Carrying out regular 'pen-and-paper' exercises can reduce nausea during travel by more than 50 per cent, UK scientists claim.
Cognitive training tasks, including identifying how patterns would appear on transparent paper when folded, help 'train the brain' to reduce feelings of nausea in-transit, they say.
Motion sickness, which creates a sensation of wooziness, can occur during car travel, at sea or even while using a Virtual reality headset.
But it's also an issue for passengers in self-driving cars, who are free to read, watch films and play video games thanks to the autonomous technology.
Engaging in tasks before a journey was found to be effective at reducing motion sickness for passengers in both a driving simulator and on-the-road experiments, the experts found.
Motion sickness is anticipated to become more of a problem in self-driving cars, as passengers who would otherwise be driving are free to watch films and play games
'Being able to reduce an individual's personal susceptibility to motion-sickness using simple brain training style tasks training is a massive step forward in the development of future transport systems, including autonomous vehicles,' said Dr Joseph Smyth at the University of Warwick.
'Motion sickness has, for a long time, been a significant limitation to many peoples transport options and this research has shown a new method for how we can address this.
Visuospatial abilities refer to the way you relate visual information to the space around you.
You are using your visuospatial ability when you use a map to get from one place to another or judging vehicle distance and speed accurately to cross the road.
If you have visuospatial problems, you may find it hard to interpret what you see and act appropriately.
Source: MS Trust
'I hope that in the future we can optimise the training into a short, highly impactful method.'
Motion sickness is caused by repeated movements when travelling. These movements are out of balance with our body when we are sat still.
This juxtaposition causes conflicting messages to be sent from our sensory organs to our brain, making us feel unwell.
One in three of us is highly susceptible to motion sickness, although it can be experienced by everyone, except those with complete loss of function.
Due to potential vehicle designs and people’s desire to engage in non-driving related tasks such as reading or watching films, motion sickness will become a bigger problem for vehicle occupants.
The need to reduce motion sickness is 'more apparent than ever', according to Warwick, because self-driving vehicles will free up valuable time for the driver during their commute, for example.
Reducing motion sickness so much that people could read and work in future cars would lead to a productivity boost worth as much as $508 billion a year, according to Morgan Stanley.
However, relatively little research has been done into motion sickness, especially not into motion sickness and autonomous vehicles.
Shot of the driving simulator phase of the experiment. Motion sickness can be experienced in many domains, including car travel, on a boat, using Virtual reality headsets and simulator use
The researchers wanted to develop a sickness-alleviating method that didn't involve medication.
They recruited 42 participants, who were either assigned to receiving simulator trials and on-road trials.
Baseline motion sickness for each participants was first measured during their initial ride using pre-validated questionnaires.
A 'fast motion sickness scale' (FMS) was also used to capture real-time symptoms as they were driven around.
FMS involves asking participants to rate their overall motion sickness on a scale of 0 to 20 every minute whilst considering a combination of nausea, general discomfort and stomach problems.
On-road experimentation featuring Dr Joseph Smyth (right) and the passenger in the back seat
Following this first journey, participants completed various pen-and-paper visuospatial training tasks, once per day for 15 minutes per day, for two weeks.
'We devised a training pack as a method to train one's visuospatial ability,' Dr Smyth told MailOnline.
'Within this pack included 14 existing pen-and-paper style training exercises that all relate to the skills of visuospatial, mental