And a little freaky:
Research subjects fitted with goggles that stream video from cameras strapped to another person (or mannequin) can experience that body as their own, neuroscientists say.
And not just in a fluffy, philosophical way: the subjects experienced measurable physiological changes, as reported in the open-access journal Public Library of Science One.
The paper's authors argue that their work could prove important for future human-robot collaborations — and give hope to those dreaming of uploading their brains after the Singularity. What the researchers have found, they say, is a method for allowing humans to better inhabit non-flesh-and-blood consciousness.
"The present findings could have groundbreaking industrial and clinical applications" write neuroscientists Valeria I. Petkova and H. Henrik Ehrsson of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. "Experiencing 'becoming' a humanoid robot in tele-robotics and feeling ownership of simulated bodies in virtual reality applications would probably enhance user control, realism, and the feeling of 'presence.'"
The gaming industry is already taking steps down that road with Mirror's Edge, which lets players see other parts of their virtual body in motion producing a sensation real enough to induce carsickness.