Nothing can turn a beautiful drive into a nightmare faster than motion sickness. The person getting sick feels awful and the person driving might feel even worse knowing their driving has the person in the passenger seat turning green. Jaguar is studying the problem and hopes to put an end to the days of car motion sickness.
Land Rover researcher Spencer Salter has spent the last two years studying motion sickness by trying to make himself sick. The fun part was spending time on amusement park rides, zip lining, and experiencing all manner of things people usually only get to do on their days off. The not fun part was occasionally feeling rather queasy.
We all know what it feels like to get motion sick, whether it’s from a car ride or a roller coaster, but researchers haven’t figured out exactly what causes those feelings. That makes it tricky to prevent, so Salter’s research involved figuring out the physical indicators that motion sickness is imminent.
He wore a variety of sensors that detected everything from his body temperature to his heart rate to see what happens when we get motion sick. His study showed that the heart rate is the most consistent indicator. It went way up on an adrenaline-inducing ride like a roller coaster and way down on a ride like the teacups.
It went even further down when he was actually vomiting, which is part of how our bodies keep poison from spreading. A low heart rate keeps anything in your system from spreading as fast, while vomiting gets rid of the stuff.
Jaguar hopes to analyze these indicators, use them to monitor people in its cars, and then automatically make adjustments to keep passengers from getting sick. Biometric sensors could see a sudden change in heart rate and then adjust the temperature or even adjust seating position.
There would need to be some symptoms of pending motion sickness, but the idea here is to catch the body’s signals early enough to stop it from going further. Part of the problem with motion sickness is that by the time we really feel it it’s hard to reverse.
Jaguar hopes to detect the things our bodies do before we even realize we’re getting motion sick. If it can then warn us and make suggestions to keep us from actually getting motion sick, we can finally say goodbye to car sickness.