The thumb of the right hand turned into a virtual left hand

Scientists were able to create the study participants the feeling that their right thumb was virtual left hand. For this movement of the limb in the simulation synchronized with the movements of the finger of the subjects. The resulting Association was weak and did not affect the feeling of the finger position in space. Moreover, volunteers are not frightened, if to the virtual hand suddenly had a knife. However, the authors believe that based on this model, you can create a new concept of the prostheses. Article published in the journal Frontiers in Robotics and AI.

A sense of one’s own body can be fooled. For example, in a variety of ways you can get people to feel that the rubber hand is part of his body. It is enough to simultaneously touch to artificial limbs and hands of this man, or to synchronize their movements. Scientists have already tried to add to the illusion of a second or even a third rubber arm, changed their color (so you can fight racial prejudice) and size. Even managed to get people to feel empty space as a part of yourself.

Several studies have synced the homologous parts of the body, for example, a real left hand and rubber right. Also built robotic armsthat move synchronously with the person’s legs. Volunteers successfully learned to manage such arrangements, but the work has not studied the question arose whether people have the illusion that the robot is a part of their body.

Still not investigated whether people associate different body parts or the same part of the body at different levels (e.g. the finger and the hand). Based on studies of phantom limbs, this is possible: for example, sometimes the somatosensory cortex of patients with amputated hands is reorganized so that touching of the face can be felt in a phantom limb.

The study group of Japanese scientists under the leadership of RETA Condo (Ryota Kondo) from the Technical University of Toyohashi virtual movement of the left hand sync with the right thumb of the subjects. Twenty right-handed volunteers wore virtual reality glasses, and on their right hand fixed sensors motion capture, which were transferred to the left hand. In the control of movement of the virtual hands was associated with a large finger subjects.

The participants for five minutes watched virtual hand, freely moving thumb. Then in the simulation above the limb was a knife, and the researchers recorded the electrical activity of the skin of the left hand of the subjects. When a person experiences stress, it increases sweating, and this process can be measured using electrodes. If the volunteers felt the virtual arm as their own, the electrical activity on the surface of their skin increased. If this relationship was weak and people are not frightened setting of the knife electrodes has not registered a surge of activity.

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