DK2: How to Turn Off the Health and Safety Warning

Jan 10, 2016

rift_H_S_msg

 

Let’s first have a word about usability and the future of VR.

Why is this message shown to begin with?

If you own or had the pleasure of using an Oculus Rift Development Kit 2 (DK2), you will be familiar with the required health warning message that is shown every time you start up your device with active content. This is a real, REAL pain during development and adds a good five to ten full beats to each dev cycle. Wouldn’t it be great to turn this off for good? It’s actually easier than you think once you know a few tricks we’ll look at in a second, but first let’s use this as an opportunity to consider some responsibly before we do.

Remember those pesky FBI warnings shown before VHS tape movies? This is a lot like that, although copyright piracy was never a public health issue, this notice shown before VR content is even more important as some users may actually become sick or disorientated while using the device. This also goes well beyond normal video game warnings about flickering screens (see epilepsy), as VR directly impacts most of the natural senses while using the device. It is therefore critical that all new users are introduced to the platform correctly, like a theme park ride.

Each individual should fully understand the risks involved and what to expect before using a device.

Some data does seem to show that women can be more sensitive to movement and balance than men[1], and as such, many of our loved divas may feel more dizzy and sick faster than others. Being sick is not fun for anyone, so please be gentle.

It is important to make this clear to new users and maybe discus how they can simply close their eyes and lift the headset if they feel uncomfortable at any time as you turn it off. This may be harder when holding a remote or when they lose all sense of balance, so it is a good idea to “spot” more sensitive users while they try the device–not unlike how one would spot a weight lifter at the gym–be close and prepared to grab them if they begin to fall over.

Another great tip is a very thin slice of fresh ginger on the tongue. It has been shown to help people sensitive to movement sickness enjoy a solid fifteen to twenty minutes of play time.

The last thing we want to do is have discomfort and a lot of negative misunderstanding and about VR before we have a chance to really figure all the best practices and guidelines.

As “VR DJs” it is up to us to spin the mood and trip the new user has based on: which content we have available; the comfort and experience of the user;  the quality, order and intensity content is presented.

Just like drone pilots have a responsibility to their hobby and public they fly over, so too do owners of VR devices. Early VR adopters are the ushers for the rest of the public into this new world and shoulder some responsibility.

VR is so powerful, chances are the future will be filled with people falling from their chairs, vomiting, and even hurting themselves or others from the normal human reactions virtual reality can easily induce-not unlike many Wii controller accidents[2] before it.  Have fun and be responsible!

How Do I Disable the Warning Already?

I hope it will be easier in the future versions of Oculus Config Utility, but today the company hides this feature by design.

oculus_health_stock

You can update your system so that this option is actually shown as a new checkbox in the Advanced panel in the Config Utility dialog. But, you have to update your system registry to add this option, which can be nasty if you make a mistake or hit the delete key by accident while browsing. The Registry Editor should really only be used by those familiar with it, as it can easily destroy your whole system with a few simple key strokes.

oculus_health_after

Registry batch files to the rescue. 

oculus_health_registry_bat_file

This batch file will allow you to make the change without any risk to the rest of your system in three easy steps:

  1. Quit the Oculus Config Utility if it is currently running in the system tray.
  2. Download the file: Oculus_rift_turn_off_health_warning.reg (by right-clicking link then select “Save link as”)
  3. Once you have the .reg file on your system, simply right-click and select “merge” from the menu.

oculus_health_registry_bat_file_merge

 

 

 

 

You will then get a warning about updating your registry, click Yes.

oculus_health_registry_bat_file_confirm

Once complete, you will see a confirmation message the update is complete.

oculus_health_registry_bat_file_confirm2

 

Then fire up the Oculus Config Utility and tick the checkbox.

oculus_health_after_tick

Remember to warn new users before they use the device, and rock on!

 

Notes:

[1] Is the Oculus Rift sexist? 3/2014 – http://qz.com/192874/is-the-oculus-rift-designed-to-be-sexist/

Virtual Reality for Physical and Motor Rehabilitation 2014 – https://books.google.com/books?id=r5EpBAAAQBAJ&pg=PA178&lpg=PA178&dq=virtual+reality+women+are+sensitive&source=bl&ots=Z1ELuq3PdX&sig=_erkWPbNGRdcMlIladbpHa-iyMM&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwito52W2KTKAhWJeD4KHck4ACAQ6AEIMDAD#v=onepage&q=virtual%20reality%20women%20are%20sensitive&f=false

[2] Wii have a problem. NYT 12/2006 – http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2006/12/08/wii-have-a-problem/

 

 

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