Uncanny Valley – A Scary Ride through the Virtual World
The Oculus Rift has acquired itself millions of die hard fans even before its commercial release. There is no doubt that the latest virtual technology is going to completely revolutionize the world of gaming. However, the virtual world is not going to be picture perfect anytime soon.
According to number of people who have been inside the virtual world there is something off about it. There is almost an ‘uncanny’ and eerie feeling.
The uncanny feeling is not something new to the Oculus Rift but a rather common phenomenon. The uncanny valley is a hypothetical and psychological phenomenon that occurs when a computer-generated figure or a humanoid robot closely resembles a human being causing a sense of unease and repulsion in the person observing it. In the field of human aesthetics, the uncanny field in anything with humanoid features that look and act almost like human but not quite it. People viewing it are filled with distaste and abhorrence. There is a graph that shows level of comfort and unease among humans as the appearance of the humanoid subjects range from a natural to almost unnatural. Example of the uncanny field includes 3D animations and robots. One popular example is the 2004 animated movie, The Polar Express, whose characters were described as creepy.
Simon de Diesbacah, an interactive designer, created OccultUs as a part of a project for the University of Art and Design in Lausanne. OccultUs integrates virtual reality with real-world sounds in real time with robotic sound effects. Its goal is to scare and repulse the users. According to Simon, he wanted to design an immersion with a fusion of two different realities. He wanted ‘the palpable reality of the ‘real’ world, and the simulated reality of VR’. In the demo, the subjects are made to sit in a chair in the middle of room encircled by unusual machines. Unsure about the machines and their functions, the subjects put on the headset and enter the world of OccultUs. The black and white netherworld of OccultUs and the sounds from the machine surrounding the subjects instantly begin working. The sounds, being very loud and clear, unsettle the users. As the users are not expecting the sounds to be this loud, they oversee the little visual faults in the Oculus Rift’s virtual world smoothing out the rough edges of the uncanny valley.
A Dark Ride That Scares You Out Of The Oculus Rift’s Uncanny Valley
For more information on the Oculus Rift’s uncanny valley and a dark scary ride through it, please visit: