Trading Bodies, Sexes With Oculus Rift

January 22, 2014 | Andy Cush

With the intent of giving people the experience of living in another’s body, the Machine to Be Another project uses Oculus Rift to approximate another person’s perspective. In the above video, entitled “Gender Swap,” two pairs of people — one man, one woman each — wear the perspective-switching headsets and mimic each others physical movements, to get a taste of what it might like to be born with a different body. You move your arm up to your face, you your partners arm moving towards you; move your leg, you see their leg move, etc. There’s also some nice Steve Reich music used as a soundtrack.

The project’s mission statement is noble:

More than individuals, we are part of a social collective called humanity. As members of this collective, the perception of our own identity is based on our relation with other people and our social environment: how people see us, how we do act and interact with them, and what self image we project to this society and to ourselves. As part of this collective society, it is clear the importance of understanding the ‘Other’ and ‘Each Other’ to better understand ourselves. This artistic investigation plans to use the recent neuroscience approach of ‘embodiment’ and apply it to investigate the perception and comprehension about the Self based on the comprehension of the “Other”.

The people in the video get partially naked, so if that kind of thing is NSF your W, take heed.