August 08, 2005
What Men and the Military Really Want
NTT has demonstrated a remote-control system for (women). The researchers outfit their subject with two electrodes behind the ears that “pull” her in one direction or another. As you can see in the video accompanying a Forbes article on the technology, the subject walks (and laughs) like she’s just hammered. This reminds of the Tele-actor, a project I worked on with Ken Goldberg, Eric Paulos, Judith Donath, and others several years ago. (Link to PDF.) One big difference is that we just asked our human robot to respond to our wirelessly-transmitted wishes. The NTT system is more, er, demanding. From Forbes:
This sort of electrical stimulation is known as galvanic vestibular stimulation, or GVS. When a weak DC current is delivered to the mastoid behind your ear, your body responds by shifting your balance toward the anode. The stronger the current, the more powerful its pull. If it is strong enough, it not only throws you off balance but alters the course of your movement…
The most persuasive commercial applications of (NTT researcher Taro) Maeda’s GVS device will most likely be in gaming; researchers put together a crude virtual racing game to demonstrate how GVS heightened the perception of centrifugal force as users watch the car wind its way around the track on a video screen. Manabu Sakurai, NTT’s marketing manager, says the company is currently investigating whether or not gamers would be interested in the device. Flight simulators are another area of interest.
“Many people talk about that,” Sakurai explained. “Because GVS causes you to feel the same kinds of motion as a large-scale flight simulator, it could be a much simpler and more cost-effective way to train people.” [via boingboing]
Posted by jo at August 8, 2005 10:27 AM