NOXTAK® Technologies

The rise of the Metaverse: What would the use of AR / VR Headsets imply for users?

The metaverse, a virtual world only a few enthusiasts heard about during the last years, has arisen this year and plans to stay and evolve. With its almost infinite promises and possibilities, AR and VR will increase sales and usage. Do we know what this could mean in terms of exposure?

A centralized virtual world, a “place” parallel to the physical world, somewhere you can live, enjoy and share without being physically present… That’s the metaverse, an idea many just had heard about in geeks, sci-fi shows, or forums. If someone told you about this before, you probably wouldn’t believe it’s possible; until this very year, when big companies like Microsoft and Meta (formerly Facebook) are betting on changing their user experiences using this virtual world. 

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have been gaining momentum for a couple of years as promising new technologies. More and more people, especially young people, purchase these systems and use them daily. Now, with the expectations set by Meta recently and the many brands that will surely follow, the usage of these technologies will see an incredible increase.

According to E-marketer, the number of VR users in the US is currently 57.4 million. Statista also affirms that 23% of VR /AR device owners are young adults between 25 and 34 years old. A virtual reality demographic reveals that 70% of US children between the ages of 8 and 15 were “extremely” or “fairly” interested in having VR experiences.

These systems can undoubtedly expand human knowledge by changing how people learn, work, play, and get entertained. They are considered valuable tools for work-related training and educational purposes in children and teenagers. They are also projected to be the future of immersive digital marketing. So yes, the massification of VR is unavoidable.

AR and VR have many benefits in several fields, but, surprisingly, there has been almost no discussion on the health and safety risks associated with strapping a VR headset over your eyes. And we are not just talking about those related to eye affections or emotional/mental wellbeing; we are also pointing out that we are deliberately putting an EMF emitting system over our heads. 

The reality is that we will be exposing ourselves to several side effects. We are not mentioning them all here, as we, at NOXTAK LABS, are conducting several tests around this system and the implications of the amount of EMF emissions we are exposed to when using them. Even when there’s a lot to be discovered yet, we will tell you what we know so far in this article. 

The explicit risks

Of course, one of the biggest concerns around VR Systems is related to the eyes. “There are a variety of potential issues. One is how we affect the growth of the eye, which can lead to myopia or nearsightedness,” said optometry Professor Martin Banks, who additionally commented that 10 million American adults are now considered “severely nearsighted.”

Additionally, many people who use virtual reality complain of eye strain, headaches, and, in some cases, nausea. Experts say that’s due to the way VR affects the eye-brain connection. In real life, our eyes naturally converge and focus on a point in space, and our brain is so used to this that it’s coupled the two responses together. Virtual reality separates those, confusing the brain.

Most devices also include a warning to see a doctor before use if you are “pregnant, elderly, or have pre-existing conditions that may affect your virtual reality experiences such as vision abnormalities, psychiatric disorders, heart conditions, or other serious medical conditions.” That warning includes implanted medical devices and anyone with epilepsy or a history of seizures and blackouts.

Finally, the immersive nature of virtual and augmented reality can induce stress or anxiety after wearing a full occlusion headset for more than a few minutes. Depending on what images they see, virtual reality can bring in waves of emotions more than just looking at photos or watching videos. 

EMF associated risks

Like all technologies nowadays, wearable technology like VR headsets potentially exposes users to harmful electromagnetic frequency radiation. These devices use wireless connections like Bluetooth or WiFi to connect with your smartphone, computer, or console, and they are equipped with smart sensors that allow you to be immersed in the VR experience.

Some virtual reality headsets also use smartphones, which emit even higher radiation. Until now, numerous studies have already pointed out how cell phone radiation can affect the human reproductive system, disrupt sleep, or cause mood swings. Now, VR headsets work together with cellphones and can wirelessly connect. This is a cocktail of long-term health risks, and we need to keep in mind that a developing child’s brain is especially vulnerable to electromagnetic radiation

It’s important to mention again that the World Health Organization (WHO) classifies cell phones as “possibly carcinogenic” (Group 2B). The study also implies that increased proximity to the devices increases radiation exposure. This particular finding makes wearable even more worrying, given that they are specifically designed to be worn constantly near the body.

Also, researchers from the National Toxicology Program (NTP), a federal inter-agency group under the National Institutes of Health, conducted experiments on mice that showed how subjects exposed to electromagnetic radiation could be more susceptible to cancer. In this study, the exposed rats also developed a rare type of brain cancer that was only shown due to this factor.

Like phones and other wireless devices, VR Systems emit EMF radiation inherently associated with its proper function. The solution we suggest is a non-blocking technology, such as SPIRO®, that instead of blocking the radiation the device produce and needs to get connected, filters the imbalances in the artificially polarized EMFs and favors both the device’s functioning, your health, and the environment.

Visit our shop section to know more about our SPIRO® solutions. And stay tuned for more interesting facts and valuable information! Subscribe to our blog in the form at the bottom of this page.