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posted by janrinok on Monday March 03 2014, @11:59PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the no-that's-me-over-there dept.

Papas Fritas writes:

"Kyle Vanhemert reports that a group of researchers in Barcelona are using the Oculus Rift headset to let participants experience the creative process through someone else's eyes and in their latest experiment are letting men and women swap bodies. Two subjects are outfitted with headsets connected so that each participant sees a video stream from point-of-view cameras attached to the other person's rig. The participants are instructed to mimic each other's movements, wordlessly dictating the action in tandem like kids playing with a Ouija board. They start out moving their hands around and touching their arms and bellies, but they then shed clothes, graze their own bare skin, and look into their underwear to give their partner a sense of what it's like to look down and see equipment that's not usually there. The effect is profound says Philippe Bertrand. 'Deep inside you know it's not your body, but you feel like it is.' 'The discovery of 'mirror neurons' by Giacomo Rizzolatti has shown us that you can't conceive an 'I' without an 'us,' Bertrand explains. The group calls it 'The Machine To Be Another' and over the last several months, the group has found a diverse group of researchers interested in their 'embodiment experience platform,' from artists to therapists to anthropologists. Their latest project is focused on VR's potential for fields like gender studies and queer theory, but they're already formulating applications from artistic performances to neuro-rehabilitation. Other studies suggest the effectiveness of embodiment for reducing implicit racial bias. The Machine To Be Another 'aims to promote self understanding, empathy and tolerance among users' across the spectrum. It's basically highly conceptual performance art, though we could see the technology being used in educational settings to help broaden discussions on gender, race, disabilities, and aging."

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  • (Score: 0) by Buck Feta on Tuesday March 04 2014, @12:14AM

    by Buck Feta (958) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @12:14AM (#10364) Journal
    >> though we could see the technology being used in educational settings

    I'll bet that's not all.
    --
    - fractious political commentary goes here -
  • (Score: 5, Funny) by Fluffeh on Tuesday March 04 2014, @12:16AM

    by Fluffeh (954) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @12:16AM (#10365) Journal

    So I really have to wonder what are the chances, that somewhere, deep down in the original ideas and spitballing this out - was there a group of nerds who owned a rift and were wondering if there was any way to get a hot chick to get her kit off...

    I mean, for the most part, it almost seems like this is a VR version of doctors and nurses.

    That laves me to wonder how many days it is going to be before this ends up as a plugin to chatroulette...

  • (Score: 1, Troll) by edIII on Tuesday March 04 2014, @12:28AM

    by edIII (791) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 04 2014, @12:28AM (#10368)
    "Men and women swapping bodies"

    This isn't really science at that point, and might as well be porn - "and look into their underwear to give their partner a sense of what it's like to look down and see equipment that's not usually there."

    Uh huh :)

    Yes, lot's of purely scientific applications in doing that. Wasn't there a movie about this?

    Although, I really do like the idea of taking racists, from all sides, and putting them in the bodies of the people they hate. That's pretty damn interesting. However, it will almost be exclusively men. I've noticed that racists most often don't include women in their hatred, as the most interesting parts of a woman are the same color when you get down to it...
    --
    Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
    • (Score: 0, Troll) by Ethanol-fueled on Tuesday March 04 2014, @01:08AM

      by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @01:08AM (#10382) Homepage

      Agreed, I started curling my toes and kneading my dick halfway through the summary.

    • (Score: 2, Funny) by Professr on Tuesday March 04 2014, @03:09AM

      by Professr (1629) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @03:09AM (#10416)

      Their brains?

  • (Score: 0, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @12:48AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @12:48AM (#10371)

    Please!

    Come on, isnt this the reason for VR?

  • (Score: 5, Funny) by snick on Tuesday March 04 2014, @01:23AM

    by snick (1408) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @01:23AM (#10385)

    Step1:

    Invent a machine that allows people to experience things from other's perspective.

    Step2:

    Remove clothes. ...

    Seems legit.

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by gottabeme on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:43AM

      by gottabeme (1531) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:43AM (#10459)

      I think you mean:

      1. Invent a machine that allows people to experience things from other's perspective.
      2. Remove clothes.
      3. Profit.
      4. N/A

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Professr on Tuesday March 04 2014, @01:30AM

    by Professr (1629) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @01:30AM (#10388)

    Are why people think geeks don't get laid. I actually see some value in this research, and no, it doesn't have to be pornographic.

    • (Score: 4, Funny) by M. Baranczak on Tuesday March 04 2014, @03:22AM

      by M. Baranczak (1673) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @03:22AM (#10423)

      I actually see some value in this research, and no, it doesn't have to be pornographic.

      You make it sound like those two things are mutually exclusive.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Ryuugami on Tuesday March 04 2014, @12:20PM

      by Ryuugami (2925) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @12:20PM (#10569)

      Considering how much porn has done for the proliferation of the Internet, finding a pornographic use for your research may be one of the best ways to get funding :)

      Sadly, the questions that drive the most of human advancement are "Can this be used for war?" and "Can this be used for sex?", not "How will this improve human life?"

      --
      If a shit storm's on the horizon, it's good to know far enough ahead you can at least bring along an umbrella. - D.Weber
      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @02:29PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @02:29PM (#10639)

        I consider "Can this be used for sex?" is related to "How will this improve human life?".

        • (Score: 2) by VLM on Tuesday March 04 2014, @03:19PM

          by VLM (445) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @03:19PM (#10670)

          And crazy as it sounds, in the pre-atomic, pre-world war, imperial era "Can this be used for war?" was also generally seen as improving human life. Of course their definition of human wasn't quite as broad as the modern one.

          • (Score: 1) by TK on Wednesday March 05 2014, @06:16PM

            by TK (2760) on Wednesday March 05 2014, @06:16PM (#11432)

            Human
            Noun
            Someone who looks like me, talks like me, and holds the same political and religious ideals.

            --
            The fleas have smaller fleas, upon their backs to bite them, and those fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by hubie on Tuesday March 04 2014, @02:36AM

    by hubie (1068) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @02:36AM (#10403) Journal

    ?? Forgive me, for it has been quite a while since I was associated with a university, but throughout the 80's and 90's you would get beat about the head and shoulders from the PC police if you said something like that (I am assuming it has something to do with homosexual-related studies, given that it is listed in the text right next to gender studies?).

    • (Score: 1) by glyph on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:32AM

      by glyph (245) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:32AM (#10452)

      Social theory has come a long way in 40 years ("PC police"?... shush grandpa!) Only a straight person would sign up for "homosexual-related studies".

      • (Score: 2) by hubie on Tuesday March 04 2014, @01:55PM

        by hubie (1068) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @01:55PM (#10612) Journal

        Get off my lawn. :)

        Actually, back in the day only a straight person would come up with "queer theory", and they would get roundly denounced as being demeaning. This was around the same time when academics switched to "African American" and other things like that. In general, I think most people don't care what the terms are supposed to be so as long as they stop changing, or if they change, at least don't demonize the people who haven't switched vocabulary (I'm not talking about this instance, but referring back to the 90's when it was an issue, at least with the talking heads on TV).

        • (Score: 1) by tangomargarine on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:02PM

          by tangomargarine (667) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:02PM (#10755)

          So basically, words have no meaning :P Unless we want to yell at somebody for using the wrong ones...which we arbitrarily decide.

          --
          "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
        • (Score: 1) by cykros on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:17PM

          by cykros (989) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:17PM (#10772)

          African American is at this point a quaint relic at best, and offensive at worst (being offended at it seems a bit touchy to me). Black tends to be the PC label at this point.

          As for queer, it's an encompassing label that includes homosexuals of all genders, including neither male nor female, in the various socially constructed genders that people identify with. As well as non-homosexuals within that general umbrella.

          The word "queer", like "jew" or even "bitch" carries a lot of its meaning in the intonation used by the speaker, and its offensiveness or lack thereof is contained within.

    • (Score: 1) by Darth Turbogeek on Tuesday March 04 2014, @12:18PM

      by Darth Turbogeek (1073) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @12:18PM (#10567)

      I was rather taken aback by seeing Queer Theory used as this is a very insulting term used by homophobes to justify their narrow minded beliefs, esp when homosexuality was seen as a disease and those who were homosexual to be locked away as "diseased filth".

      Forget politically correct, Queer Theory was a whole new level of wrong that assholes in places like Uganda subscribe to. Thence I'm very taken aback anyone even close to right mnded would consider using the term, esp given exactly what said theory was used to justify.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by LowID on Tuesday March 04 2014, @12:26PM

        by LowID (337) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @12:26PM (#10571)

        WTF are you talking about? Queer Theory is a term describing the study of self-identified Queer people - as in, people who call themselves queer, i.e. with a sexual identity and orientation different from the mainstream conceptions.

        The term Queer is used as part of the LGBQT initialism, so it's perfectly accepted by the community. Where did you get that idea that it's insulting and homophobic?

        • (Score: 2) by mojo chan on Tuesday March 04 2014, @01:25PM

          by mojo chan (266) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @01:25PM (#10594)

          Traditionally in the UK it has been used as an insult. Maybe people are now reclaiming it, I don't know.

          --
          const int one = 65536; (Silvermoon, Texture.cs)
          • (Score: 1) by cafebabe on Tuesday March 04 2014, @06:50PM

            by cafebabe (894) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @06:50PM (#10856) Journal

            The topic of reclaiming terms was covered tastelessly in Clerks 2 [wikiquote.org] (or here [youtube.com]):-

            Randal Graves: Since when is it a crime to say "porch monkey"?
            Becky: Oh, since, I don't know, forever?!
            Randal Graves: Why?
            Dante Hicks: Because porch monkey is a racial slur against black people!
            Randal Graves: No it's not - nigger is.
            Dante Hicks: [horrified] Randal!
            Elias: Did Mr. Randal just call Mr. Dante a nigger?
            Becky: Shut up, Elias!
            Randal Graves: I didn't just call Dante a nigger, I just said that nigger is a racial slur.
            Dante Hicks: So is porch monkey!
            Randal Graves: Oh, it is not! Coon, spook, spade, moolie, jigaboo, nig-nog - those are racial slurs. Porch monkey is not.
            Becky: I'm going to pretend that this conversation didn't happen. Elias, go pick up that fucking mess. [points at Randal] And you are this close to getting shit-canned! Shoot me now! [storms off]
            Dante Hicks: What are you doing? Are you trying to get fired?
            Randal Graves: Since when did porch monkey become a racial slur?
            Dante Hicks: When ignorant racists started using it 100 years ago!
            Randal Graves: Oh, bullshit. My grandmother used to call me a porch monkey all the time when I was a kid because I'd sit on the porch and stare at my neighbors.
            Dante Hicks: Despite the fact that your grandmother used it as a term of endearment for you, it's still a racial slur. It would be like your grandmother calling you a little kike.
            Randal Graves: Oh, it is not. Besides, my grandmother had nothing but the utmost respect for the Jewish community. She used to tell me to be always be nice to the Jewish kids, or they'd put the sheenie curse on me.
            Dante Hicks: WHAT THE FUCK, MAN?!
            Randal Graves: What?
            Dante hicks: Sheenie is a racial slur too!
            Randal Graves: Oh, it is not!
            Dante Hicks: Yes, it is!
            Randal Graves: Well, she never called any Jews sheenies, she just said "sheenie curse" a lot. It was cute.
            Dante Hicks: It wasn't cute, it was racist!
            Randal Graves: I disagree, man. She was just an old-timer. That's the way people talked back then. It didn't mean they were racists. [thinks for a moment] But my grandmother did refer to a broken beer bottle once as a nigger knife.
            [Dante is flabbergasted]
            Randal Graves: You know, come to think of it, my grandmother was kind of a racist.
            Dante Hicks: You think?!
            Randal Graves: Well, I still don't think that porch monkey should be considered a racial term. I've always used it to describe lazy people, not lazy black people. I think if we really tried, we could take back porch monkey and save it.
            Dante Hicks: [fed up] It can't be saved, Randal. The sole purpose for its creation, the only reason it exists in the first place, is to disparage an entire race. And even if it could be saved, you couldn't save it because you're not black!
            Randal Graves: Well, listen to you - telling me I can't do something because of the color of my skin. You're the racist, man!

            --
            1702845791×2
        • (Score: 2) by hubie on Tuesday March 04 2014, @01:58PM

          by hubie (1068) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @01:58PM (#10616) Journal

          This is the first time I have seen "Q" added to "LGBT". Is this common now?

          • (Score: 2) by Random2 on Tuesday March 04 2014, @03:15PM

            by Random2 (669) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @03:15PM (#10668)

            Yes, although my university used 'Qusstioning' instead of 'Queer'.

            --
            If only I registered 3 users earlier....
    • (Score: 1) by cafebabe on Tuesday March 04 2014, @06:02PM

      by cafebabe (894) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @06:02PM (#10820) Journal

      For an extensive list of gender categories, see Facebook's 50 gender options [dailymail.co.uk].

      However, if you take into account chromosomes, hormone levels, seven levels of androgen insensitivity, genital surgery, mate attraction, self-identity and other factors, there are probably more than 1,000 categories. About 46% of the population fits into one traditional category and about 44% of the population fits into another traditional category. The remainder is like fractal zoo.

      --
      1702845791×2
  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Abominous Salad on Tuesday March 04 2014, @03:49AM

    by Abominous Salad (3074) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @03:49AM (#10430)

    I'm done. Sensational title is sensational. Quitting the site.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by glyph on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:59AM

      by glyph (245) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @04:59AM (#10444)

      The rig does actually fool your brain into processing input from another body as if it was your own. The easiest way to describe the experience (and the whole point of the rig) is to simulate swapping bodies. Do try to keep up.

    • (Score: 1) by tangomargarine on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:05PM

      by tangomargarine (667) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:05PM (#10759)

      That would be why they put 'Swap' in quotes.

      --
      "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Common Joe on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:05AM

    by Common Joe (33) <reversethis-{moc ... 1010.eoj.nommoc}> on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:05AM (#10445) Journal

    I see a lot of people snickering about the removal of clothes bit. I'll try to get this discussion rolling from a scientific point of view.

    I think this is fascinating. I'd be interested to try it with several friends of mine who are not the same race as me and I wish I could carry this into the real world to see life through their eyes.

    I've often wondered what makes a person "human". A person with a missing arm is still human. My friend who is a paraplegic is still human. In the end, a brain in a jar (which is a processor with the ability to store memory) is still human.... but that brain in a jar is missing something important: Input and output. Our ability to touch and smell and see something makes us profoundly who we are. I once met a person who was born without the ability to smell [wikipedia.org]. How can I have a conversation with a person about smell if he never experienced it? There is no common frame of reference that we can use. (Heck, I'm not even sure two people who see "green" are actually seeing the same thing.)

    My wife will never fully understand what it means to be a guy and I'll never understand what it means to be a woman... yet this experiment could (in theory) allow us to cross over temporarily with our visual sense. I find this a pretty fascinating experiment.

  • (Score: -1) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:42AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:42AM (#10457)

    "fields like gender studies and queer theory"

    Yeah, that sounds like something important people should be spending time and money on.

    • (Score: 1) by cykros on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:21PM

      by cykros (989) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:21PM (#10778)

      Right, because targeting social issues that result in murders, suicides, and a host of other maladies that tear apart lives, families, and communities is totally a worthless expenditure. The important people should get back to figuring out how to get the most profit out of plastic baubles sold to Joe Bob Consumer.

  • (Score: 2, Funny) by gottabeme on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:46AM

    by gottabeme (1531) on Tuesday March 04 2014, @05:46AM (#10461)

    What is feminist technoscience?