3036 Body Representation in Immersive Virtual Reality

Saturday, February 19, 2011: 3:30 PM
146A (Washington Convention Center )
Mel Slater , ICREA-University of Barcelona & University College London, Barcelona, Spain
Computer programs can be written that digitally represent and simulate physical spaces and events. Immersive virtual reality systems provide a medium whereby this digital representation can be transformed into a stream of sense data (visual, auditory, haptic) with which you can interact via various types of immersive displays and body tracking systems. Typically virtual reality has been thought of as a way to place you inside representations of such simulations, where you have the feeling of being in the virtual place, and where you can carry out actions and respond to events that occur there. However, it is becoming clear that virtual reality can be used in a way that has hardly been explored up to now.  Not only can your sense of place be transformed, but also aspects of the sense of yourself, in particular the appearance of your body. In this talk I will describe several experiments that show virtual reality as a very powerful technology for body substitution, that is, for giving people the strong feeling that a virtual body has replaced their body, that the virtual body is their body. This opens up the door for a powerful new exploitation of this technology for many applications, as well as for the basic science of understanding how the brain represents the body.
<< Previous Presentation | Next Presentation