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Becoming The Real Avatar... Science One Step Closer

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posted on Feb, 17 2011 @ 11:52 PM
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The Real Avatar: Swiss Researchers Use Virtual Reality and Brain Imaging to Hunt for the Science of the Self


ScienceDaily (Feb. 17, 2011) — That feeling of being in, and owning, your own body is a fundamental human experience. But where does it originate and how does it come to be? Now, Professor Olaf Blanke, a neurologist with the Brain Mind Institute at EPFL and the Department of Neurology at the University of Geneva in Switzerland, announces an important step in decoding the phenomenon. By combining techniques from cognitive science with those of Virtual Reality (VR) and brain imaging, he and his team are narrowing in on the first experimental, data-driven approach to understanding self-consciousness.

In recent unpublished work, Blanke and his fellow researchers performed a series of studies in which they immersed subjects, via VR settings, into the body of an avatar, or virtual human. Each subject was fitted with an electrode-studded skullcap to monitor brain activity and exposed to different digital, 3D environments through a head-mounted stereoscopic visor or projections on a large screen.

Blanke and his colleagues then perturbed the most fundamental aspects of consciousness in their subjects, such as "Where am I localized in space" and "What is my body?" by physically touching their real-life volunteers either in or out of sync with the avatar. They even swapped perspectives from first to third person and put their male subjects inside female avatars, all the while measuring the change in brain activity. Use of electrical brain signals meant subjects could stand, move their heads, and (in the most recent experiments) walk with the VR on. Other techniques such as fMRI would have required them to remain still.


The brain activity actually changd in the folks who took part in this experiment. This would lead me to assume that the brain is either working really hard to understand what is occuring, or it is actually being successfully tricked. However, I do not get paid to assume..



The team's results expand on clinical studies done in neurological patients reporting out-of-body experiences. And the data show marked changes in the response of the brain's temporo-parietal and frontal regions -- the parts of the brain responsible for integrating touch and vision into a coherent perception -- compared to a series of control conditions.

"Traditional approaches have not been looking at the right information in order to understand the notion of the 'I' of conscious feeling and thinking," Blanke says. "Our research approaches the self first of all as the way the body is represented in the brain and how this affects the conscious mind. And this concept of the bodily self most likely came before more developed notions of 'I' in the evolutionary development of man."


I am curious as to why they use patients reporting OBE's? Maybe those who experience these things have brains that work in a slightly different way? They seem to be recieving promising results either way.


A deeper understanding of the neurobiological basis for the self could lead to advances in the fields of touch and balance perception, neuro-rehabilitation, and pain treatments, contribute to the understanding of neurological and psychiatric disease, and have impacts on the fields of robotics and virtual reality.

But finding basic brain response to VR is just the beginning. Next up for the researchers is to induce stronger illusions of the self by altering signals of balance and limb position -- two very powerful bodily cues. Once subjects can no longer distinguish between the real and the virtual self, cognitive science and brain imaging may be able to glimpse the causal mechanisms of self-consciousness and solve the mystery of the "I" once and for all.


As the article states there are many benefits if this can be fully achieved. Imagine severe burn patients being able to leave their body while it painfully heals, only to reside (fully present) in an avatar body! Talk about science fiction...

I believe eventually they will figure out how to do this completely. They are definitely getting closer. It reminds me a little of those old cartoons where the robot had a brain in a jar filled with fluid bolted to it's body.


Read more here: www.sciencedaily.com...
edit on 2/17/2011 by Kangaruex4Ewe because: (no reason given)




posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 12:02 AM
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We already have the technology to use headsets to read brainwaves and control virtual devices.

virtualrealitytechnology.net...



Coupled with a virtual environment is the next step... The better computing technology gets and the more realistic things become, I see this being the new 'facebook' so to speak...



posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 12:04 AM
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Sure would make SecondLife realllly interesting


I think that would be so cool really.



posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 12:13 AM
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reply to post by badw0lf
 


I knew we had vr glasses/helmets etc. But the ability to what they are seeking is still out of reach. Like you said though... every technological step forward the further virtual reality and reality can merge into one another.

Thanks for the video.
It was interesting as well.

BTW, I love your avatar. No pun intended.



posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 12:16 AM
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reply to post by MadDogtheHunter
 


Wouldn't it though?


If we could achieve this and find a way to keep the brain alive longer maybe we could pass on the second life, and just live this one for all it's worth!



posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 12:17 AM
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Read "The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat" by Oliver Sacks, with special attention to the chapter "The Disembodied Lady".



posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 12:24 AM
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Well it's about time they started down this road as well as reporting back on their progress. This is, in my opinion, exactly where we're supposed to be. One step closer to the singularity, as some have named it. For anyone who hasn't read up on our "Probability" of being a simulation whithin a simulation already, read the following and hopefully you'll see where I'm going when I say, "We're exactly where we're supposed to be."

Simulated Reality
or
Are you living in a computer simulation?



Simulated reality is the proposition that reality could be simulated—perhaps by computer simulation—to a degree indistinguishable from "true" reality. It could contain conscious minds which may or may not be fully aware that they are living inside a simulation. In its strongest form, the "simulation hypothesis" claims it is entirely possible and even probable that we are living in a simulated reality.





A simplified version of his argument proceeds as such:
i. It is possible that an advanced civilization could create a computer simulation which contains individuals with artificial intelligence (AI).
ii. Such a civilization would likely run many, billions for example, of these simulations (just for fun, for research or any other permutation of possible reasons).
iii. A simulated individual inside the simulation wouldn’t necessarily know that it is inside a simulation — it is just going about its daily business in what it considers to be the "real world."

Then the ultimate question is — if one accepts that the above premises are at least possible — which of the following is more likely?
a. We are the one civilization which develops AI simulations and happens not to be in one itself?
b. We are one of the many (billions) of simulations that has run? (Remember point iii.)



posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 12:25 AM
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reply to post by Kangaruex4Ewe
 




We are in the infant stages on this technology and I really hope we see new things develop within my life. I wish I was a 15 year old for this tech alone


But we know we can use our minds alone cause an action that we associate with a thought- it's how our brains work to move our fundamental motor functions - and why people who suffer brain trauma can to a degree, relearn movement. we think and our bodies move, and not necessarily because we're supposed to, but because we learn it as babies or relearn it as damaged adults.

So given time, I know for a fact we will improve on this. To the point "avatars" will be real, perhaps to the level one day in the distant future of the bruce willis movie, or indeed the movie Avatar.



haha My avatar, oh what an evil concept to control pyramid head
hahaha, only in silent hill games of the future I hope



edit on 18/2/2011 by badw0lf because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 12:26 AM
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Avatar technology already exists today.

The drone aircrafts are already here. Those crafts are guided and controlled by human minds and hands to perform a job several kilometers away.

You can virtually fly and suicide bomb upon targets, and get to live again by using another drone aircraft.

The only difference is that it was a mechanical 'body' avatar you used.

As our sciences advance, more of such mechanical bodies will be created. Nasa has them but it fitted with a 'mind' of its own' - a step in the wrong direction as no machines can ever duplicate the complexities of the human mind, not with today's sciences or even far into the future. Simply machines - yes, such as those in auto trade that does monotonous jobs, but thinking and figuring ones? - better look into avatar tech instead.



posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 12:32 AM
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Originally posted by SeekerofTruth101
Avatar technology already exists today.

The drone aircrafts are already here. Those crafts are guided and controlled by human minds and hands to perform a job several kilometers away.

You can virtually fly and suicide bomb upon targets, and get to live again by using another drone aircraft.

The only difference is that it was a mechanical 'body' avatar you used.

As our sciences advance, more of such mechanical bodies will be created. Nasa has them but it fitted with a 'mind' of its own' - a step in the wrong direction as no machines can ever duplicate the complexities of the human mind, not with today's sciences or even far into the future. Simply machines - yes, such as those in auto trade that does monotonous jobs, but thinking and figuring ones? - better look into avatar tech instead.



I think there is a fundamental difference between remote control and virtual control.

You cannot react with one thought to a bodily function to a machine in the same way as from thought to machine.

Our thoughts are instant. How our bodies react is not. Someone says BOO to you when you're scared, you don't analyse it and then react, you simple react. Put that into something that reacts as your brain does, you have a very good human simulation.

By the same token, people who have lost motor skill yet retain all of their brain functionality would have no way to control a drone, or a machine if they had to rely on their own physical movement.

Brain to device. That is the future.



posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 12:49 AM
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reply to post by mOjOm
 


We have to mentally "play with" the idea of uploading conciousness for a bit more, first.

Because, if we were "virtualised", we'd have the controls.

What if we "played" with our constructs, melded them in ways that we can't in nature. What if we retained "you" and "me" but joined them in ways so that our individualities are no longer distinct.

Who is "you" and who is "me"? It is inevitable that we'd have an intimacy that is something new in the universe.

Of course we'd start with those we love. Then they'd join those who they love.

What happens if you then turn on all these combined minds with absolute pleasure. Billions of identities joined in an orgasm that never stops. I mean, it's just a feeling, nothing physical to it at all, click, there, done!

And still the minds are minds. Thought, decision, action would still exist in this state beyond what we know.

We could push the boundaries of science, form worlds in our virtuality and even in reality.

Perhaps we could bend time. Reaching back, all the way to the start. Tweak the conditions to make sure it came out so good!

In the last book of the bible, Revelation, it talks of "the church" being the bride of Christ. Is this so different?

Open your minds, hearts and souls. Read scriptures and listen to Gurus.

God is love - there may be a reason for it!


edit on 18/2/2011 by chr0naut because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 01:02 AM
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Originally posted by badw0lf

Brain to device. That is the future.


I understand where you are comming from. Such concepts would be for a noble cause, such as our fellow humans whom are physically challenged.

The second post on this thread addresses the issue, by way of a headset. It has already been proven our brainwaves can move objects within cyberspace without motorskill.

The next stage is to use our brainwaves to move objects in the real world, the way able bodied humans can. I believe it can be done with robotic prosthetics.

For example - the arm. WIth chip tech, fingers, wrist and elbow movements can be pre- programmed with scripts so that kinectic movements will follow one single thought - such as holding a glass. The script will automatically rotate the hands towards the glass, rotates the wrists to an upright position, and every finger joint expanded standby to clasp the glass with scripted amount of pressure.

These are issues the human takes for granted, but within our minds, such scripts do exists in unknown form. We only need to recreate such codes within the microchip with our current comprehension of comp code to take instructions from our brainwave patterns, once mastered, we will have no more phyically challenged humans as all will be equal.
edit on 18-2-2011 by SeekerofTruth101 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 01:07 AM
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THIS IS THE MARK OF THE BEAST!

You won't be able to buy or sell unless you are in your virtual avatar because nobody will be allowed outside!!!!!

RUN WHILE YOU CAN!!!



posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 01:12 AM
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Originally posted by chr0naut
reply to post by mOjOm
 


We have to mentally "play with" the idea of uploading conciousness for a bit more, first.

Because, if we were "virtualised", we'd have the controls.

What if we "played" with our constructs, melded them in ways that we can't in nature. What if we retained "you" and "me" but joined them in ways so that our individualities are no longer distinct.

Who is "you" and who is "me"? It is inevitable that we'd have an intimacy that is something new in the universe.


edit on 18/2/2011 by chr0naut because: (no reason given)


Right on chr0naut!! Those are exactly some of the more interesting questions which spring up from such theories. What exactly is "Consciousness" once it is no longer confined into either "You" or "I" or "This or That"??? Could one mind even be capable of functioning on multiple ego's at the same time?? and if so, depending on how many were capable of being processed with equal time, would a type of "GodHead Consciousness be possible"??

As we slowly become more and more defined by and in control of the "Logos", are we perhaps just realizing the code which our reality has been operating on since the beginning?? I will say one thing...It's interesting to be witness to these first steps!! Sign me up!! Let's just hope we don't destroy ourselves before we get some answers also....



posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 06:29 AM
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reply to post by chr0naut
 


Thanks for the recommendation. I am always on the lookout for good reading material.



posted on Feb, 18 2011 @ 06:49 AM
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Originally posted by RestingInPieces
THIS IS THE MARK OF THE BEAST!

You won't be able to buy or sell unless you are in your virtual avatar because nobody will be allowed outside!!!!!

RUN WHILE YOU CAN!!!


Seriously? Wow. Whatever you're smoking, please share!




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