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posted by janrinok on Monday March 03 2014, @11:59PM   Printer-friendly
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: 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) Subscriber Badge 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.