rachel riley
Television presenter Rachel Riley tries the new Samsung Gear VR device at the IFA Electronics show in Berlin Reuters

Samsung says using its Gear VR virtual reality headset can lead to symptoms similar to those experienced when getting off a cruise ship, including dizziness, disorientation, impaired balance, fatigue, and nausea.

An exhaustive guide produced by Samsung as the Gear VR goes on sale in the US outlines the many side effects of using the headset, and urges customers to take a 10-15 minute break every 30 minutes "even if you do not think you need it."

Published in full by Ars Technica, the document which customers must confirm they have read before ordering Gear VR on Samsung's website, reads: "Just as with the symptoms people can experience after they disembark a cruise ship, symptoms of virtual reality exposure can persist and become more apparent hours after use."

Such a detailed and alarming list of potential side effects could be a major blow to Samsung's plans to offer Gear VR beyond the usual consumer channels. The company has hopes of selling the headset to architects, retailers and car dealers as a way of showing off products to customers before they are built, as well as to airlines as a pilot training tool.

Asking every visitor to a car showroom or estate agent to read and agree to such a lengthy document before seeing a virtual model of their car or house could present a major hurdle.

Gear VR is built using technology borrowed from the Facebook-owned Oculus Rift headset, and offers its wearer a 3D world which covers their entire field of vision, turning as they do and virtually surrounding them.

The image is provided by a Galaxy Note 4 phone, which slots into the front of the Gear VR and beams its screen through two lenses, into the user's eyes. The gadget can be used for gaming, watching video, or combined with augmented reality.

Not for children

Samsung warns that Gear VR cannot be used by children under 13 and should not be used "when you are tired, need sleep, are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, are hungover, have digestive problems, are under emotional stress or anxiety, or when suffering from cold, flu, headaches, migraines, or earaches,"

As well as general nausea, the Gear VR can also cause eye strain, "eye or muscle twitching, involuntary movements, altered, blurred, or double vision...impaired hand-eye coordination, excessive sweating, increased salivation...light-headedness, discomfort or pain in the head or eyes...or any symptoms similar to motion sickness."

Although on sale in the US, the Gear VR is not expected to arrive in the UK until early 2015, and will be priced at around £140. A Galaxy Note 4 phone is needed for the Gear VR headset to function, which costs £599 for the entry-level device.