Innovative experiences are often the backbone of any new entertainment or digital platform, and the Oculus Rift is certainly not short of these. Designer Yifei Chai has recently unveiled a new project, one that’s as interesting as it is unsettling.
The Pretender Project is essentially designed to let the user experience how it feels to be someone else, through a complex combination of new, bleeding-edge technologies.
Two users are required, one to wear the headset and another to provide the body. While the user with the headset looks around, the other user has an electrical suit that translates the movements of the headset wearer into actions.
While the primary objective is to allow someone to experience another perspective, the nature of having your movements manipulated by an electrical current is said to be quite unique.
“The tingling as my arms are moved and twisted into positions out of my control is more powerful than I imagined, it’s quite unsettling,” said New Scientist’s Sandrine Ceurstemont.
Chai has further plans for the project, including control of legs as well as arms. In a video released by Yifei, riding a bike and a gunfight are shown. Of course, extensive developments are required to bring the technologies to that level.
Looking ahead, these types of control interface could be used for highly accurate virtual presence surgeries, and even other work such as the repair of complex machinery from around the world. Robotics has long been considered the best way to approach telepresence, but humans may prove to be more a more effective method.
It’s certainly going to be interesting to see how these technologies evolve over the next few years as virtual reality become more established.