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Could be the future of gaming as well as other useful applications

University of Barcelona researchers have developed a system where virtual characters can mimic actions carried out by the human unconscious

This new system measures human physiological parameters like heart rate, respiration, and galvanic skin response through the use of wireless devices and sensors. Then this information is processed with a software program, and is ultimately used to control the behavior of computer-designed characters. 

"The ultimate aim is to develop a method which allows humans to unconsciously relate with some parts of the virtual environment more intensely than with others, and that they are encouraged only by their own physiological responses to the virtual reality shown," said Christoph Groenegress, researcher at the University of Barcelona and co-author of the study.

Certain human physiological parameters direct certain movements and behaviors in the virtual characters. For instance, respiration causes the character's chest to rise and fall, heart rate causes movement in the character's feet and galvanic skin response causes more or less of a red color on the face.

This system of recording unconscious processes can be used to help participants become interested in carrying out certain tasks, such as patients having to undergo rehabilitation. Also, this system can be used to tell stories in settings like video games. 

"We maintain that the linking of subjective corporal states to a virtual reality can improve the sensation of realism that a person has of this reality and, eventually, create a stronger link between humans and this virtual reality," said Groenegress. 

This study, titled "The physiological mirror - a system for unconscious control of a virtual environment through physiological activity," was published in The Visual Computer.





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