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The hundreds of thousands of people who suffer from motion sickness have a long list of activities they dread — and often avoid altogether. This includes long-distance airplane travel, road-trips, carnival rides, and, in the more severe cases, even certain movies and video games. However, if the French company Boarding Ring has its way, motion sickness sufferers will soon have nothing to worry about, provided they are willing to wear the goofy-looking Boarding Glasses!
Also called seasickness or car sickness, the affliction is believed to be the result of the brain receiving mixed signals from the sensory systems, which include the eyes, inner ear, muscles, and joints. For example, when you are looking at your phone on a moving bus, your inner ear detects the motion but your eyes, focused on the screen, thinks you are static. Researchers are not sure why the conflict between the inputs results in dizziness, nausea, and even vomiting. One plausible theory, suggested in the 1970s, is that the symptoms are an evolutionary adaptation to the body-eyes signal conflict — something that may in the early days be the result of eating toxic plants. A more recent hypothesis argues that they may be caused by the human body’s inability to keep still in a moving environment.
Boarding Glasses attempt to alleviate motion sickness symptoms by "recreating the horizon" so that all the user’s senses relay the same message. Though that sounds complicated, the science behind the patented eyewear is surprisingly simple. The frames, comprised of two round lenses on the front and two on the side, are hollow and partially filled with a blue liquid. Any movement in the vehicle causes the fluid to slosh around the eyes in the frontal (right to left) and the sagittal (front to back) direction. This allows the eye to sense the motion and send the correct signal to the brain. Antoine Jeannin, CEO of Boarding Ring, says, “Your eyes always get the reality of the movement and get a signal that is consistent with the balance system perception.”
According to the company, Boarding Glasses, invented by Jeannin’s father, have been extensively tested by French Navy personnel. Though the results are confidential, the CEO says that over 95 percent of the users reported feeling better after wearing them. Fashionistas afraid of pre-ordering the $106 eyewear because of their minion-esque appearance will be thrilled to know that they are only required to be worn for a short period of time. According to Jeannin, “You put the glasses on at the first sign of sickness, leave them on for 10 or 12 minutes, and then take them off. Usually, this cures you of nausea for the rest of the journey.” The best part is that since Boarding Glasses have no lenses, a single pair can be shared among a group of friends, or even an entire family!
Resources: cnet.com, gizmodo.com, smithsonian.com