The Riken Brain Science Institute is developing a substitutional reality (SR) system that makes reality and fiction indistinguishable.
The subject wears a head-mounted display (HMD), inside of which he views footage projected inside the HMD. The footage inside the HDM is of reality in real time. By switching the projected footage to something previously recorded in the location where the subject is located, the system can create the illusion that past footage is the reality occurring before his eyes.
“The point is that this is a world created with previously recorded video, so when this footage viewed, if you look up you can see what is above, and if you look down you can see what is below. You can look at whatever direction you please just like when viewing things live. The concept is that by mixing experiences gained through a live camera and experiences projected from the past or from memory, you can make the subject go back and forth freely between these two worlds.”
Until now there have been technologies and concepts of using footage shot elsewhere as an experience of some other location, such as with a presentation using video. The substitutional reality system has been developed based on the concept of having an experience on the time axis of the same location.
“If the head-mounted display catches on, there might be commercials that come out that use it. As for its application, it was already used this summer in a performance using SR with a performance group, and in September Sony used it for an event at the Tokyo Game Show. How well this will be used depends on how many people actually gain interest and become involved.”
The Riken institute plans to use the system in applications such as a drive simulator, which will make users believe they are actually driving. This will make it possible to experience something slightly different than a typical simulation while viewing a monitor.