Avatar-Like Out-Of-Body Reality A Step Closer

Avatar-Like Out-Of-Body Reality A Step Closer

Swiss researchers have achieved success in projecting human consciousness into a digital avatar.

Claudia Cukrov
  • 22 february 2011

Swiss researchers have achieved success in projecting human consciousness into a digital avatar – similar to a digital -out-of-body-experience, and to a certain extent – those 10-foot-tall Na’vi characters from James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’.

Investigating the sensory link between the brain and it’s perception of space, neurologist Olaf Blanke and his research group at the Switzerland-based Brain Mind Institute at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne have continued their previous research into digitalized brain ‘projections’, with the findings presenting some positive advantages to the physically-challenged and the gaming world.

Decked out in virtual-reality-style video goggles, volunteers experienced a digital avatar within a virtual 3D environment.  Researchers tested the physical-virtual ‘connection’ by physically touching the subjects ‘either in sync or out of sync with the digital humans, to see where the volunteers thought their bodies were in the virtual space.’

Hooked up to electrode headsets the scientists kept tabs on the volunteers’ electrical brain activity, noticing a ‘heightened response in the temporo-parietal and frontal regions of the volunteer’s brains, compared to control conditions.’  According to The Guardian, the results suggests successful integration of ‘touch and vision into a coherent perception.’

Digital gender doesn’t seem to affect the union of mind and digital body, with the researchers successfully  inserting male volunteers into female avatars.

Blanke believes out-of-body experiments are not something spiritual, but rather the brain in a state of confusion;

Instead of it being a spiritual thing, it is the brain being confused.

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?

Brain Mind Institute at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

[via The Guardian]


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