Excedrin ‘Migraine Experience’ lets non-sufferers ‘see’ what debilitating headaches feel like

[Most presence experiences are meant to be positive, or at least neutral; this one is purposely unpleasant. Unfortunately I know well that not replicating the pain of a migraine means the presence experience is a limited replication, but it can still be quite useful. Both stories below are from the New York Daily News; the first one features Excedrin’s 2:07 minute video and additional pictures. Excedrin’s press release is available via PR Newswire. And coverage by Chip Chick provides this detail: “Excedrin had a custom rig drawn up that combines augmented reality and virtual reality to get people to see what their lives would be like if they were suddenly hit with a migraine. When strapped into VR, users will still be able to see the real world around them, but with migraine goggles on. Usually with augmented reality, the augmented field of vision is narrow — this rig uses VR head tracking to turn augmented reality into a full, 360-degree experience.” –Matthew]

Excedrin migraine simulator (first-person view from video)

Excedrin ‘Migraine Experience’ lets non-sufferers ‘see’ what debilitating headaches feel like

BY Nicole Lyn Pesce
Thursday, April 7, 2016

Seeing is believing.

A new migraine simulator lets people who have never endured one of the debilitating headaches get inside a sufferer’s head.

Excedrin unveiled “The Migraine Experience” on Wednesday, the world’s first augmented reality migraine simulator, which bombards the wearer with the blinking lights, floating spots, blurred vision and disorienting auras that 36 million U. S. sufferers report experiencing once the head-pounders take hold.

The curious will be able to download “The Migraine Experience” app in May, and experience the simulation using Google Cardboard.

The creators hope to break the stigma that migraines are just bad headaches.

“We’re simulating the symptoms of a migraine — everything but the pain — because experiencing is believing,” said Excedrin rep Scott Yacovino in a statement. “Allowing non-sufferers, for the first time, to see what it’s like to have a migraine.”

The team brought together four real-life migraineurs with their non-suffering family and friends to test-drive the technology, and hopefully deliver that “aha” moment.

Each migraine patient explained their individual symptoms, such as “everything gets blurry in one eye” or seeing “floating spots,” and the visual effects were replicated for the non-suffering relative or colleague.

The men and women wearing the simulator were asked to try riding the subway or going to a restaurant while experiencing floating auras, darkening tunnel vision or blinding lights in their field of sight.

“This is so crazy,” said one woman in a video debuting the Migraine Experience experiment.

“I’ve got to stop,” said a man overwhelmed by the sensory overload. He told his migraine-afflicted girlfriend he was “sorry for ever doubting you.”

All of the non-sufferers came out of the experience with a better understanding of what the migraineurs go through.

“Oh my God. I don’t even know how you function,” said one woman.

“It’s exactly what you just experienced, plus severe, severe pain,” answered her friend.

“Migraines interfere with work, with people’s social lives, emotional health and relationships,” said Dr. Elizabeth Seng, a New York based psychologist in a statement. “Unfortunately, migraines are largely misunderstood, often leaving sufferers feeling isolated and stigmatized.”

[This first-person report also from the New York Daily News includes a 2:55 minute video report and more pictures pictures. –M.]

SEE IT: Daily Newser tries out migraine simulator so you don’t have to

BY Diana Crandall
Saturday, April 9, 2016

Talk about tunnel vision.

As I slipped on the hulking headgear of Excedrin’s “Migraine Experience” — the first augmented reality simulator of its kind — my clear, coherent world was transformed into one of blurred vision, bulging walls and distorted perception.

Just sitting in a chair with the simulator on was nearly unbearable. I couldn’t compose a text message, let alone scroll through a newsfeed. I sat helplessly trying to make a phone call.

But if sitting was bad, walking was worse. I staggered down my office hallway in a seemingly drunken stupor, grasping at walls to try and steady my steps. I could barely focus on putting one foot in front of the other, making talking while walking akin to a mission impossible.

Thankfully, I didn’t have any of the pounding pain or nausea that comes with a real migraine, but millions of Americans who suffer every day from the infamously intense headaches aren’t so lucky.

The simulator gave humbling insight into the debilitating reality that afflicts more than 10% of the population — including children.

It’s a reality check for those who have never suffered from the disorder. When loved ones or coworkers call out sick because of a migraine, it’s important to remember that it isn’t just a headache.

If you’re curious about what migraine sufferers are subjected to, you’ll be able to download “The Migraine Experience” app in May and experience the simulation yourself using Google Cardboard.

It’s an eye-opening experience that allows those without the disorder to walk just a few disorienting steps in the shoes of those who do.


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