Most people must have wondered what it would be like to be invisible. Although we do not have magic to provide us with some invisible cloak or a potion which can make us invisible, we have science. You may not get the real thing, but science can at least trick your brain into offering you the illusion of invisibility. The findings of this exciting study were published din the journal Scientific Reports.
Neuroscientists at the Karolinska Institute (Sweden) have developed a 3D virtual reality headset which with the help of virtual goggles, a clever camera angles and physical caresses gives people the impression that their body is invisible.
The virtual reality headset displayed the view from a second headset which was mounted on nothingness at the head height. This means that when the user of the headset was touched with a paintbrush the nothingness was touched at the same time in the same place your body was supposed to be. You may feel the brush but your eyes would tell you that the brush touches the nothingness. That’s what the volunteers in the research experienced.
When the subjects in the study were threatened with a knife the researchers verified their skin conductance (sweat). It was proved that those who felt that they had an invisible body sweated more. The volunteers were put in a stressful social situation to check if, since they saw themselves as invisible, they had the tendency to believe that others could not see them. It was proved that those participants who perceived themselves as invisible were less stressed. They reported that they felt less anxious and the analysis showed that they heart rates were lower.
Dr. Arvid Guterstam, the lead author of the study, said that they are a very early stage with their study. However he has hope that in 10 or 20 years scientists will be able to cloak macroscopic objects such as a limb or even an entire person. He also said:
“We are planning to expose participants to a number of moral dilemmas under the illusion that they are invisible, and compare their responses to a context in which they perceive having a normal physical body”
In the future Guterstam together with the other researchers intends to perform a brain-imaging study in order to discover which brain areas are active when a person has the illusion of an invisible body.
Image Source: Live Science