Avatar Machine, by designer Marc Owens, is a wearable device that simulates the experience of third-person gaming environments.
By wearing this costume and head-mounted camera with VR goggles, a user can view themselves as a sort of virtual character while moving around and interacting in the real world.
Owens created Avatar Machine to explore whether such a device would grant users "a diminished sense of social responsibility (...) and demonstrate behaviors normally reserved for the gaming environment." In other words, turn them into instant board trolls.
Owens, 26, is a design student at the Royal College of Art, and lives in East London. An earlier version of this experiment from Owens circulated around the web in 2007.
In part one of today's Boing Boing tv episode, we premiere an all-new experiment with Avatar Machine -- live beta testing conducted in 2008, in the Harajuku area of Tokyo. Here, the user (Owens) flirts with Harajuku hotties, then almost gets his ass kicked (for real!) by some Japanese rockabilly gangster dudes.
In part two of today's show, Xeni speaks with Owens over a Skype video connection, live from his studio in East London.
Link to Boing Boing tv episode, with discussion and downloadable video.
(special thanks to Susannah Breslin)
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