Gaming accessory used in body-swapping experiment

What happens when a technology comes out that lets people literally see through the eyes of others? Why someone invents an experiment that lets men and women swap bodies, of course.

That’s exactly what researchers at a Barcelona university have done: they have used the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset – a gadget designed to be used with games – to let men and women explore each other’s bodies from a first-person perspective. On some level, I suppose, that is a game.

What happens is two volunteers don the goggles, each with a live video feed coming from the other person’s perspective, and they are told to take it in turns mimicking each other’s movements. The viewer sees the other person’s body as if it’s their own, which I can only imagine is a mind-bender of note.

Philippe Bertrand, a digital arts student at University Pompeu Fabra and co-founder of the research group, says the effect is “profound”. “Deep inside you know it’s not your body, but you feel like it is.”

If you’re willing to brave a “not safe for work” video that contains some nudity (but it’s scientific nudity so it’s okay, right?) to see the research in action, head over to the article to find out a bit more about the project.


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