See What a Migraine Looks Like with Augmented Reality

We all know how powerful virtual reality can be as a tool in creating empathy with users, transporting you into the shoes of another person or maybe even an animal.

Now, Excedrin is hoping to show us how augmented reality can also be used as an empathy tool, creating what they are calling the Migraine Experience.

Those who have suffered from migraines know, its not just a bad headache, but a debilitating headache that can be accompanied with nausea and disturbed vision. And for those who have never experienced a migraine, it may be hard to completely understand what a migraine sufferer must endure.


That’s why Excedrin is hoping to show at least one symptom, a migraine’s effect on vision, with their augmented reality simulation. To bring the Migraine Experience to life, the company brought together real sufferers in different types of relationships with non-sufferers – like a mother and daughter or a girlfriend and boyfriend.

In the latest video spot, each migraine suffer explained the symptoms they most often experience during an episode, including aura, disorientation, and blurred vision. The symptoms were then replicated for their non-sufferer counterpart with the help of an Oculus Rift headset and two cameras mounted to the front, creating an augmented vision experience that looks like torture.

Let’s be clear, this is first and foremost an advertising campaign, but it’s an interesting experiment to conceptualize a health condition. The only problem is that this experience omits the excruciating pain and severe nausea that also accompanies a migraine, which I am sure most sufferers would rather have blurred vision like what is demonstrated over the sharp head pain.


The reactions from non-sufferers captured in the video are emotional and show genuine empathy for their loved one. So maybe this is a good step in starting a dialogue about migraines even if it’s just a vision simulator.


If your into trying this yourself, maybe because you genuinely want to understand or your just into that sort of thing, the Migraine Experience app will be available for download in May for your Google Cardboard VR viewer.

About the Scout

Jonathan Nafarrete

Jonathan Nafarrete is the co-founder of VRScout.

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