I have always been fascinated by out-of-body experiences such as those described in movies like Strange Days, Altered States and the books of Carlos Castaneda. Recently I read that as with many other fascinations we used to have as children technology and science already take us not very far from there.
According to an official announcement published by the UCL institute of Neurology a neuroscientist named Dr Henrik Ehrsson who was a researcher at Institute at the time has managed to generate out-of-body experiences in volunteers, as a paper published in ‘Science’ explains. In ‘The experimental induction of out-of-body experiences’, Dr Henrik Ehrsson, , outlines the unique method by which the illusion was created and the implications of its discovery:
The illusion worked by using head-mounted displays to enable participants to watch a live film recorded by two video cameras located behind their head. The image from the left video camera is presented on the left-eye display and the image from the right camera on the right-eye display. The participant sees these as one ‘stereoscopic’ (3D) image, so they see their own back displayed from the perspective of someone sitting behind them.
The researcher then stood just beside the participant (in their view) and used two plastic rods to simultaneously touch the participant’s actual chest out-of-view and the chest of the illusory body, moving this second rod towards where the illusory chest would be located, just below the camera’s view. The participants confirmed that they had experienced sitting behind their physical body and looking at it from that location.