What’s the News: Recurring nightmares can cast a pall over anyone’s waking life, and for soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder, they can also contribute to panic attacks, flashbacks, and violent behavior. Can soothing, dream-like experiences in a virtual world, entered immediately after a nightmare runs its course, tame those bad dreams? It seems like a kind of real-life inception, but it’s not as far fetched as you’d think: the Army is investigating just such a treatment, Dawn Lim at Wired’s Danger Room reports.
Is 3D technology the next big wave in video? Or should we skip right ahead to holography? New research is developing ways to stream almost-live video to holographic display, providing a three-dimensional, realistic image without the need for those dorky plastic 3D glasses. And before you ask–yes, this does bring us one step closer to living in a Star Wars world, where holographic princesses deliver desperate pleas for help.
This is the first time researchers [have demonstrated] an optical material that can display “holographic video,” as oppose to static holograms found in credit cards and product packages. The prototype looks like a chunk of acrylic, but it’s actually an exotic material, called a photorefractive polymer, with remarkable holographic properties. [IEEE Spectrum]
The prototype, produced by Nasser Peyghambarian and colleagues at the University of Arizona and Nitto Denko Technical Corporation, displays a holographic image that can be updated every two seconds. This is much better than the four minutes between updates seen in the team’s last prototype, and it gives the audience an almost-real-time representation of what’s happening on the other end of the communication (be it in the other room or across the country). The team expects to continue improving their technology, enabling larger pictures and shorter refresh times.
Hit the break for more details and an additional video…
Researchers have discovered that it’s simple to trigger the illusion of body swapping: All it takes are some goggles, live-streaming video, and a bit of a belly rub. Spooky as it sounds, neuroscientists … were able to use simple camera trickery to fool volunteers into perceiving the bodies of both mannequins and other people as their own [New Scientist].
In an article published in the journal PLoS ONE researchers describe an experiment in which the volunteer put on a pair of high-tech goggles and was told to look down. At the same time, video was beamed into the glasses’ displays from a camera attached to the head of a mannequin. In short, the study participant was looking in the direction of his or her own stomach, but actually seeing the stomach of the mannequin. At that moment, the person conducting the experiment would rub both the stomach of the mannequin and of the research subject. Subjects reported that they felt as if they were feeling the touch on the mannequin [Wired News]. What’s more, when the mannequin’s belly was threatened with a knife, electrodes on the test subject’s skin showed a physiological stress response.