, Volume 26, Issue 6-8, pp 649-657

The physiological mirror—a system for unconscious control of a virtual environment through physiological activity

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Abstract

This paper introduces a system for real-time physiological measurement, analysis, and metaphorical visualization within a virtual environment (VE). Our goal is to develop a method that allows humans to unconsciously relate to parts of an environment more strongly than to others, purely induced by their own physiological responses to the virtual reality (VR) displays. In particular, we exploit heart rate, respiration, and galvanic skin response in order to control the behavior of virtual characters in the VE. Such unconscious processes may become a useful tool for storytelling or assist guiding participants through a sequence of tasks in order to make the application more interesting, e.g., in rehabilitation. We claim that anchoring of subjective bodily states to a virtual reality (VR) can enhance a person’s sense of realism of the VR and ultimately create a stronger relationship between humans and the VR.