Scientists Find Way To Trigger Out-of-Body Experiences

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Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how this is scientifically possible, take a moment to read the following quote: “The researchers say their findings could have practical applications, such as helping take video games to the next level of virtuality so the players feel as if they are actually inside the game.”

Wow…so this is what Wii 2 will be like.

Two teams of scientists (one from the UK and one from Switzerland) conducted experiments using virtual reality goggles and what basically amounts to holograms of volunteer subjects’ own bodies to trick their brains into thinking they were having an out-of-body experience.

“Their work suggests a disconnection between the brain circuits that process visual and touch sensory information may thus be responsible for some OBEs.

In the Swiss experiments, the researchers asked volunteers to stand in front of a camera while wearing video-display goggles.

Through these goggles, the volunteers could see a camera view of their own back – a three-dimensional ‘virtual own body’ that appeared to be standing in front of them.

When the researchers stroked the back of the volunteer with a pen, the volunteer could see their virtual back being stroked either simultaneously or with a time lag.

The volunteers reported that the sensation seemed to be caused by the pen on their virtual back, rather than their real back, making them feel as if the virtual body was their own rather than a hologram.

Even when the camera was switched to film the back of a mannequin being stroked rather than their own back, the volunteers still reported feeling as if the virtual mannequin body was their own.

And when the researchers switched off the goggles, guided the volunteers back a few paces, and then asked them to walk back to where they had been standing, the volunteers overshot the target, returning nearer to the position of their ‘virtual self’.”

Besides eventually being able to literally immerse yourself into your videos games, it’s been suggested that this new technique can be used for less important stuff like surgeons being able to perform surgery remotely by controlling a robotic version of themselves from the other side of the world.

Out-of-body experience recreated [BBC News] via  Neowin.net

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