Researchers use virtual-reality avatars to create 'out-of-body' experience

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J. DOe
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Researchers use virtual-reality avatars to create 'out-of-body' experience

The article, at http://www.guardian.co.uk/...">http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/feb/17/people-virtual-reality-ava..., says:

Quote:They have successfully "projected" people into digital avatars that can move around a virtual environment. The participants experienced the digital body as if it were their own, even if the virtual humans were of the opposite sex.

The research is aimed at understanding how the brain integrates information coming from the senses in order to determine the position of the body in space. But the results could also be used in next generation computer games or for people who want to transport themselves, digitally, to other locations.

...

In his latest work, Blanke's volunteers used a similar VR set-up and then wandered through different digital 3D environments while researchers physically touched them either in sync or out of sync with the digital humans, to see where the volunteers thought their bodies were in the virtual space.

He also "projected" male volunteers into female avatars and placed volunteers directly into their avatars, so they were no longer watching from behind. Blanke reported that, even when moving in a virtual scene, volunteers felt as if whatever happened to the avatar happened to them.

"They start thinking that the avatar was their own body," said Blanke. "We created a partial out-of-body experience. We were able to disassociate touch and vision and make people think that their body was two metres in front of them."

The volunteers all wore skullcaps, which contained electrodes, to monitor the electrical activity in the brain. The data recorded by these showed a heightened response in the temporo-parietal and frontal regions of the volunteer's brains, compared to control conditions. These parts are responsible for integrating touch and vision into a coherent perception.

Blanke said the work on inducing these experiences artificially proved that they were nothing more than a brain malfunction. "Instead of it being a spiritual thing, it is the brain being confused," he said. "Why do we think that it is spiritual when we don't think a phantom limb when one is lost is an example of the paranormal?"

Even though people are currently generally quite physically detached from their online avatars, I have read of many people who closely associate with them anyway, which often helps to make these people more addicted to the video games. Using this latest virtual reality system would allow people to even more closely associate with their avatars (even if it is just due to a "brain malfunction") and, thus, possibly have the video games be even more addictive to those people who are susceptible to that.

- John O.

[em]Carpe Diem![/em] (Seize the Day!)

Chapter
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This reminds me of a book I

This reminds me of a book I read which talks about how people project a mental image of themselves onto objects. It is possible to feel pain from someone cutting a fake arm for instance, this is fairly common for amputee's and is named the Phantom Limb. The nervous system is mapped onto the outside of the brain and can be probbed using an external megnetic field.

How I became a gamer - http://olganon.org/?q=node/25044

Xandtar
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Isn't this the main theme of

Isn't this the main theme of "the matrix"?

Science fiction becomes science again

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J. DOe
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Bruce, although this has a

Bruce, although this has a lot of similarities to "The Matrix", the movie that this most closely emulates is James Cameron's "Avatar". In fact, the article starts off by mentioning this and using a screen shot from that movie. Regardless, though, I agree that it is one more instance of what was once science fiction rapidly approaching becoming science fact.

- John O.

[em]Carpe Diem![/em] (Seize the Day!)

Skopos
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Gaming?  Heck..can I put on

Gaming? Heck..can I put on a cap and instantly be at work with these other 'people?'

dreamcatcher
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Please forgive me if I add

Please forgive me if I add my two pennies worth here.

I have also read that they are putting handicapped children and young people into SL so they can experience through their avatar walking running etc. They have claimed that the depression rate in these children drops. I am not pyshologist or psychiatrist so I am not sure if this is something good or not or something as you say that the future will bring (Avatar movie ?) However, for some reason I feel this is dangerous. We have to accept our lives (which I guess is easy for me to say with all my faculties and abilities) but I think even handicapped people can have fulfilling lives in the real world, creatively or socially etc and that should be emphasized and encouraged also.

I am not sure how easy it would be for many in this case to just give up on life and stay in a virtual world forever!!

Skopos
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Hmm maybe life is a circle.

Hmm maybe life is a circle.

We live, we develop the technology to believe we are avatars, then we forget about our real selves and life goes on from there.

Then us as avatars live until we develop the technology in game to transplant ourselves out of the game into another game. Eventually we forget about our real selves and life goes on from there.

Then us as avatars of avatars devlop the technology in that game to transplant ourselves out of game number 2 and into a third game developed within the game of the game. Life goes on from there.

Meaning that if our original 'real' selves are immortal we only die because we percieve to die as avatars on this earth. So by supporting the development of this gaming technology we can create a new game with avatars that don't die and rid the world of death.

Unless of course self sustainablity is inherently dependent upon every avatar up to this point.

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