Disconnection
This project aims to explore our self perception by disconnecting and rerouting our visual and auditory perception from our body. It does so, by letting one person slip into the role of the observer. Another person becomes the receiver. The receiver’s perspective gets replaced by the observer’s, giving him control over your vision and sense of hearing.
Focusing on altering the humans natural senses and perception with the help of digital artifacts, we came up with the idea of constructing two devices, which let people merge their perspectives, creating a whole new body experience for its users.
Our Prototype consists of two connected parts:
  • an observing helmet with a videocamera and a binaural microphone and
  • a receiving helmet with a head mounted display and a stereo headphone.
The observing helmet has a small HD 720p web-camera attached on the top and two mono microphones located next to each ear in order to obtain a binaural recording.
Both camera and microphones are connected to a laptop computer to filter the signals and apply several video and audio effects.

The receiving helmet is composed by a pair of video-glasses with a 640x480 resolution display and a pair of headphones. The video-glasses are placed inside a welder mask in order to have a totally dark environment to eliminate all external stimuli.

The system projects the perspective of the observer on the receiving person and, at the same time, aims to cut the receiver's senses and perception off from his body, giving him a feeling of disorientation and loss of control. It does so, by displaying the camera of the observer's helmet on the head up display of the receiver's helmet. The same happens with the binaurally recorded sounds.
The observer is meant to keep the receiver always in the sight of his camera but he is free to decide on his movement and thus on the projected perspective. Binaural sound and visual effects are implemented to radically enhance the experience of separation and sensorial ambiguity.

Figure 1: Showing both helmets.

The experience for the receiver is hard to describe: First, you have to get used to give up control over the movements of your head. Your senses are not controllable anymore. All you can do is to close your eyes. After just a few minutes you loose the sense for your body. You feel like observing a distant scene but hardly that it is you who is the main actor of that scene. When you touch an object, it all comes back. The presence of your body returns and you recognize that the one you are observing is still you...

Gallery: First steps with the helmet