The Oculus Rift scored our "Best of CES" for a second year in a row, enrapturing us with promise of a new generation of gaming. But it's not just the games industry that's found use for the VR accessory.
Following the release of the Oculus Rift development kits, a lot of fascinating new projects have been cropping up. The latest one making the rounds is an experiment called "Gender Swap." The experiment uses the Machine to be Another software and first person cameras to swap the video feeds of two Oculus Rift systems, allowing one person to effectively see as if they were someone else.
The experiment is pretty interesting. Before they strap on the gear, both participants hash out what movements they won't make. Each action must be constantly agreed upon by both users as they "feel" their new body.
The co-op overseeing the project hopes that through this system they can "investigate issues like Gender Identity, Queer Theory, feminist technoscience, Intimacy and Mutual Respect." Those are some pretty lofty goals, but their approach is something that's just as novel.
Some of their other Oculus Rift projects include having a mother and her child share stories, and a conversation between a woman in a wheelchair and one who isn't. These may sound like small projects, but from the descriptions of the participants, the experience seems to be a pretty powerful one.
The technical aspect of it is equally fascinating though. The team's documentation suggests that getting everyone involved to make very slow, calculated movement is essential for the experiment to work. That tends to match up pretty well with similar statements from other developers working with VR. The human brain is a strange machine. For how advanced and adaptable it tends to be, it's also easy to trip up, confuse and make the owner of the aforementioned brain feel a little ill.
You can see a video of their work here, though there is some nudity.