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Jun 23, 2010

First person experience of body transfer in virtual reality

First person experience of body transfer in virtual reality.

PLoS One. 2010;5(5):e10564

Authors: Slater M, Spanlang B, Sanchez-Vives MV, Blanke O

BACKGROUND: Altering the normal association between touch and its visual correlate can result in the illusory perception of a fake limb as part of our own body. Thus, when touch is seen to be applied to a rubber hand while felt synchronously on the corresponding hidden real hand, an illusion of ownership of the rubber hand usually occurs. The illusion has also been demonstrated using visuomotor correlation between the movements of the hidden real hand and the seen fake hand. This type of paradigm has been used with respect to the whole body generating out-of-the-body and body substitution illusions. However, such studies have only ever manipulated a single factor and although they used a form of virtual reality have not exploited the power of immersive virtual reality (IVR) to produce radical transformations in body ownership. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here we show that a first person perspective of a life-sized virtual human female body that appears to substitute the male subjects' own bodies was sufficient to generate a body transfer illusion. This was demonstrated subjectively by questionnaire and physiologically through heart-rate deceleration in response to a threat to the virtual body. This finding is in contrast to earlier experimental studies that assume visuotactile synchrony to be the critical contributory factor in ownership illusions. Our finding was possible because IVR allowed us to use a novel experimental design for this type of problem with three independent binary factors: (i) perspective position (first or third), (ii) synchronous or asynchronous mirror reflections and (iii) synchrony or asynchrony between felt and seen touch. CONCLUSIONS: The results support the notion that bottom-up perceptual mechanisms can temporarily override top down knowledge resulting in a radical illusion of transfer of body ownership. The research also illustrates immersive virtual reality as a powerful tool in the study of body representation and experience, since it supports experimental manipulations that would otherwise be infeasible, with the technology being mature enough to represent human bodies and their motion.

Virtual reality hypnosis for pain associated with recovery from physical trauma

Virtual reality hypnosis for pain associated with recovery from physical trauma.

Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2010 Jul;58(3):288-300

Authors: Patterson DR, Jensen MP, Wiechman SA, Sharar SR

Pain following traumatic injuries is common, can impair injury recovery and is often inadequately treated. In particular, the role of adjunctive nonpharmacologic analgesic techniques is unclear. The authors report a randomized, controlled study of 21 hospitalized trauma patients to assess the analgesic efficacy of virtual reality hypnosis (VRH)-hypnotic induction and analgesic suggestion delivered by customized virtual reality (VR) hardware/software. Subjective pain ratings were obtained immediately and 8 hours after VRH (used as an adjunct to standard analgesic care) and compared to both adjunctive VR without hypnosis and standard care alone. VRH patients reported less pain intensity and less pain unpleasantness compared to control groups. These preliminary findings suggest that VRH analgesia is a novel technology worthy of further study, both to improve pain management and to increase availability of hypnotic analgesia to populations without access to therapist-provided hypnosis and suggestion.

Therapists' Perception of Benefits and Costs of Using Virtual Reality Treatments

Therapists' Perception of Benefits and Costs of Using Virtual Reality Treatments.

Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2010 Jun 14;

Authors: Segal R, Bhatia M, Drapeau M

Abstract Research indicates that virtual reality is effective in the treatment of many psychological difficulties and is being used more frequently. However, little is known about therapists' perception of the benefits and costs related to the use of virtual therapy in treatment delivery. In the present study, 271 therapists completed an online questionnaire that assessed their perceptions about the potential benefits and costs of using virtual reality in psychotherapy. Results indicated that therapists perceived the potential benefits as outweighing the potential costs. Therapists' self-reported knowledge of virtual reality, theoretical orientation, and interest in using virtual reality were found to be associated with perceptual measures. These findings contribute to the current knowledge of the perception of virtual reality amongst psychotherapists.

Jun 22, 2010

New gesture-based system from MIT


Researchers at MIT have developed a new gesture-based system that combines a standard webcam, colored lycra gloves, and a software that includes a dataset of pictures. This simple and cheap system allows to translate hands gestures into a computer-generated 3d-model of the hand in realtime. Once the webcam has captured an image of the glove, the software matches it with the corresponding hand position stored in the visual dataset and triggers the answer. This approach reduces computation time as there is no need to calculate the relative positions of the fingers, palm, and back of the hand on the fly.


The inexpensive gesture-based recognition system developed at MIT could have applications in games, industry and education. I also envisage a potential application in the field of motor rehabilitation.


Credit: Jason Dorfman/CSAIL