ISPR Presence News

Monthly Archives: June 2013

Call: ICAT 2013: The 23rd International Conference on Artificial Reality and Telexistence

ICAT 2013: The 23rd International Conference on Artificial Reality and Telexistence
December 11-13, 2013, Miraikan, Tokyo, Japan

Submission Deadline: August 10, 2013
Acceptance Notification: September 30, 2013
Camera-Ready Deadline: October 21, 2013

Posters and Demos:
Submission Deadline: October 4, 2013
Acceptance Notification: October 18, 2013
Camera Ready Due: November 1, 2013

ICAT 2013 Conference: December 11-13, 2013

ICAT (International Conference on Artificial Reality and Telexistence) is the oldest established international conference on Virtual Reality (VR) and Telexistence. Started in 1991, ICAT has annually brought together VR, MR, and Telerobotics researchers from around the globe. It has been held in different locations in Asia, Oceania, and Europe. VR and Telexistence have the potential to augment human ability in perception, understanding, and action in time and space. The technologies that are the focus of this research community also make it possible for humans to be seemingly anywhere at any given time, thus providing humans virtually ubiquitous impact and interaction possibilities.

ICAT 2013 will not only look for innovations in VR technology itself, but also explore novel ways to express and transfer information and creative ideas to societies and their people. ICAT 2013 will include technical sessions covering traditional VR areas as well as new emerging areas with a lineup of plenary sessions, invited talks, technical tours, and technology/art exhibitions.

The organizing committee cordially invites you to submit original technical work and experimental results related to Virtual Reality to this conference. Each submission will be refereed on the basis of technical quality, novelty, significance, and clarity. Read more on Call: ICAT 2013: The 23rd International Conference on Artificial Reality and Telexistence…

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Think ahead: Robots anticipate human actions

[From the Cornell Chronicle; much more information, including a video, is available at the links below. Many media stories about this emphasize the robot’s ability to serve beer at the appropriate time; a few note potential applications for telepresence robots]

Robot anticipates actions, serves beer

Think ahead: Robots anticipate human actions

By Bill Steele
Apr. 29, 2013

A robot in Cornell’s Personal Robotics Lab has learned to foresee human action and adjust accordingly.

The robot was programmed to refill a person’s cup when it was nearly empty. To do this the robot must plan its movements in advance and then follow the plan. But if a human sitting at the table happens to raise the cup and drink from it, the robot might pour a drink into a cup that isn’t there. But when the robot sees the human reaching for the cop, it can anticipate the human action and avoid making a mistake. In another test, the robot observed a human carrying an object toward a refrigerator and helpfully opened the refrigerator door.

Hema S. Koppula, Cornell graduate student in computer science, and Ashutosh Saxena, assistant professor of computer science, will describe their work at International Conference of Machine Learning, June 18-21 in Atlanta, and the Robotics: Science and Systems conference June 24-28 in Berlin, Germany. Read more on Think ahead: Robots anticipate human actions…

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Call: Designing Interactive Systems 2014

Designing Interactive Systems 2014
Vancouver, BC, Canada
June 14-18, 2014

The ACM conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS) is the premier, international arena where designers, artists, psychologists, user experience researchers, systems engineers and many more come together to debate and shape the future of interactive systems design and practice.

The theme of the conference is “Crafting Design.” We see the confluence of phenomena that may constitute new approaches and new foci in HCI and interaction design. The re-emergence of hand skills is evident in the development of multi-touch and full body interfaces. DIY and Maker cultures have become a widespread phenomenon in which craftsmanship of the maker matters. Wearable computing revisits the use of traditional craft in new way and the (technologically) self-constructed self is another kind of democratic craft. Documentations of the self where we create enduring records of everything from social encounters to our heart-rates become designed vehicles for abstract mirrors of the self. Read more on Call: Designing Interactive Systems 2014…

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How Google is turning maps into virtual reality

[From Datamation; reminiscent of Jean Baudrillard’s ideas on simulation]

Future of Google Maps presentation

[Image: From Google I/O, May 2013, San Francisco]

How Google is Turning Maps Into Virtual Reality

The Waze acquisition could bring more user-generated data to Google Maps.

June 12, 2013
By Mike Elgan

Why did Google, the company that already has the best maps product and the most users, spend a billion dollars to buy a tiny maps startup called Waze that has a fraction of the users ?

Why would mighty Google need Waze’s puny map, app or user base?

The short answer is that Google didn’t buy Waze’s ability to display maps, but its ability to build them.

What Is an Online Map, Anyway?

Online maps aren’t really maps anymore. They’re massive databases of contextual and increasingly social information. And nobody’s database is more massive than Google’s.

The problem is that Google Maps and the information that underlies it change constantly. Roads are re-routed. Traffic changes. Companies go out of business, and new ones replace them. And Maps can always benefit from more and better information.

How does a map company keep up with all these changes?

Google unveiled a totally new version of Maps last month. Instead of Maps being about maps, it has become a platform capable of evolving into a virtual reality version of the real world.

The visible part of Maps is augmented by invisible data. For instance, it includes information about posted speed limits, which streets are one-way and where the stops signs are. These kinds of data are vital for accurate turn-by-turn directions, estimating trip times and other uses.

Google updates this data constantly, so every day Google Maps gets more accurate and useable.

The data comes from a wide variety of sources, including Street View cars, which take pictures of roads, trails and even the inside of businesses.

Street View cars capture photos of instructional signs, and the data on those signs are scanned and added to the invisible part of the map. Google even uses “logo matching” to identify the locations of businesses based on Street View photos.

The Redesign

Google’s new Maps is far more data driven. For example, when you click on a location in the standard Maps view now, every road that can possibly connect to that location is instantly highlighted and the street names are made larger.

They replaced the “Satellite” view with Google Earth, which no longer requires a browser plug-in. Earth is completely integrated into Maps now.

Zooming in on Earth view reveals that the surface of the planet is now 3D. But unlike old 3D features in Maps, the objects are created based on harvested data. In the old version of Maps and the current version of some Maps competitors, such as Apple Maps, the 3D feature involves 3D renderings of buildings placed on a 2D map surface. But in Google’s new Earth view, not just buildings but every tree, every hedge, every parked car is rendered—anything actually there is rendered in three dimensions.

Right now, it looks weird, as if everything is melted together. That’s what low resolution looks like—a tree is just a tree-colored blob. Homes melt together with their lawns.

But what’s happening is that Google has flipped a switch to a data-driven Maps platform that will constantly be updated with ever more detail. Those low-rez blobs we see today will, over time, sharpen, and the details will fill in. This process of increasing the resolution will never stop.

As the detail is filled in and Google continues to refine and improve maps, we’ll get to the point where a user will be able to put on virtual reality glasses, such as Oculus Rift, and walk around in a virtual world that mirrors the real one. Users will be able to walk down the virtual street, walk through virtual doors and look around inside virtual businesses. Once inside, they may even be able to see and buy virtual or actual products.

The experience of Google Maps virtual reality will be very similar to the experience of walking around in the real world wearing Google Glass. What you see through your own eyes will be real, of course, but the data that augments that reality will be Google Maps data.

Maps will become more like reality, and reality will become more like Maps. Read more on How Google is turning maps into virtual reality…

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Call: Old Ideas: Recomputing the History of Information Technology (SIGCIS Workshop 2013)

Old Ideas:
Recomputing the History of Information Technology

SIGCIS Workshop 2013
October 13, 2013, Portland, Maine

Deadline: June 30, 2013

The Society for the History of Technology’s Special Interest Group for Computers, Information and Society (SIGCIS – welcomes submissions for a one-day scholarly workshop to be held on Sunday, October 13, 2013 in Portland, Maine. As in previous years, SIGCIS’s annual workshop will occur immediately after the end of the regular SHOT annual meeting program, the details of which are available from

Questions about the workshop should be addressed to Thomas Haigh (School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee), who is serving as chair of the workshop program committee (email:

Workshop Theme

Information technologists have little time for old thinking, or for anything else old. Entrepreneurs seek the new new thing, computer scientists tackle the grand challenges of future computing, and management consultants chase the next fad. Scholars in the humanities, who are professionally skeptical about the nostrums of neoliberalism, the myth of progress, and the allure of the technological fix, can nevertheless exhibit a similar weakness for the shiny allure of new technologies. In short, information technology is rarely understood as something rooted in history. Its cultural associations are with the future, not the past.

For the SIGCIS 2013 Workshop, we invite scholars to turn their attention to something different: old ideas and their relationship to information and computer technology. Perhaps to their overlooked charm, their enduring power, and their continuities with the putatively new. Such papers might

  • Reclaim from what was famously termed the “enormous condescension of posterity” the ideas about information and information technology held by specific historical actors, explaining what they really thought they were doing and how the understood the world around them.
  • Demonstrate hidden historical continuities, by showing that technologies, ideas, or practices generally assumed to be of recent origin have a close relationship with those formerly known by different names.
  • Advocate explicitly or by example the relevance of less fashionable historical approaches, such as quantitative analysis, old-school Marxism, or micro-level studies of technical practice to understanding the history of information technology.
  • Explore connections between historical research on computing, and the burgeoning recent literature on software studies, game studies, platform studies, etc. produced by scholars in other areas of the humanities.
  • Place topics within the history of information technology into broader arcs of birth, aging, and death – whether of individuals, institutions, or social practices.
  • Illuminate the cultural work done to construct some things as old and others as new, and explain who is carrying out this work and why.

If none of the above fit your work, even with some creative twisting, then despair not: we also accept new ideas! SIGCIS has a tradition of welcoming all types of contributions related to the history of computing and information, whether or not there is an explicit connection with the annual theme. Our membership is international and interdisciplinary, and our members examine the history of information technologies and their place within society from a variety of scholarly perspectives including the history of technology, business history, labor history, social history, the history of science, science studies, communications, gender and sexuality studies, computing, disability studies, and museum studies. Read more on Call: Old Ideas: Recomputing the History of Information Technology (SIGCIS Workshop 2013)…

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Japanese Clone Factory lets you create 3D doll versions of yourself

[From TAXI, where the post includes many more images; for even more information and images, see Danny Choo.

Are these in Mori’s ‘uncanny valley’? Would viewing a doll of yourself evoke self-presence?]

Clone Factory doll

Japanese Cloning Factory Lets You Create 3D Doll Versions Of Yourself

By Anthea Quay, 13 Jun 2013

In Akhibara, Japan, a company called “Clone Factory” lets you create 3D-printed doll versions of yourself—and even your pets.

To create these mini 3D replicas, Clone Factory uses multiple DSLR cameras to take photos of a person’s or an animal’s face from different angles, computers to stitch the pictures and data together, and a special printer that uses plaster and ink to mold the 3D sculptures. Read more on Japanese Clone Factory lets you create 3D doll versions of yourself…

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Call: NextMed/MMVR21 – Medicine Meets Virtual Reality

Medicine Meets Virtual Reality
February 20 – 22, 2014
Manhattan Beach Marriott
Manhattan Beach, California

Important Dates

August 1, 2013:  Submission Deadline
September 2013:  Registration Opens
October 2013:  Initial Program

Call for Presentations

The 2014 Call for Presentations is now open! The Organizing Committee welcomes innovative research in:

  • Medical simulation and modeling
  • Data visualization and fusion
  • Imaging devices and methods
  • Robotics
  • Haptics
  • Sensors
  • Wearable and implantable electronics
  • Human-computer interfaces
  • Medical intelligence networks
  • Mobile health applications
  • Virtual and augmented reality
  • Projection systems
  • Learning and technology
  • Simulator design and validation
  • Preoperative planning
  • Surgical registration and navigation
  • Psychotherapy tools
  • Physical rehabilitation tools
  • Remote and battlefield care
  • Serious games
  • Patient and public health monitoring and education

Participation options include lectures, posters, panels, workshops, focus sessions, and tutorials. Exhibits are also invited. Read more on Call: NextMed/MMVR21 – Medicine Meets Virtual Reality…

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Telemedicine for physical therapy: The Avatar will see you now

[From MIT’s Technology Review]

The Avatar Will See You Now

Medical centers are testing new, friendly ways to reduce the need for office visits by extending their reach into patients’ homes.

By Jessica Leber on June 10, 2013

Most patients who enter the gym of the San Mateo Medical Center in California are there to work with physical therapists. But a few who had knee replacements are being coached by a digital avatar instead.

The avatar, Molly, interviews them in Spanish or English about the levels of pain they feel as a video guides them through exercises, while the 3-D cameras of a Kinect device measure their movements. Because it’s a pilot project, Paul Carlisle, the director of rehabilitation services, looks on. But the ultimate goal is for the routine to be done from a patient’s home. Read more on Telemedicine for physical therapy: The Avatar will see you now…

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Call: Fourth International Joint Conference on Ambient Intelligence (AmI 2013)

Call for Papers

Fourth International Joint Conference on Ambient Intelligence
AmI 2013

Dublin, Ireland
December 3rd-5th 2013

Deadline extended: June, 24th (Final)

The AmI-13 conference brings together researchers and practitioners from industry and academia working in the field of technologies and applications of Ambient Intelligence. Ambient Intelligence represents a vision of the future where we shall be surrounded by invisible technological means, sensitive and responsive to people and their behaviors, deliver advanced functions, services and experiences. Ambient intelligence combines concepts of ubiquitous technology, intelligent systems and advanced user interfaces putting the humans in the center of technological developments. Read more on Call: Fourth International Joint Conference on Ambient Intelligence (AmI 2013)…

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One-year mock Mars mission to be most stringent yet

[From, where the story includes a photo gallery]

FMARS simulation (imagined)

Mock Mars Mission Will Test Stresses of Red Planet Living

by Clara Moskowitz, Assistant Managing Editor
Date: 03 June 2013

The question of how people can live and work together well on a mission to Mars may turn out to be one of the biggest challenges of deep-space exploration. To simulate the experience of a crew stuck inside cramped quarters under stressful conditions, a nonprofit is planning a one-year mock Mars mission in the Arctic.

The mission, to begin in July 2014, is being planned by the Mars Society, an organization dedicated to manned exploration of the Red Planet. Six crew members will spend a full year living inside the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS), a 25-foot-tall (7.6 meters), 27-foot-wide (8.3 m) cylindrical habitat on Devon Island in the high-latitude Canadian Arctic.

The crew will spend their time conducting field geology — in space suits, of course — and other science research, and performing maintenance on their equipment and habitat. The experience is meant to simulate a real Mars expedition more closely than past mock missions, which have been set under more comfortable conditions, and without such stringent research duties, Mars Society officials said. Read more on One-year mock Mars mission to be most stringent yet…

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