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Trilobites: In Virtual Reality, How Much Body Do You Need?

How connected are your body and your consciousness? When Michiteru Kitazaki, a professor of engineering at Toyohashi University of Technology in Japan, recently posed this question in an email, he evoked an idea from Japanese culture known as tamashii, or the soul without a body. Will it soon be possible, he wondered, to simulate the feeling of a spirit not attached to any particular physical form using virtual or augmented reality?If so, a good place to start would be to figure out the minimal amount of body we need to feel a sense of self, especially in digital environments where more and more people may find themselves…

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