ISPR Presence News

Monthly Archives: January 2016

Call: IEEE Virtual Reality 2016 Workshop on K-12 Embodied Learning through Virtual and Augmented Reality (KELVAR)

Call For Participation: The IEEE Virtual Reality 2016 Workshop on K-12 Embodied Learning through Virtual & Augmented Reality (KELVAR)

Organized in conjunction with the IEEE Virtual Reality 2016 conference which takes place March 19th to 23rd in Greenville, USA.

Workshop Website:


K-12 education is currently undergoing a technological revolution creating opportunities for Virtual-, Augmented-, and Mixed-Reality based learning. An increasing number of classrooms are being equipped with interactive whiteboards, tablet devices, and personal student computers. This technology integration will continue to increase as mobile devices penetrate into all socioeconomic strata, and as new VR/AR/MR technologies become affordable to schools. Classroom learning of the future could be assisted by multi-projector systems, touchscreen displays, head-mounted displays, and other immersive technologies.

These technological innovations have the potential to engage students in more effective kinds of learning than compared to traditional approaches, by leveraging the affordances of VR/AR/MR media. Such affordances include the ability to engage students with interactive 3D simulations of real-life phenomena, presenting information that is spatially- and temporally- integrated with real objects, leveraging whole-body motions to depict and reinforce learning content, etc.

One particularly unique strength of these technologies is their ability to teach educational content through Embodied Learning, whereby students use their whole body to understand, experience, and interact with the learning content. Embodied learning can take many forms in which learning happens through motions of the physical body, such as: an handheld-augmented-reality experience where the student moves their body around a plant, in order to understand its internal structure and explore photosynthesis from different layers of abstraction; or, a CS programming course in which student creations are projected onto the classroom surfaces, where students program and collaborate by physically interacting with each other’s programs; or, an HMD-based virtual-reality experience where the student solves mathematical equations by using their hands to physically move numbers from one side of the equal sign to the another.

Technology developers, HCI researchers, cognitive scientists and learning sciences researchers are beginning to understand the mechanisms and benefits of embodied learning, as well as other unique affordances which make VR/AR/MR especially suited for education. But there are many questions about the integration of such experiences into the classroom, such as: What curriculum topics should (and should not) be addressed through such technologies? What psychological mechanisms underlie embodied learning and other unique affordances of VR/AR/MR technology? How can we design experiences to be usable by children of different ages? How will classroom relationships and pedagogical approaches be influenced by such technologies?

In this workshop we aim to bring together developers and researchers who are interested in creating educational experiences for the classroom of the future. The workshop will enable participants to be exposed to and discuss different approaches for integrating virtual-, augmented- and mixed-reality technologies, specifically focusing on the challenges and potential for embodied learning in the classroom.

SUBMISSION TOPICS Read more on Call: IEEE Virtual Reality 2016 Workshop on K-12 Embodied Learning through Virtual and Augmented Reality (KELVAR)…

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Artist creates eerily realistic, presence-evoking Russian dolls

[As this and other articles on the artist’s work note (without using the term), it’s hard to suppress a presence response to these realistic dolls. The story is from the Huffington Post and features more pictures; for a recent update on research on the Uncanny Valley, see coverage in Slate. –Matthew]

Michael Zajkov paints a realistic-doll head

Don’t Blink! These Russian Dolls Are So Lifelike They Could Move

Captivating videos show Michael Zajkov eerily whittling away blocks of clay into lifelike human beings.

Nina Golgowski Trends reporter, The Huffington Post

When it comes to dolls, Michael Zajkov is not playing around.

The Russian artist’s collection of handmade dolls is captivating viewers around the world with them appearing so realistic that if you blink, you may wonder if they moved.

On his Instagram page, where he has more than 70,700 followers, several videos show him delicately smoothing and painting pieces of clay into perfectly formed faces, hands and feet with chilling precision.

As he opens up one doll’s nasal passage, carefully scraping and stretching its nostril with a thin metal tool, one can’t help feel a tingle inside their own nose. Read more on Artist creates eerily realistic, presence-evoking Russian dolls…

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Call: GROUP 2016 – ACM International Conference on Supporting Group Work

Call for Submissions

GROUP 2016
ACM International Conference on Supporting Group Work
November 13-16, 2016, Sanibel Island, Florida, USA

Program co-chairs:
Myriam Lewkowicz, Troyes University of Technology, France
Michael Muller, IBM Research, USA

Conference co-chairs:
Stephan Lukosch, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands
Aleksandra Sarcevic, Drexel University, USA


For over 25 years, the ACM International Conference on Supporting Group Work is a premier venue for research on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, Human Computer Interaction, Computer Supported Collaborative Learning and Socio-Technical Studies. The conference integrates work in social science, computer science, engineering, design, values, and other diverse topics of interest and concern. Group 2016 continues the tradition of being truly international in both organizational structure as well as participants.

Key goals for the program are to encourage and facilitate researchers within CSCW and HCI to interact across disciplinary boundaries. We encourage high-level research contributions from interdisciplinary groups to present work which might be difficult to place within one simple category. We are open for a plurality of research methods, and are looking forward to the latest findings within broad areas such as systems, society, participation, critique, collaboration, and human interaction in different types of collaborative practices. GROUP 2016 in particular would like to encourage practitioners, industrial partners, academics, and other interested people to participate. Participation can take different forms; for the first time in 2016, authors of newly published papers from the Journal of CSCW ( will have the occasion to present their papers at the conference.

Submissions to the conference are welcome in the form of: Read more on Call: GROUP 2016 – ACM International Conference on Supporting Group Work…

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Werner Herzog talks virtual reality

[This discussion from The New Yorker is full of incomplete but provocative ideas about the nature of our experience of both reality and mediated/virtual reality. –Matthew]

Werner Herzog

[Image: Credit Sarah Lee / eyevine / Redux]

Werner Herzog Talks Virtual Reality

By Patrick House
January 12, 2016

“I’m a skeptic of 3-D, but when I saw the paintings I knew I had to use it,” Werner Herzog told Judith Thurman in 2010, after the New York première of his documentary “Cave of Forgotten Dreams.” The film examines some of the world’s earliest known paintings, which cover the walls of the Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave, in France. For Herzog telling a story about the Paleolithic required the technology of the Anthropocene. Recently, I spoke with him about how the rules of cinema might translate to yet another new form—virtual reality. His next film, “Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World,” which is about the Internet, will première at the Sundance Film Festival later this month, along with more than thirty V.R. shorts.

Our conversation is presented below, in slightly condensed form. Days after it took place, Herzog was still mulling the subject. “What reality is the cockroach at my feet in the kitchen experiencing?” he wrote in an e-mail. “It is not my reality, we only share the same space.” Read more on Werner Herzog talks virtual reality…

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Job: PhD position in social robotics at Uppsala University

PhD position in social robotics
Division of Visual Information and Interaction,
Department of Information Technology, Uppsala University

Topic: Social learning for personalized human-robot interactions

Application deadline: February 16, 2016

Uppsala University is an international research university focused on the development of science and education. Our most important assets are all the individuals who with their curiosity and their dedication make Uppsala University one of Sweden’s most exciting work places. Uppsala University has 45.000 students, 6,800 employees and a turnover of SEK 6,300 million.

The Division of Visual Information and Interaction ( is making a strategic initiative towards building a new research strand concerned with the study of intelligent interactive systems, with a specific focus on natural interaction with social artefacts such as embodied virtual agents and, especially, robots.

This domain concerns bringing together multidisciplinary expertise to address new challenges in the area of social robotics, including mutual human-robot co-adaptation, multimodal multiparty natural interaction with social robots, multimodal human affect and social behavior recognition, multimodal expression generation, robot learning from users, behavior personalization, effects of embodiment (physical robot versus embodied virtual agent) and other fundamental aspects of human-robot interaction (HRI).

The topic of the PhD position will be social learning for personalized human-robot interactions.

The PhD project will include the development of novel user modeling and adaptive learning methods to allow social robots to adapt in a natural, personalised way to their users, as well as the implementation of human-robot interactions studies to test the effectiveness of these methods. Read more on Job: PhD position in social robotics at Uppsala University…

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3D sound is coming to Google Cardboard to make virtual worlds more real

[Even inexpensive VR gear is becoming more realistic and likely to evoke presence; this is from Motherboard. –Matthew]

Google audio spatialization app screenshot

[Image: Screenshot from Google’s sample app for audio spatialization.]

3D Sound Is Coming to Google Cardboard to Make Virtual Worlds More Real

Michael Byrne, Editor
January 14, 2016

Google’s goofy but cool Cardboard virtual-reality platform is getting an audio upgrade. On Wednesday, Cardboard project manager Nathan Martz announced via the Google Developer’s Blog that software development kits (SDKs) for both the Java-based (Android) and Unity-based (iOS) implementations of the VR headset API would be getting support for audio spatialization. Now, Cardboard apps will be able to “produce sound the same way humans actually hear it.” Read more on 3D sound is coming to Google Cardboard to make virtual worlds more real…

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Job: PhD position in IxD, Making & Design Research at U. of Salzburg

Open PhD position: IxD, Making & Design Research

Center for Human-Computer Interaction
University of Salzburg, Austria

Deadline for application: February 1, 2016
Intended date of beginning: preferably on or before April 1, 2016
Duration: to be negotiated (min. 1 year)
Extent of employment in hours per week: 30

The Center for Human-Computer Interaction (Department of Computer Sciences, University of Salzburg, Austria), directed by Manfred Tscheligi, is inviting applications for a PhD position in Human-Computer Interaction / Interaction Design with a focus on making, prototyping and design research around embodied interaction.

As part of our interdisciplinary team, you will conduct design and research activities in national and international research projects (e.g., on tangible interfaces for work environments). Together with our team you will explore, conceptualize, design and prototype screen-based, embedded and tangible interfaces and research novel approaches to embodied interaction design. Read more on Job: PhD position in IxD, Making & Design Research at U. of Salzburg…

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Panasonic’s transparent TV disappears when you wave at it

[This Panasonic prototype seems to evoke presence in multiple ways (the headline in The Verge is “Panasonic’s transparent display is hard for your eyes to believe”); the story below is from Digital Journal, where it features a different image and the 2:05 minute video from YouTube. For a nice summary of this and a wide variety of other presence-related tech at CES 2016 see coverage in CNN Money. ––Matthew]

Panasonic transparent TV (animated gif)

[Image: Source: CNN Money]

Panasonic’s transparent TV disappears when you wave at it

By James Walker
Jan 12, 2016

As part of its demonstrations during CES 2016 last week, Panasonic unveiled a new television that goes completely transparent at the wave of a hand. The TV can effectively disappear from view, revealing whatever is positioned behind it. Read more on Panasonic’s transparent TV disappears when you wave at it…

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Call: TVX 2016 – ACM International Conference on Interactive Experiences for Television and Online Video

TVX 2016
ACM International Conference on Interactive Experiences for Television and Online Video
June 22-24, 2016
Spertus Institute
Chicago, IL, USA

TVX is the ACM International Conference on Interactive Experiences for Television and Online Video. TVX is the leading international conference for presentation and discussion of research into online video and TV interaction and user experience. The conference brings together international researchers and practitioners from a wide range of disciplines, ranging from human-computer interaction, multimedia engineering and design to media studies, media psychology and sociology. In addition to standard research paper presentations the conference includes a wide range of formats for presentation and discussion of research, including Industry Papers, Demos, Works-in-Progress, and also provides the opportunity to participate in the Doctoral Consortium, and to run and attend tutorials and workshops on specialist topics in TV and online video interaction and user experience.


ACM TVX is a multi-disciplinary conference and so we call for submissions in a broad range of topics. The goal is to foster discussions and innovative experiences via collaborations and learnings from the different areas. In particular, we encourage submissions that address the content production, implementation/deployment, design of novel interaction techniques and devices, exploration of interactive experiences for TV and online video, and reach out to business, design, and art strategies for inspiration.


  • Submission deadline: 24 January 2016 (Midnight PT)
  • Online submission: PCS submission system
  • Initial Review Notification: 4 March 2016
  • Author Rebuttal: 11 March 2016
  • Final Notification for Full Papers and Short Papers: March 22nd 2016
  • Camera-ready final deadline: May 1, 2016 (5:00pm PT)
  • Submission format: Anonymized 8-10 page Full Paper or 4-6 page Short Papers in SIGCHI Format with 150 word abstract. Authors also must specify the key area of the submission (out of the 8 areas) and keywords.

Read more on Call: TVX 2016 – ACM International Conference on Interactive Experiences for Television and Online Video…

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Fox pushes VR to the limit with 30 minutes on Mars

[Without using the term, this story from Engadget covers key current challenges and future prospects for designing effective presence illusions; for more details see coverage in The Verge. –Matthew]

The Martian VR - first person view

[Image: Source: The Verge]

Fox pushes virtual reality to the limit with 30 minutes on Mars

Being Matt Damon has never been easier.

Joseph Volpe
January 08, 2016

I wasn’t prepared for The Martian VR Experience. All I’d known before sitting down in a padded seat in a near-pitch-black booth, tucked away in the Library bar at Vegas’ Marquee nightclub, was that I’d be enveloped in virtual reality for up to 30 minutes. And I was worried about that. Bad virtual reality — VR that lasted up to two minutes — has sidelined me in the past, leaving a lingering nausea I’d prefer to never revisit. But by going all in with its first commercial experience, 20th Century Fox has made an expensive bet that pays off: It’s created comfortable long-form VR.

“We want to make the experience really compelling, but also very enjoyable,” says Ted Gagliano, 20th Century Fox’s president of postproduction and one of the company’s self-described “VR amigos.” “And that means no nausea. Unfortunately, there will be lousy VR experiences out there and they will induce nausea. And hopefully, there will be some sort of standardization that curates that out, so the great experiences that show the potential of virtual reality rise to the surface.”

Back in January 2015, when Fox was showcasing its first VR experiment at CES, The Wild Experience, a companion piece to the Reese Witherspoon film Wild, Gagliano had said the studio was focused on creating serialized VR, indicating that would be the business model going forward. With The Martian VR Experience, a spin-off of the Ridley Scott film starring Matt Damon as an astronaut stranded on the red planet, however, Fox pulled a 180.

“We ended up betting the farm on The Martian and we have no regrets,” says Gagliano of the studio’s decision to pause development on other in-process VR projects. Read more on Fox pushes VR to the limit with 30 minutes on Mars…

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