Excedrin’s Migraine Experience lets you have a migraine via virtual reality

Living vicariously by way of virtual reality is generally regarded as a pleasant experience. Can’t get to that Ikea showroom? No worries, we’ll bring it to you. Want to climb Machu Picchu from your living room? Step right up. But because we just can’t keep nice things nice for too long, Excedrin asked a different question — want to experience the debilitating effects of a migraine? No? Too late — Excedrin’s migraine simulator is already here.

Perhaps one of the first simulators to cause wearers to feel discomfort, the point of the VR experience, Excedrin says, is to help non-migraine sufferers better comprehend the extent of the condition. While 36 million Americans are affected migraines, Excedrin claims, “Migraines are still widely misunderstood — largely because those who don’t experience the condition can’t fully understand it.”

As such, the pain pill company used a cutting edge virtual reality platform to create “an immersive experience that replicates common migraine symptoms, such as light and sound, disorientation, and aura (visual disturbances, sometimes manifesting as spots or jagged edges).” Each migraine simulated by the VR platform was customized to the unique experience of a patient, and then, friends and family members were invited to try on the headset in hopes of eliciting a sense of empathy. Needless to say, the simulator proved pretty effective in that regard.

Diana Crandall of the New York Daily News tried the simulator on for herself, an experience that she called “nearly unbearable.” Even while sitting, she wrote, “I couldn’t compose a text message, let alone scroll through a newsfeed. I sat helplessly trying to make a phone call.” And when she tried to walk, things got even worse. “I staggered down my office hallway in a seemingly drunken stupor, grasping at walls to try and steady my steps,” Crandall said. “I could barely focus on putting one foot in front of the other, making talking while walking akin to a mission impossible.”

If you’re feeling particularly masochistic, the Migraine Experience app will be available for download in May, and if you’ve got a Google Cardboard, you can give yourself a migraine and see what it’s like firsthand, all thanks to the magic of virtual reality.

Emerging Tech

‘Rogue medicine in a bathtub’: 4 experts on the vice and virtue of pharma hacking

A biohacker, pharmahacker, and two bioethicists walk into a bar. We ordered them a metaphorical round and had a chat about the risks and rewards of DIY medicine — from unsanctioned gene therapy to medication made on the kitchen counter.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix in August, from ‘Arrested Development’ to ‘Dark Tourist’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Computing

PDF to JPG conversion is quick and easy using these simple methods

Converting file formats can be an absolute pain, but it doesn't have to be. We've put together a comprehensive guide on how to convert a PDF to JPG, no matter which operating system you're running.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robo sidekicks, AC for your bed, and more

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Outdoors

The Mate X folding ebike carries a 55-mile range with an affordable price tag

The Mate X folding ebike promises to deliver a range of up to 55 miles, speeds of 20 mph, and an affordable price point. The bike is already a success on Indiegogo, raising $2.4 million in just a few weeks time.
Emerging Tech

There’s a new use for the failed Google Glass: Helping kids with autism

Stanford University researchers may have found the perfect application for Google’s ill-fated Google Glass smart glasses: Helping kids with autism to deal better in social situations.
Wearables

The Galaxy Watch will make you a better person

The newly unveiled Galaxy Watch pushes the edge of the wearable envelope: This smartwatch aims to improve not just your fitness but your overall wellness, explains Alanna Cotton, Senior Vice President and General Manager at Samsung.
Emerging Tech

These yeast colony patches are like living Geiger counters

A team of researchers from Purdue University have designed a patch that can help measure radiation exposure in nearly real time. They're simple, made out of little more than paper and yeast, and cost pennies on the dollar.
Emerging Tech

By studying patient data, A.I. can limit toxicity in cancer treatment

In a bid to improve quality of life for cancer patients, a team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have turned to machine learning to help avoid toxicity from cancer medications.
Health & Fitness

This cycling computer has a ‘surprise me’ feature for finding random routes

The Mio Cyclo 210 cycling computer is a feature-packed option for road cyclists and mountain bikers, and even comes with a "surprise me" option for finding alternate routes based on time, distance, and destination.
Emerging Tech

Cotton and corn! Reebok’s newest sneaker is ‘made from things that grow’

Keen to move away from using oil-based materials to make its footwear, Reebok has turned to cotton and corn for its latest sneaker. No dyes have been used to color the shoes, either, and the packaging is 100 percent recyclable.
Mobile

No, blue light from your cell phone won’t make you blind

A new study from the University of Toledo reveals the process by which blue light impacts the photoreceptors in our eyes and leads to macular degeneration, an incurable eye disease that causes blindness later in life. The fact that blue…
Mobile

Is Google launching an A.I. fitness coach for smartwatches?

Google is reportedly working on a health and well-being coach for Wear OS devices. Known as "Google Coach," the assistant will be able to suggest workouts, meal plans, and more, based on a user's activity.
Emerging Tech

Scientists try to trick brains of amputees with phantom limb syndrome

New research might help some amputees better mesh what they see with what they feel. In a recently published paper, researchers show how an amputee’s brain can be tricked into believing a prosthetic hand belongs to their own body.