BEAMING is the process of instantaneously transporting people (visitors) from one physical place in the world to another (the destination) so that they can interact with the local people there. This is achieved through shifting their means for perception into the destination, and decomposing their actions, physiological and even emotional state into a stream of data that is transferred across the internet.
Simultaneous streams of data from the destination site to the visitor’s perceptual apparatus, and from the actions and state of the visitor to the destination site, cohere together to form a unified virtual environment representing the physical space of the destination in real-time – a destination that now includes the beamed people. BEAMING will endow this process with physicality.
The visitor’s actions at the destination site can have physical consequences; the actions of local people at the destination site can have physical consequences for the visitor. The visitor may be embodied at the destination site as a physical robot, and yet be seen by the locals virtually in human form.
This project will bring today’s networking, computer vision, computer graphics, virtual reality, haptics, robotics and user interface technology together in a way that has never been tried before thereby transcending what is possible today. The goal is to produce a new kind of virtual transportation, where the person can be physically embodied interacting with life-sized people who may be thousands of kilometres away. Moreover, this is underpinned by the practical utilisation of recent advances in cognitive neuroscience in understanding the process whereby the brain represents our own body.
The project brings technology researchers together with neuroscientists in order to develop and understand this complex but far reaching technology. The profound ethical and legal issues raised by a (near) future world in which this will be possible are considered in a dedicated workpackage.