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19 FEBRUARY 2004

CyberSM: remote tactile interaction

"The cyberSM project was an attempt to create a real time, visual, auditory, and tactile communication in the world of cyberspace. In the first cyberSM experiment, the user began to experience what others have only talked about for years: live, tactile communication through a computer environment. The CyberSM project expanded upon text based virtual environments, such as Minitel, MUDs, or most BBSs. It also takes the next logical step toward true telepresence by employing 3D graphics, live audio, and direct physical stimulation to allow participants to physically 'touch' each other over distances. The cyberSM project allows the establishment of trans_gender appearances, identities and entities by letting the participants choose their own visual appearance from a large databank of digitized human bodies. Once chosen, the participants send the image of their virtual self to the others on the network. The body thus becomes a visual fantasy. Central to the cyberSM project is the ability to transmit physical stimuli from one participant to the other. This is made possible through the use of stimulator suits connected over international telephone lines, which allow the users to remotely stimulate one–another's bodies. Not only does this physical element of communication allow the CyberSM project to more closely model inter–human communication, it creates a new form of interaction. Throughout the cyberSM connection, participants have a physical dialogue, but they remain anonymous the whole time."

(Ståhl Stenslie)



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