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Oculus Rift Guillotine Simulation 120

An anonymous reader tipped us to news of an interesting hack for the Oculus Rift: a simulation of being beheaded by a Guillotine. Thrown together in a couple of days at the Exile Code Jam, the simulation lets you... "look around to see the blade above, the crowd of onlookers around them, and the executioner who signals the blade be dropped. It also enhances the experience when someone watches the blade falling on a nearby screen and taps the user on the back of the neck at the time of impact." Just a bit morbid. There's a video of people "playing" (nsfw language in a few reactions to being virtually beheaded).
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Oculus Rift Guillotine Simulation

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  • by SpectreBlofeld ( 886224 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @11:22PM (#43650135)

    I find it fascinating that the universal response of the 'victims' in the video is laughter. They're not laughing because anything is particularly funny. It's the sort of laughter that is created by an inappropriate joke or a stressful situation that is avoided.

    This speaks to the quality and efficacy of the simulation - it elevates stress enough that it causes participants to need to 'laugh it off'.

    This leads me to consider the possibility of use of simulations like this ones to test for things like psychopathy. A psychopath will remain calm and unaffected by things that will trigger stress response in typical individuals. I know this is a dicey road to go down in terms of law enforcement and personal rights, but it could be a useful tool for psychologists.

    In writing this, my mind went to the Voight-Kampff test in 'Blade Runner'. Perhaps, instead of an inquisitor reading off questions, a potential psychopath/replicant plays out a VR simulation of a tortoise stranded on its back...

  • by femtobyte ( 710429 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @11:43PM (#43650235)

    So, when does a "first person shooter" become too "first person"? In the past, it's been obvious that video game players stomping on turtles and blowing away enemies on a tiny computer screen can easily tell the difference between real life and game realities --- whatever keyboard-mashing reflexes they develop won't correspond to real-world actions. But, is there some point when game realism becomes so immersive that deep physiological responses to your virtual character's fate are invoked, and the human brain stops clearly drawing the line between reality inside and outside the computer world? When interaction with game opponents is done through the same whole-body movements, with realistic visual/sensitive feedback, as real-world actions? At the subconscious level (which, according to numerous fMRI studies, often decides actions before the conscious mind rationalizes choices), can we still distinguish between virtual and real worlds once the technology for fully realistic virtual interactions catches up? Will the crippling PTSD experienced by soldiers involved in real combat start to show up among early adopters of overly realistic simulations?

  • by Samantha Wright ( 1324923 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @12:10AM (#43650361) Homepage Journal

    I somewhat disagree. I think the laughter is more social, in response to the absurdity of the victim's own reaction. No laughter would occur in the absence of observers. The stress would still occur, but the (already synthetic and awkward) laughter would have to be emulated.

    It's the same as any other reaction to a prank of shock. Note that the most prominent reactions were when the user was being tapped. Other demographics besides highly social youths would probably not react the same way; plenty of older or more self-important people may simply be bewildered or get mad.

    And, at any rate, it's such a glaringly weird facet of human behaviour that any seasoned psychopath should learn to emulate it quickly!

  • Real victims (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @12:36AM (#43650479)

    It must be pretty awful do die like that. I cannot imagine instant death would occur, there must be a few seconds or more after your head is chopped off until you lose consciousness. Its not like being shot through the brain. They say Hearing is the last to go, so you can hear the reaction of the crowd as you die. ;-(

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @04:17AM (#43651155)

    At the local science museum there used to be (there may still be) a mock guillotine that you could put your head in. There was a mirror at the bottom that allowed you to watch the cardboard blade slowly rise "above" you and then fall at a semi-random time once it got to the top. When it hit the bottom it blew a small jet of air at the back of your neck.

    The reactions I've seen watching people do that are pretty similar to this, so it's interesting to see how immersive it is despite having a display strapped to your head.

This process can check if this value is zero, and if it is, it does something child-like. -- Forbes Burkowski, CS 454, University of Washington