Virtual reality study probes brain activity

Virtual reality study probes brain activity

Summary: A project in Switzerland is using electrodes, virtual-reality headsets and avatars in an effort to improve understanding of people's self-awareness

TOPICS: Emerging Tech

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  • Virtual reality study electrodes

    A research project at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland is looking at the effect virtual reality has on people's perceptions of themselves and their bodies.

    Professor Olaf Blanke, a neurologist at the EPFL's Brain Mind Institute, is leading the Real Avatar project to improve understanding of self-awareness through cognitive science, virtual reality and brain-imaging technology.

    Subjects are immersed in the body of an avatar using a virtual-reality headset and their brain electrical activity is monitored by electrodes fitted to a skullcap, shown above, as they are exposed to different 3D environments controlled by the researchers.

    Photo credit: EPFL

  • Facial electrodes

    The work is building on clinical studies of neurological patients who have reported out-of-body experiences. These episodes often show themselves through increased activity in the temporoparietal and frontal regions of the brain that translate touch and vision into coherent perception.

    Photo credit: EPFL

Topic: Emerging Tech

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