ISPR Presence News

Monthly Archives: January 2011

Call: Embodied, Distributed and Extended Cognition: Philosophical Perspectives Workshop

Embodied, Distributed and Extended Cognition: Philosophical Perspectives Workshop

Department of Philosophy, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
March 24-25, 2011
Organized by TECNOCOG Research Group

Note: Call for Posters/Best Student Poster Competition (supported by Cognitive Science Society)

http://tecnocogworkshoponcognition.wordpress.com//

The workshop aims at discussing philosophical issues in post-cognitivist cognitive science, especially recent approaches such as embodied cognition, the extended mind and socially distributed cognition.

Participation is free, but please register by sending an email to saray.ayala@uab.es Read more on Call: Embodied, Distributed and Extended Cognition: Philosophical Perspectives Workshop…

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Game-changing narratives, or: How social media is changing reality

[From OpEdNews.com]

January 27, 2011

Game-Changing Narratives, Or: How Social Media is Changing Reality

By Bud Goodall (about the author)

Lately there has been a convergence of news narratives that coalesce into a series of otherwise disparate nouns: reality, gaming, social media, Tunisia, avatar envy, emotion, college-students-aren’t-learning-anything, the Internet, and revolution. For academics studying communication, the merger of these nouns spells good times, fascinating times, times that promise cool science and thought-provoking essays. For entrepreneurs, they provide investment opportunities. For the world beyond the academy and entrepreneurs, however, this new series of nouns creates life possibilities that are at once true, bizarre, and maybe even frightening.

Let’s begin with the basics of this first new grammar of the 21st century. Which is to say, appropriately, let’s begin with you. With the reality, and virtual reality, of you. For you are always and forever at the center of this unfolding many-storied story, because whether you are you in the flesh; or you are you in the sexier, sleeker avatar that represents and evokes a version of yourself that you’d often rather be; or whether it’s the you that creates friends on a Facebook page or surfs the “Net or the you who exchanges endless texts and tweets 24/7, the end result is the same: your pleasure in these texts, which is also to say the pleasure you give to yourself and others in and through engaging in these texts, is central to the choices about stories, and the lives, you make out of them. As Professor Alan Kirby, who defines this new narrative reality as “pseudo-modernism,” puts it: “Whereas postmodernism called “reality’ into question, pseudo-modernism defines the real implicitly as myself, now, “interacting’ with its texts.” Read more on Game-changing narratives, or: How social media is changing reality…

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Call: 2nd International Workshop on Evaluating Player Experience in Games (epex11)

2nd International Workshop on Evaluating Player Experience in Games (epex11)

Bordeaux, 28 June 2011

Workshop in conjunction with the Foundations of Digital Games (FDG) Conference 2011

There is a rapidly growing interest in evaluating player experience in games context, as well as other forms of digital interactive entertainment, for example via applying psychophysiological signals and user telemetry to obtain data on the user experience and the interaction between user and game, Developing useful methods for evaluating player experience in games is paramount for the design of interfaces that can better account for the user experience while interacting with different media (i.e., games, social media, pervasive marketing).

This workshop aims at presenting and discussing quantitative and qualitative methods for evaluating player experience in games. The workshop focuses especially on novel evaluation techniques such as psychophysiological measures and behavioral game metrics that supplement user experience evaluation methods, which can be used to e.g. evaluate and validate game designs, mechanics, and balancing.

Additional issues include the specific nature and industrial value of evaluation techniques that can be used during the game development process and provide actionable results, the player experience associated with it and its implications for interface and game design, visualization and reporting of user experience data, dissemination to company stakeholders, management of user experience processes, novel approaches for player experience testing, theory and innovation in the field. Read more on Call: 2nd International Workshop on Evaluating Player Experience in Games (epex11)…

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3 universities and Singapore’s MDA partner for telepresence R&D at new BeingThere Centre

[A press release from The Media Development Authority of Singapore]

New S$23 million research centre by NTU, ETH Zurich and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill will make virtual communication a reality

This Singapore-Swiss-American partnership that spans three continents will revolutionise human communication in the 21st century

Singapore, 26 January 2010 – Need to have a conference with others thousands of kilometres away? A glass-walled room lets all parties interact as if you were all together at one location.

Can’t be physically present for a meeting? Send your avatar which will take on your appearance as well as gestures and even give you a report of the meeting at the end.

Sounds like science fiction? Not at all. These are some of the advanced and sophisticated forms of interactive real-time 3-D communication, known as “telepresence” and “telecollaboration” that we can look forward to in the near future.

Taking the lead in the development of these cutting-edge communication technologies are Nanyang Technological University (NTU, Singapore), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich, Switzerland) and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill, USA). They have come together to set up a new international research centre for telepresence and telecollaboration, known as the BeingThere Centre. These new technologies are set to revolutionise the way humans communicate in the 21st century, in the same way that the telephone revolutionised long-distance communication when it was introduced in the 19th century.

The BeingThere Centre represents a S$23 million investment (approximately US$18 million or 17.2 million Swiss francs) by the three universities and the Media Development Authority of Singapore, and aims to leverage on the synergy between the universities, each of which are at the forefront of research and development (R&D) of the technology. Read more on 3 universities and Singapore’s MDA partner for telepresence R&D at new BeingThere Centre…

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Job: 1 year Human-Robot Interaction post-doc at Mobile Life Centre, Stockholm, Sweden

1 Year Human-Robot Interaction Post-doc, Mobile Life Centre, Stockholm, Sweden

When:  Available immediately, 1 year. start date March 1st.

Where:  The researcher will be employed at SICS, Swedish Institute of Computer Science and will work within the Mobile Life Centre (MobileLifeCentre.org)

We are pleased to announce the availability of a one-year post-doc position in the area of human-robot interaction at SICS and the Mobile Life Centre. We are looking for recent Ph.D. graduates from all over the world with a strong interest in robotic artefacts and interaction design, who want to work in a dynamic research environment in Sweden.

You will work within the LIREC project at the Mobile Life Centre’s Future Applications Lab. The project’s work at Mobile Life/SICS has focused on understanding robot technology in everyday environments, and understanding existing social practices, routines and experiences that a robot designer should consider. Read more on Job: 1 year Human-Robot Interaction post-doc at Mobile Life Centre, Stockholm, Sweden…

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Living on the edge of virtual reality

[From The Nevada Appeal; a detailed article about Brock Enright’s “Videogames Adventure Services” is available in The New York Times here]

[Larger image available here]

Opinion

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Living on the edge of virtual reality

By Ursula Carlson
For the Nevada Appeal

I like the words “virtual reality” because they suggest an alternate world, one that is not real, but that seems almost real. To me it’s like the world we encounter whenever we read a novel, watch a movie, recall scenes from the past or imagine scenes that might occur in the future.

But this is not the way we understand the words today, nor was it the meaning Antonin Artaud had in mind when he coined the phrase in his 1938 book, “The Theater and Its Double.”

Artaud, a poet, actor, director and theorist, decried theater’s dependence on the “text,” the words and language. He thought of theater as a stage that was its own reality, not a mere representation of it, and called it the “theatre of cruelty.” This theater needed to “swoop down upon a crowd of spectators with all the awesome horror of the plague … creating a complete upheaval, physical, mental and moral, among the population.”

In his production “The Conquest of Mexico,” he had the wall of the stage “crammed unevenly with heads, with throats … horrible faces, glaring eyes, closed fists, plumes, armour.” He called these “gestures” but we recognize them as symbolic images.

Science fiction, in books, movies and television (ie., “Neuromancer,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” “Tron” and “Inception”) has employed the idea of virtual reality for decades. Today, a computer game developer like Jane McGonigal believes in using virtual reality games in a serious way to “change the world” by teaching, for instance, “social entrepreneurship.” Physical and psycho-therapists have also used various simulation methods in positive ways.

And then there is Brock Enright, a self-proclaimed artist/actor in Brooklyn, N.Y., who with his cast of players offers “reality adventures” for a price ranging from a low of $5,000 or $10,000 to $60,000 or more. These adventures may be kidnappings, simulated rapes, or any “narrative” that Enright thinks is the client’s “game intent.”

In this game the “stage” is the real world and the client doesn’t know who is one of Enright’s actors and who isn’t.   Read more on Living on the edge of virtual reality…

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Call: Special issue of Ergonomics on “Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) and Ergonomics”

Call for Papers – Special Issue of Ergonomics

Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) and Ergonomics

You are cordially invited to make a contribution to a special issue of Ergonomics (http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~db=all~content=g931448109), entitled “Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) and Ergonomics.” The primary goal of this special issue is to explore human factors and ergonomics issues involved in designing, developing, evaluating and implementing brain-computer interface (BCI) systems for users with and without severe motor disabilities by including contributions from researchers in different disciplines.

As a valuable augmentative communication system, BCI has recently gained considerable research interest, especially for those who have lost all voluntary muscle control. BCI applications should allow for increased independence and hence, improved quality of life for people with severe neuromuscular disorders. However, there has been a general lack of understanding of, or inattention to, ergonomics/human factors issues such as interface design, usability, inclusive design, user-BCI interaction, etc. Further improvements to BCI systems are necessary to ensure that they can meet the needs of specific user groups. Read more on Call: Special issue of Ergonomics on “Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) and Ergonomics”…

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Inside Lockheed Martin’s out-of-this-world virtual reality lab

[From The Denver Business Journal; more information including a 3:09 minute video is available here]

[Image: A demonstration of what an engineer sees inside Lockheed Martin’s Collaborative Human Immersive Laboratory]

Inside Lockheed Martin’s out-of-this-world virtual-reality lab

Denver Business Journal – by Greg Avery
Date: Monday, January 24, 2011 – Last Modified: Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The newest advance at Colorado’s Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. campus isn’t as out-of-this-world as some of what’s made there, but it’s not exactly of this world, either.

The Littleton-based division of Lockheed Martin Corp., the Bethesda, Md.-based defense and aerospace giant, this week publicly unveiled a virtual reality lab where its engineers can test and improve satellite and space vehicle designs before they physically exist.

In the company’s Collaborative Human Immersive Laboratory, teams of engineers can virtually walk around their creation, look at it from every angle, virtually add parts to it and interact with it as if it were in the room. But it’s not. Read more on Inside Lockheed Martin’s out-of-this-world virtual reality lab…

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Call: 11th conference on Humans&Computers 2011

CALL FOR PAPERS

aboutMEDIA ABOUTtomorrow – überMEDIEN ÜBERmorgen

11th conference on Humans&Computers 2011 – Mensch&Computer 2011
by the Gesellschaft für Informatik (Society of Computer Science)
and the German UPA.

Conference languages: German and English

Web: http://english.uebermedien.org/

Types of Contributions:

  • Long papers
  • Short papers (posters)
  • Visions beyond tomorrow
  • Exhibition with accompanying short-and long contributions
  • Workshops
  • Tutorials

Timeline

  • March 20th 2011: Submission deadline
  • End of May 2011: Author notification
  • June 12th 2011: Camera ready copy must be received (The proceedings are going to be published under open access by Oldenbourg Wissenschaftverlag)
  • June 12th 2011: Workshop paper submission deadline / deadline for submitting tutorials
  • July 1st 2011: Notifications for workshop papers / tutorials
  • September 11th to 14th 2011: Conference

Venue: Chemnitz, Germany

Media increasingly define our lives. Their growing diversity produces chances and risks. At the same time their use is becoming increasingly complex. Key topics of the conference are media themselves and their opportunities, risks, uses, influence on our lives and our influence on them, today and tomorrow. Conference languages are German and English.

Though the conference languages are German as well as English the conference theme cannot be translated literally into English since the German “über” has several meanings leading to the following associations: Media. Through the media. about media. Media about. Media tomorrow. On media tomorrow. On media on tomorrow. Media beyond tomorrow. Tomorrow dominated by media? Letter, book, newspaper, telephone, radio and television have coded and transported information for decades, centuries, millennia without major changes. Their objective and handling was as specific as simple: open, turn on, lift and off we went. The digitization of the media landscape radically breaks with this tradition. Even the purchase of a TV set is a task for experts: HD, Full HD, HDMI, IP, DVB-T, DVB-C, DVB-S, 3D TV, LCD, LED, plasma, IEEE 802.3, USB, MP3, MPEG -1, MPEG-4, DivX or viewing angle are part of the technological now how, users have to understand. Only 10 years ago the only question was concerned about the size of the screen.

Apart of this intriguing new possibilities are emerging: worldwide communication in real time, access to information from any location, safety, personalized information, and up today unknown technical qualities enable us to a life we don’t want to miss anymore.

The conference addresses topics between these two extreme positions. The question is: Is the development going to overwhelm us, or are the new media going to be an opportunity to us for a self-determined life in freedom? What in fact is our future with media tomorrow and the day after? Read more on Call: 11th conference on Humans&Computers 2011…

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Disabled virtual athletes experience reality of playing baseball

[From ESPN’s The Gamer blog]

[Image: Hans Smith’s Association for Disabled Virtual Athletes will be featured in “MLB 11: The Show.”]

Association for Disabled Virtual Athletes debuts in ‘The Show’

By Jon Robinson
Jan 24, 2011

Hans Smith pitched his way through an up-and-down rookie year for the Cardinals last season.

Don’t recognize the name? That’s because Smith is a virtual athlete who spent an entire season playing as himself in “MLB 10: The Show.”

But Smith is anything but your average gamer.

The 25-year-old baseball fanatic suffers from cerebral palsy, making it impossible for him to play the game he loves in real life.

But that didn’t stop Smith from making the Majors.

You see, a few years ago, Smith wrote a letter to Sony’s San Diego studio, the developers of the top-rated “MLB: The Show” series, and the producers were so moved by Smith’s passionate words about the sport of baseball, the Cardinals, and their video game, that Sony went ahead and created Smith’s character in “MLB 10: The Show.”

And according to Smith, seeing the cyber version of himself gave him a feeling like never before. It was as if by some miracle, his cerebral palsy ceased to exist nine innings at a time.

A feeling Smith wants to share with other disabled gamers.

Smith gets that chance in “MLB 11: The Show” as thanks to the gamer’s growing ties with Sony’s development team, a new difficulty level has been added to the franchise that will make it possible for more gamers with disabilities to get their cracks at the plate against diamond kings like Tim Lincecum and Cliff Lee. Read more on Disabled virtual athletes experience reality of playing baseball…

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