrating seats, blasts of air, and a 'light bar' inside the car to create an 'augmented environment'. That way the body will register movement that is more in-line with what the eyes are seeing and preventing nausea.
But, sadly, this is just a patent. We don't have any prototypes to test out, nor do we have any scientific reports detailing how it might work in more detail. I'll say this, though: if Uber wants to make this system a reality then sign me up. I'm sick and tired of feeling like shit after a 10 minute car journey. [USPTO via The Next Web]