ISPR Presence News

Monthly Archives: September 2015

Call: Tenth International Conference on Design Principles & Practices

[For more on where presence is most relevant for this conference see the details at the ‘Themes’ and ‘Scope & Concerns’ links on the website. –Matthew]

TENTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON DESIGN PRINCIPLES & PRACTICES
Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
25-27 February 2016

Regular Proposal Deadline – 25 November 2015

CALL FOR PAPERS

We are inviting proposals for paper presentations, workshops/interactive sessions, virtual posters, or colloquia that address design through one of the following categories:

Theme 1: Design Education
Theme 2: Design in Society
Theme 3: Designed Objects
Theme 4: Visual Design
Theme 5: Design Management and Professional Practice
Theme 6: Architectonic, Spatial, and Environmental Design

2016 SPECIAL THEME: “Design Transforming Society” Read more on Call: Tenth International Conference on Design Principles & Practices…

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For virtual reality to be perfect, it needs to be less perfect

[This story from PCWorld (where it includes more images and a video) makes a great point about what it takes to evoke a compelling sense of presence rather than just a compelling media experience. -Matthew]

A too-perfect virtual arcade

For virtual reality to be perfect, it needs to be less perfect

Arcades that don’t feel like arcades, living rooms that don’t feel lived in—we take a look at virtual reality’s problem with perfection.

Hayden Dingman
Games reporter, PCWorld
Sep 29, 2015

I’ve been pondering suspension of disbelief lately. It’s a thing we’re all familiar with, I think. It’s the state that keeps us from standing up in the middle of a movie theater during any given action film, pointing at the screen, and yelling “What?! That doesn’t even make any damn sense!” It’s the (extremely necessary) ability that lets me look at video games and say “This looks sort of like real life, I buy it”—and the one that leaves me reeling when I go back to the same games ten years later and realize how horrendous they actually looked.

But virtual reality is proving to be the greatest challenge yet to my willful suspension of disbelief, and it always surfaces in the strangest ways. The more these digital worlds become lifelike, become real, the more I realize the true challenge isn’t in making them perfect. It’s in making them imperfect. Read more on For virtual reality to be perfect, it needs to be less perfect…

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Call: Gamespace Awareness online survey

Dear colleagues,

We are calling videogame designers and developers from both industry and academia for participation in an online research survey on Gamespace Awareness. We would appreciate your participation very much. In return you will receive the report on this interesting topic and subsequent updates.

More information can be found below and we hope you find this notice and the coming results interesting.

For your convenience, the quick link to the survey is here:
http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/2353779/Gamespace-Awareness-Evaluation

Thank you in advance for your participation.

Kind regards,
Alejandro Catala, Ph.D.
University of Castilla-La Mancha Read more on Call: Gamespace Awareness online survey…

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CableRobot Simulator is 6DoF motion platform that throws you around in mid-air

[It’s hard to imagine being able to not experience presence in this new CableRobot Simulator; the story is from Road to VR and features a 2:30 minute video; more information is in the Fraunhofer IPA press release. –Matthew]

CableRobot Simulator

‘CableRobot’: A Crazy Motion Platform for Complete VR Immersion, If it Doesn’t Kill You

By Paul James – Sep 28, 2015

Now that some of the hardware problems surrounding virtual reality, such as 1:1 head tracking and high frame-rate displays, are being resolved, the ways in which a player’s physiology can be brought in line with the mind are being looked to as the next step for complete immersion. This latest contraption aiming to do just that is called CableRobot Simulator and it’s one of the most unique motion platforms we’ve yet seen.

CableRobot Simulator is a collaboration between the research group of Heinrich Bülthoff at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics and the cable robot research group at the Fraunhofer IPA.

The CableRobot Simulator is comprised of a central ‘cockpit’ frame, complete with chair, harness, modified Oculus Rift DK2 and computer to power it. The central cockpit is attached to a series of motorised winches which are coordinated to apply or release tension to and from the cockpit in such a way as to allow elevation, descent and rotation of the platform – giving a full six degrees of freedom for movement (6DoF). The system is said to only be limited in terms of scale, by the room it occupies – although I’m fairly sure physics would step in to spoil the party at some scale. Read more on CableRobot Simulator is 6DoF motion platform that throws you around in mid-air…

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VR production takes you into virtual countryside to contemplate technology

[Natural Reality 2:1 uses VR to make us contemplate the roles of technology and nature in our lives; this story is from The Creators Project blog (where it includes more images). There’s more information about the production in a post on the Abundance Generation blog and a first-hand user report in a second post there. –Matthew]

Natural Reality 2:1 still

Escape into the Virtual Countryside

By Kevin Holmes — Sep 25 2015

Virtual reality transports Londoners from the center of the capital to the rural marshes of east England in filmmaker Dorothea Gibbs, and Third Channel productions’ Natural Reality 2:1—produced by Rupert Lloyd and shot by 3D camera specialist Kevin Zemrowsky. Users wear the Oculus Samsung Gear VR and are met with a 360° expanse of Norfolk wetlands. The natural vista is soundtracked by birdsong, cell phone song, and interviews with various people—a photographer, a filmmaker, a curator—who discuss their (sometimes detrimental) relationships with technology and social media.

It’s a meditative reflection not only on the wild beauty of the marshes and the transportive effect of nature (and VR), but also how our lives are constantly interrupted by technology. “It came from a statistic I saw that said eight hours of every day you spend connected to a device,” explains Gibbs to The Creators Project. “And I wanted to reflect that in the film, so I created a landscape that is interrupted with the same ratio as you interrupt your daily life with technology.”

So the audio, like the visuals, fluctuates every so often. The idea is they mimic not only the constant shifting of our attention when we’re online, but also the states of being connected to our devices, and disconnected and alone in nature. The visuals represent this through a shift in frame rates. There is the normal frame rate reflecting being disconnected and for this the audio is just the natural Norfolk landscape, birds, wind whistling, bees. Then the footage speeds up to timelapse, reminding us of the time lost while hooked on our devices. And the audio shifts to the interviews, mechanical sounds—like the distracting sound of phone interference that comes just before a phone rings—and the natural sounds become electronically distorted. The compounded effect is, you can never quite settle into this virtual retreat. Read more on VR production takes you into virtual countryside to contemplate technology…

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ISPR News: A milestone

IPSR Presence News WordPress screen at 2,999 posts

As managing editor I want to note a milestone: This is the 3,000th post of ISPR Presence News. Combined with the 2,719 posts in its predecessor, the Presence-L listserv, I’ve posted over 5,700 informational items related to (tele)presence since July 1999. See the FAQ for a short explanation of why I’ve done it, but I remain as intrigued with the topic as ever and see amazing things ahead for presence (though maybe not as quickly as some), and for ISPR – watch this space later this week for an announcement about our 2016 conference event and more. Thanks for being part of the ‘presence community’!

Read more on ISPR News: A milestone…

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Job: Professor in Technologies for Games at Utrecht University

Full Professor in Technologies for Games (0,8 – 1,0 FTE) at Utrecht University, The Netherlands

The Faculty of Science at Utrecht University is seeking to appoint a full professor in Technologies for Games to complement and further develop existing strength in Game Technology within the Faculty. The Department of Information and Computing Sciences has a strong national and international reputation in computer science including information science with particular strength in game technology. The new Chair will play a leading role further developing research activity in modelling, simulation and rendering/visualization and interaction from a computer science perspective building on existing strengths in game technology. This includes the acquisition of external research funds at the national and international level.  She or he actively disseminates the results of the research and its applications, both to the research community and the general public. The Chair has a leading role in teaching and supervision.  She or he contributes to the department’s curriculum development at all levels: BSc, MSc, and PhD. The professor plays an active role in the leadership and administrative duties of the Division, the Department and/or the Faculty.

Read more on Job: Professor in Technologies for Games at Utrecht University…

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CNN to live-stream Democratic presidential debates in VR

[It looks like live streaming of sports, news and other events in virtual reality is going to be a regular thing; I couldn’t find a link for the GOP debate clip mentioned in this Mashable story, but the author provides a first-person report about the sense of ‘being there’ that he got from watching it in VR. It’d be interesting to study viewer reactions to watching the upcoming Democratic debate live on TV and in VR. –Matthew]

CNN event with NextVR camera

You’ll see the Democratic presidential debates in virtual reality, thanks to CNN

Jason Abbruzzese
September 24, 2015

CNN is offering you a front-row ticket to look around the studio during its upcoming Democratic presidential debate, and you won’t even have to leave your couch.

All you need is a Samsung phone and a slightly goofy-looking virtual reality headset.

If you can bear to look like you’re living in the Matrix, CNN is going to be offering a virtual reality livestream of its upcoming debate on October 13 in Las Vegas.

It will be the first major live media event to receive the VR treatment. Read more on CNN to live-stream Democratic presidential debates in VR…

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Job: Assistant Professor in Emergent Media at Temple University

[We have an open position in my department appropriate for someone who studies presence; please feel free to contact me directly with any questions! –Matthew]

Temple University
Tenure Track Assistant Professor in Emergent Media
Department of Media Studies and Production

DESCRIPTION: The Department of Media Studies and Production at Temple University invites applications for a tenure-track assistant professor whose research and teaching focuses on emergent media, broadly defined. Research areas may include, but are not limited to, the following: big data and society, interaction design, locative media, mapping, platform studies, gaming studies, mobile media, virtual/augmented reality, and disability studies in information communication technology and human computer interaction. Theoretical and methodological approaches to research should be commensurate with applicants’ teaching and fields of expertise. Read more on Job: Assistant Professor in Emergent Media at Temple University…

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Harvard’s HBX Live! virtual classroom: All 60 students sit front and center

[This story includes detailed descriptions of the design process for a new high-end ‘virtual’ classroom and quotes from students using it that indicate it’s effective at evoking presence; the story is from Fortune and includes two more pictures. –Matthew]

Bharat Anand in HBX Live! at Harvard

[Image: Strategy professor Bharat Anand leads a session in Harvard Business School’s new virtual classroom. Photograph Courtesy Harvard Business School]

Harvard Business School really has created the classroom of the future

Whether they’re in Beijing, Warsaw, or San Francisco, every student in Harvard’s HBX Live! virtual classroom now sits front and center.

By John A. Byrne
August 25, 2015

(Poets&Quants) — The day’s Harvard Business School case study poses a simple question: Is Uber really worth $50 billion?

Bharat Anand, a Harvard strategy professor, provokes a lively discussion between the 42% of the class that believes the private car and ride share service is worth its sky high valuation and the remaining members of the class who essentially argue that the company’s market value is largely the result of over-enthusiastic investors.

“This has all the elements of a bubble,” sums up Anand. “There is competition and regulatory challenges coming down the pike, and there doesn’t seem much that is really unique here except for the network effects.”

A typical HBS class? Not exactly.

There are no students present in the classroom. The session isn’t being held in one of the buildings on the HBS campus. Instead, Anand is teaching the case in a virtual classroom housed in the facility of public broadcaster WGBH, roughly a ten-minute ride from school.

This is Harvard Business School’s classroom of the future, a high-ceilinged broadcast studio designed to reproduce the intimacy and energy of the school’s case method teaching in a digital environment. One person carries a roaming camera on her shoulder, capturing Anand in action. Another production staffer insures that the audio from the live feed of participants is as loud and clear as if each person was in the room.

Anand, meantime, faces the images of 60 students portrayed on a curved screen in front of him, a high-resolution video wall composed of more than 6.2 million pixels that mimics the amphitheater-style seating of a class HBS tiered classroom. Because each image is two feet wide and two-and-one-half feet long, there is no sky deck, or top back row in the class. Essentially everyone sits front and center, whether they reside in Beijing, Warsaw, Prague, Miami, San Francisco, or Toronto. Read more on Harvard’s HBX Live! virtual classroom: All 60 students sit front and center…

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