These First-Person Cameras Let You Feel What It’s Like to Swap Genders

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The Oculus Rift can give us empathy and insight into the other sex.

Since time immemorial, I have wondered what it's like to own a penis. And I'm almost positive more than a few men have been curious to know what it's like to rock boobs and a vagina. As part of a gender swap experiment at Pompeu Fabra University, researchers used the Head Mounted Display Oculus Rift (a sort of virtual reality device) and first-person cameras to create a completely immersive embodiment experience for gender swapping. In order to maintain the illusion of suddenly looking down at your chest and being surprised to see breasts or hairy pecs, the partners in the study had to hold synchronized movements. When one person unzipped their crotch, the other did, only to see a whole different set of genitals.

The study is said to "aim to investigate issues like gender identity, queer theory, feminist technoscience, intimacy, and mutual respect." As the study participants slowly feel their way down their own bodies and perceive them as another's, you can sense the feelings of empathy, understanding, and awe at suddenly becoming a woman or a man. What could have been a simple "Hey, I have a dick!" experiment is an interesting appreciation of what it's really like to walk down the street as someone else. What would it be like to have sex through another body's perspective? This study didn't get that hot and heavy, but the tech is there. Any volunteers for that study?

Image via Vimeo.