PODCAST. Sixth Science, episode 44: when virtual reality no longer plays
Does virtual co-incarnation speak to you ? For its 44th episode, Sixth Science, the science podcast of Sciences et Avenir and 20 minutes, tells you all about this new field of study mixing technology and psychology. On the microphone, two very real journalists, Arnaud Devillard, high-tech journalist at Sciences et Avenir, and Romain Gouloumès of 20 minutes.
Study user reactions to a virtual body
At first, with virtual reality (VR), everything was simple (or almost) : immersive environments, a VR headset to immerse yourself in it worn by a participant who created his own avatar to move, walk, etc.But virtual co-incarnation goes a little further. Imagine two people who face each other, do not see each other physically but simultaneously embody and control the same avatar. Everything is complicated with this concept identified by Arnaud Devillard developed by two students, Rebecca Fribourg, in thesis at Inria (Rennes), and Nami Ogawa, from the University of Tokyo (Japan).
The challenge of their research is to study the reactions of users to a virtual body that none fully controls, since it is by definition shared here. What to consider many applications in the field of training and learning. Everything lies in the management of orders that can obviously diverge, one of the executors going faster, further, stronger… than the other in the performance of this or that task.
The immersive experience raises ethical questions that have not yet been addressed
But by the way, could creating an avatar be “dangerous” in the medium or long term ? Since science is not yet able to answer this question, 14 personalities from the academic and industrial world published in March 2020 a text calling for vigilance in the journal Frontiers in Virtual Reality. They believe that the immersive experience raises ethical questions that have not yet been addressed and want to anticipate reflection.
In France, the National Agency for Health Security (Anses) is preparing a report for 2021 that will explore many areas : relief vision, motion sickness (vertigo), effects of LEDs, addictions to screens, etc.
While waiting for its release, you can read the entire dossier in the February 2021 issue of Sciences et Avenir-La Recherche on newsstands since the end of January or also dive into the free archives of Sixth Science.