What Is It Like to Be a Virtual Bat?

  • Anastassia AndreasenEmail author
  • Niels Christian Nilsson
  • Jelizaveta Zovnercuka
  • Michele Geronazzo
  • Stefania Serafin
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering book series (LNICST, volume 265)


Virtual Reality (VR) might give us a glimpse of what it feels to have a different from human shaped body and how to orientate ourselves in virtual environment (VE) with it. Bats’ wings structure has anatomical similarities to a human hand; yet would it be possible to achieve a compelling illusion of virtual body ownership (VBO) over bat’s avatar is questionable. Hence our main aim of research is to imitate bat’s sonar system and achieve embodiment of anatomically similar but morphologically different body – a body of a bat. Test results showed a possibility to achieve VBO illusion using bat’s avatar. VBO was significantly higher when steering through VE, as opposed to steering without a virtual body and exposing to involuntary movement through VE. With our research prototype, users will be able to navigate with echolocation system and fly through a virtual cave.


Virtual Reality Virtual Body Ownership Echolocation 


  1. 1.
    Andreasen, A., Nilsson, N.C., Serafin, S.: Agency enhances body ownership illusion of being a virtual bat. In: IEEE Virtual Reality 2018. IEEE Press (2018)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Andreasen, A., Nilsson, N.C., Serafin, S.: Spatial asynchronous visuo-tactile stimuli influence ownership of virtual wings. In: IEEE Virtual Reality 2018. IEEE Press (2018)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Kilteni, K., Normand, J.M., Sanchez-Vives, M.V., Slater, M.: Extending body space in immersive virtual reality: a very long arm illusion. PLoS ONE 7(7), e40867 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Maselli, A., Slater, M.: The building blocks of the full body ownership illusion. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 7, 83 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Nagel, T.: What is it like to be a bat? Philos. Rev. 83(4), 435–450 (1974)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Serafin, S., Geronazzo, M., Nilsson, N.C., Erkut, C., Nordahl, R.: Sonic interactions in virtual reality: state of the art, current challenges and future directions. IEEE Comput. Graph. Appl. 38(2), 31–43 (2018)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Steptoe, W., Steed, A., Slater, M.: Human tails: ownership and control of extended humanoid avatars. IEEE Trans. Vis. Comput. Graph. 19(4), 583–590 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Thaler, L., et al.: Mouth-clicks used by blind expert human echolocators - signal description and model based signal synthesis. PLOS Comput. Biol. 13(8), e1005670 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Zovnercuka, J., Konovalovs, K., Andreasen, A., Geronazzo, M., Serafin, S., Paisa, R.: Navigate as a bat. Real-time echolocation system in virtual reality. In: Proceedings of 15th International Sound and Music Computing Conference (2018)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© ICST Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Multisensory Experience LabAalborg University CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

Personalised recommendations