Citron Introduces Glasses That 'Eliminate Motion Sickness,' With One Obvious Downside
Citroën has developed a device, meant to be worn on the face, that resemble eyeglasses and can eliminate the symptoms associated with motion sickness within minutes of putting them on. Or so it claims.
Obviously, such an invention would be a blessing for travelers afflicted with a sensitive stomach, but we’ve noticed they’re not the most stylish set of frames on the market. On the spectrum of taste, we’d place them right between the novelty glasses people wear during New Year’s Eve — denoting the coming annum — and the false spectacles you drew on your passed-out roommate’s face in college.
However, if you view Citroën motion sickness glasses as a medical device, they become easier on the eyes. Tragically named Seetroën, the frames are said to use “Boarding Ring™ technology” and boast 95 percent effectiveness. All you have to do is wait until you feel sick and chuck these bad boys onto your face. After about ten minutes, the glasses “enable the mind to resynchronize with the movement perceived by the inner ear while the eyes were focused on an immobile object.”
Typically, motion sickness gets really bad when you’re trying to use a mobile device or read a book while riding in an automobile. As the body is subjected to involuntary movements caused by the automobile, the eyes attempt to focus upon a fixed object. This causes the central nervous system to get conflicting messages and everything starts to go haywire. While you can feel ill just looking out the window, drivers are less susceptible since they’re constantly scanning and in control of the vehicle’s movements.
According to the automaker, Seetroën works by having each ring house a tab with with liquid that recreates the horizon line to resolve the conflict between the senses that causes the affliction. Basically, there’s an air pocket, somewhat similar to something you might find on a carpenter’s bubble level, that’s supposed help orient the mind to the true horizon — regardless of where you’re looking. After a short period, Citroën says you can even take the glasses off and enjoy the rest of your trip without experiencing a persistent desire to vomit.
However, the design leaves us doubting its overall effectiveness, especially in the absence of legitimate scientific backing for the claim. Those of us who already wear glasses know that eye tends to focus far beyond the frame. In fact, you aren’t really even aware that you’re wearing glasses most of the time. Are the bubbles hidden in the bottom of the frame really enough to keep the eyes synced with inner ear? Also how can the glasses continue to work when they aren’t being worn? That bit smacks of the marketing department admitting to themselves that nobody in their right mind would want to wear these things for more than twelve minutes at a time in public.
Will the Seetroën will be remembered as a gimmicky and pointless invention, like the Baby Mop and Car Exhaust Grill, or are we looking at the next lightbulb? Citroën seems to have faith. It’s confident enough to sell the item for $116. If that sounds like too much, they should also work equally well for sea and air sickness — tripling their value!
Frankly, if they do work as claimed, they would become an invaluable addition to some travelers’ backpacks. There are few experiences less pleasant than being trapped inside a small space you aren’t supposed to puke into and desperately needing to.
As for the frame’s questionable looks, the automaker claims they’re actually very fetching. Citroën called upon a collective design studio based in Paris “which has successfully incorporated the brand’s fresh, simple and ergonomic style. The result is a pair of glasses with a high-tech look in white soft-touch plastic.”
Oh, now we see it. Magnificent.
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For those who get sea sick (not see sick), one technique is to look at the horizon for a while. It appears the Seetroën might be trying to tap into that, but it's unclear to me if it would work. On a related note, I stopped playing DOOM and other first person shooters, not because I grew up, but because as I grew older, I got motion sick staring at the screen. I'm sure these glasses won't help me reclaim my youthful diversions.
"enable the mind to resynchronize with the movement perceived by the inner ear while the eyes were focused on an immobile object.” To accomplish this, I utilize the Lemaz breathing techniques we learned in the late 80s when we started having kids. Focus on a stationary object in front of you, and breathe steadily. It has helped on several airplane flights.