Scientists create a robot that can make you think there's a ghost in the room

Contributed by
Nov 7, 2014

Welcome to the future — we’ve reached the point where robots are, literally, messing with us now.

Scientists have created a robotic simulation that can create the experience of having a presence behind you, similar to the sensation one might feel when they think a ghost (or an unknown person) is sneaking up behind them. As Popular Science notes, the phenomenon is described as “feeling of a presence.”

A team of neuroscientists working in Switzerland believe the feeling is caused by “damage or confusion” in three areas of the brain. To test the theory, they created a robot with the ability to give relatively healthy people the sensation by sending mixed-up signals to the brain — essentially, a robot designed to punk humans and freak ‘em out. It worked so well that two test subjects couldn’t even finish.

The ‘bot works by blindfolding subjects and letting them push a lever in front of them, which is connected to a poking device behind them. After doing that a while, the poking sensation is delayed half a second — which apparently makes one very, very uncomfortable. So much so that people felt like someone else was poking them, or they might’ve even drifted behind themselves. It’s all attributed to sensory confusion. Freaky, right?

Check out a video of the experiment in action over at Popular Science.

(Via Popular Science)

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