Human-Computer Interaction

Super-Hero Revolution


Description

Context

For many years many psychotherapists have been working with mental images. In particular, substitution and transformation techniques are effective in treating states of stress and anxiety. In NLP, for example, Swish Pattern and Sub-modalities are widely used and give excellent results. Long before NLP, Buddhist monks were already familiar with these techniques for their mental purification. Everyone can test the power of mental images: chewing on an imaginary lemon produce a salivation increase. Images, whether real or mental, have the same kind of impact on our mental and physical state. That said, imagination and the use of mental images require calm and concentration, for that reason this practice is not effective for everyone. Super-Hero Revolution takes advantage of virtual reality to overcome this difficulty. First-person prospective visualization in a desired imaginary circumstance is the last step in which a patient is guided by a psychotherapist or hypnotherapist. It’s asked to imagine ourselves in different environments, but also to visualize our body wrapped in light. In fact, visualization applied correctly causes a suggestion that induces emotional release. The majority of psychological problems and stress are generated by feeling stuck in a state of impotence. With lack of self-esteem, the desired change seems impossible, but this is caused only by a reflection in a limiting mental self-image. The person in fact, from childhood, builds a mental image of himself and also identifies with negative mental images by introjection. The figure of the superhero (or man-god) able to transform every situation to the best, appears naturally in all cultures almost to redeem the human being from this vulnerability. SHR aims to provide a virtual self-transformation experience, into the ideal that every man keeps and dreams to embody.

Purpose of the Project

In the psychological techniques mentioned, mental images are never static, but transformed or replaced. In addition, their power is proportional to the space they occupy. SHR wants to explore these principles with virtual reality by applying visual transition effects on the avatar, embodied in the first-person prospective, in front of a virtual mirror. The use of the virtual mirror is fundamental because it is only in the mirror that a man can see his physical self-image in real life. The mirror also solves the problem of human visual perception, limited to the front view. Visual imagination, on the other hand, is also possible all around in space. For this reasons SHR also seeks to investigate human spatial perception, which is supposed to be unbalanced in the frontal area instead of being homogeneous in the whole space all around the body. It has been noted that the state of mindfulness that SHR want to stimulate, in fact, it’s also characterized by a wider perception of spatiality and proprioception.

Project Product

It’s expected that the real-time transformation of the virtual body produces a suggestion on the user, with consequent emotional release and mindfulness in a few seconds. For example, in the case of the fade effect: a disidentification of the body and its emotional state is expected synchronously with the process of gradual disappearance. It’s expected more or less the same result with the morphing effect or another transaction effect, with a re-identification in another type of body and/or environment in addition. It is expected to find a link between: mental self-image limitation (in comparison with an ideal); limited spatial perception; mind- body degree of stress.

Goals

  1. Demo version of the VR experience;
  2. Research on the psychophysical effects induced by the use of visual transition effects in virtual reality;
  3. Scientific article.

Expected consequences

Creation of new useful applications in various sectors, such as psychology, sport, leisure, health and wellness.

Details

Super-Hero Revolution is a Virtual Reality experience that uses Full Body Tracking embodiment in first-person prospective. It consists of a virtual environment and scenario where the user can observe his avatar virtual body in a virtual mirror while performing a series of transformations with the use of visual transition effects (morphing effect, dissolve effect, motion effects, etc.). The effects are visible both in the virtual mirror and directly on avatar body (where possible, for example hands and feet). The visual effects could be enriched by sound effects and other special effects (such as vibration) to amplify the sense of reality of the avatar transformation. The transformative effects of the avatar, expressed with different visual effects, are:

INVISIBILITY (Figure 1 and Figure 1 Bis)

The user observes his avatar body becoming invisible, partially or completely, through a fade-out effect. The effect is visible both in the virtual mirror and directly on the body of the avatar. The areas of the body to be dissolved can be selected by the user. It is possible to create a progressive fading effect, dissolving the various districts of the avatar body in a specific order/sequence and speed set by the user. NOTE: It has been noted that in many meditation practiques, the mental disidentification from the body induces a wider identification to all the space around (sense of spatial totality, mindfulness). That’s the reason why the effects of the use of fade-out effect are explored.

LUMINESCENCE (Figure 2)

The user observes his avatar body becoming luminous, with the consequent formation of an aura of light around him, through a morphing or another type of visual effect. The effect is visible both in the virtual mirror and directly on the body of the avatar. The user can select the parts of the body to be illuminated and the colors of the light. It is possible to create a progressive effect, illuminating the various districts of the avatar body in a specific order/sequence and speed set by the user. NOTE: In this case, the same sense of spatiality is induced by the 3D expansion of light all around the avatar body.

BODY SCAN (Figure 3)

The user observes his avatar body seen from the inside, with the various systems and internal organs functioning perfectly and emitting light through a morphing effect. The effect is visible both in the virtual mirror and directly on the body of the avatar. The districts of the body to be displayed, as well as the colors of the light, can be selected by the user. It is possible to create a progressive morphing effect, displaying the various organs/districts of the avatar body in a specific order/sequence and speed set by the user. NOTE: In this case, the suggestion and sense of spatiality are generated starting from a specific area of the body.

METAMORPHOSIS (Figure 4)

The user observes his avatar body to change appearances (for example to change the expression of the face from sad to happy, or to lose weight) through a morphing effect or a dissolve effect (fade-out + fade-in: dissolve and return with other appearance). The effects are visible both in the virtual mirror and directly on the body of the avatar. It is possible to create a progressive morphing/fade effect, transforming the various districts of the avatar body in a specific order/sequence and speed set by the user. NOTE: In this case the effects of the substitution of the self-image are explored.

LEVITATION (Figure 5)

The user observes his avatar body in the virtual mirror levitating through a motion effect. The effect is visible both in the virtual mirror and directly on the body of the avatar. NOTE: In this case, we want to reproduce and explore the same effect of emptiness and lightness that we have in the absence of gravity or during the free flight.

TELEPORTATION (Figure 6)

The user observes his avatar body and the surrounding environment in the virtual mirror change with transition/motion effects similar to those applied to the avatar in order to simulate a teleportation in another environment and/or in another avatar body. The effects are visible both in the virtual mirror and directly on the body of the avatar. It is possible to create a progressive teleportation effect, transforming the various districts of the avatar body and surrounding environment in a specific order/sequence and speed set by the user. NOTE: In this case, we want to study the effects of the substitution of the self-image + surrounding environment.

ENLARGEMENT (Figure 7)

The user observes his avatar body in the virtual mirror enlarging through an enlarge effect. The effect is visible both in the virtual mirror and directly on the body of the avatar. NOTE: In this case, we want to explore the effects of spatial perception by enlarging the body of the avatar directly. When possible graphically, the user can use more transformative effects together (for example LUMINESCENCE + BODY SCAN).

Cooperation Partners

Andrea Giops Gioacchini
andrea.giops@gmail.com

Contact Persons at the University Würzburg

Prof. Dr. Marc Erich Latoschik (Primary Contact Person)
Mensch-Computer-Interaktion, Universität Würzburg
marc.latoschik@uni-wuerzburg.de

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