Avatar Machine July 15, 2007Posted by Mrs Weird Scientist in Easy As Pie, Human Body, Psychology and Behavior, Technology, Weird Gadgets.
The Avatar Machine is an interesting contraption created by Marc Owens. The idea is that a person can truly be in the game by seeing him or herself in the third person. Gaming is hugely popular nowadays, which means that many designers and researchers want to find ways to make it as life-like as possible. According to Owens:
The virtual communities created by online games have provided us with a new medium for social interaction and communication. Avatar Machine is a system which replicates the aesthetics and visuals of third person gaming, allowing the user to view themselves as a virtual character in real space via a head mounted interface. The system potentially allows for a diminished sense of social responsibility, and could lead the user to demonstrate behaviors normally reserved for the gaming environment.
I can see how the concept is an appealing one for gamers. Although you’re out walking or doing some other ordinary activity in the real world, you’re seeing yourself in a totally different context. You might be a bit more daring and do stuff that you’d normally only do in a game. When gaming, the knowledge that it’s not real is what lets people take risks. In the real world, however, those risks could have positive or negative consequences. If it means you’re more confident and social, that could be a good thing but if it means you’re aggressive or combative, that could be really harmful. I also don’t know about you, but if I was out for a leisurely stroll and then encountered someone in the Avatar Machine, I’d scream and run the other way. It’s crazy looking!