ISPR Presence News

Monthly Archives: April 2018

Call: The Serious Storytelling Handbook (book chapters)

Call for Book Chapters Proposals

THE SERIOUS STORYTELLING HANDBOOK

Storytelling outside the Entertainment Context to Engage, Enlighten, and Explain in Serious Games, Data Storytelling, User-Experience, AI, Health, eLearning, Science, Digital Media, and Business/Management. The handbook is transdisciplinary and should address technology, human, storytelling, and business issues in the fields of entertainment computation, human-computer-interaction, media technology and design, information systems research, multimedia, data science, digital games, eLearning, eHealth, and digital media scholars.

Editors: Artur Lugmayr, Helmut Hlavacs, and Calkin Suero Montero

The book will be the pilot book for the new Series on Emerging Media Technology and User-Experience Computation, published by Chapman&Hall/CRC Taylor & Francis Group.

UPCOMING DEADLINE:
June 30th 2018 – Expression of Interest and/or Final Chapters

CONTACT:
artur.lugmayr@artur-lugmayr.com

BOOK WEBSITE:
http://www.artur-lugmayr.com/crc-emu-series/serious-storytelling/

SUBMISSION SYSTEM:
http://www.ambientmediaassociation.org/Submissions/2017Story/

NEWSLETTER:
http://www.ambientmediaassociation.org/phplist/?p=subscribe

“Storytelling outside the context of entertainment, where the narration progresses as a sequence of patterns impressive in quality, relates to a serious context, and is a matter of thoughtful process.”
Serious storytelling – a First Definition and Review
A. Lugmayr, E. Sutinen, J. Suhonen, C. Sedano, H. Hlavacs, C. Montero
Multimedia Tools and Applications 76(14), pp. 15707-15733, 2016

In human culture, storytelling has a long tradition. The reasons why stories have been told are manifold: to entertain, to transfer knowledge between generations, to keep cultural heritage, or to warn others of dangers. With the emergence of the digitalization of media many new possibilities to tell stories emerged in serious and non-entertainment contexts.

A very simple example is the idea of serious gaming – thus digital games without primarily an entertainment purpose. Within this handbook, we generalize the approach of serious games, on other genres of digital storytelling, and call for handbook typical contributions which introduce “serious storytelling: storytelling with a purpose beyond entertainment” as new approach. We seek for handbook alike contributions, reviews of existing application areas, established theories and methods, fundamental concepts, ground breaking research results in a transdisciplinary approach. The handbook shall range across domains, and illustrate storytelling outside an entertainment context in e.g. data science, artificial intelligence, well-being and health, medicine, psychology, education, ethical problem solving, eLeadership, and business/management, robotics, storytelling in deep learning and big data, qualitative journalism, serious games, storytelling in simulations, HCI research and storytelling, VR/AR training, user-experience studies, and online communication. If you want to learn more about the idea of serious storytelling, please consult the journal article that has been introducing this new idea: Lugmayr, E. Sutinen, J. Suhonen, C. Sedano, H. Hlavacs, C. Montero, Serious storytelling – a First Definition and Review, Multimedia Tools and Applications 76(14), pp. 15707-15733, 2016.

THEMES AND TOPICS

The handbook is suited for people with interest in entertainment computation, human-computer-interaction, media technology and design, information systems research, multimedia, data science, digital games, eLearning, eHealth, new media scholars, and visualisation.

  • Storytelling in/for data science, AI, Big Data, and deep learning
  • Storytelling in HCI and User-Experience research
  • Human-Computer-Interaction supporting serious storytelling
  • Animation, graphics, 3D, VR, and AR storytelling
  • Serious storytelling in business, leadership, and law
  • Education and serious storytelling
  • Digital forensics and storytelling
  • Storytelling and social media
  • Anthropological perspectives of serious storytelling
  • Storytelling as part of the innovation process
  • Medicine, wellness, and therapy and storytelling
  • Storytelling in science, and scientific PR and publishing
  • Automated generation of stories
  • New computational paradigms (e.g. quantum computing) in storytelling
  • Narrative form, structure, and expression
  • Media technology, multimedia, and entertainment computation
  • Theories, methods, frameworks, and concepts
  • Your idea?

Read more on Call: The Serious Storytelling Handbook (book chapters)…

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TeleHuman 2: Life-size holograms set to revolutionize videoconferencing

[This news release from Queen’s University describes what could be an important advance in evoking social presence. Follow the links near the end for more information, images and a video. –Matthew]

News Release – Move over Tupac! Life-size holograms set to revolutionize videoconferencing

Professor Roel Vertegaal’s new light field displays effectively simulate teleportation

Monday, April 23, 2018

KINGSTON – A Queen’s University researcher will soon unveil TeleHuman 2 – the world’s first truly holographic videoconferencing system. TeleHuman2 allows people in different locations to appear before one another in life-size 3D – as if they were in the same room.

“People often think of holograms as the posthumous Tupac Shakur performance at Coachella 2012,” says Roel Vertegaal, Professor of Human-Computer Interaction at the Queen’s University School of Computing. “Tupac’s image, however, was not a hologram but a Pepper Ghost: A two-dimensional video projected on a flat piece of glass. With TeleHuman 2, we’re bringing actual holograms to life.”

Using a ring of intelligent projectors mounted above and around a retro-reflective, human-sized cylindrical pod, Dr. Vertegaal’s team has been able to project objects as light fields that can be walked around and viewed from all sides simultaneously by multiple users – much like Star Trek’s famed, fictional ‘holodeck’. Capturing the remote 3D image with an array of depth cameras, his team has ‘teleported’ live, 3D images of a human from one room to another – a feat that is set to revolutionize human telepresence. Because the display projects a light field with many images, one for every degree of angle, users need not wear a headset or 3D glasses to experience each other in augmented reality. Read more on TeleHuman 2: Life-size holograms set to revolutionize videoconferencing…

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Call: Somaesthetics and Technology issue of Journal of Somaesthetics

Call for Papers

Journal of Somaesthetics: Somaesthetics and Technology
https://somaesthetics.aau.dk/index.php/JOS/announcement

Submission deadline: June 30, 2018

While the digital technology spreads to almost all societal and private domains and arenas, the value of the living, sensing, feeling, acting, vibrant and intelligent body, that is, the soma itself becomes increasingly the subject of the human-computer interaction (HCI) studies.  Somaesthetics — an interdisciplinary project that works directly with soma has been informing HCI in the last decade, with its theoretical and epistemological values, and from analytical, practical, and pragmatic points of view.

The Journal of Somaesthetics now invites articles that deal with the aesthetic relationship between technology and the soma. The special issue specifically targets the applications of somaesthetic theories on the design and evaluation of technology, and their comparison to other theoretical frameworks. The journal welcomes contributions that might be considered too theoretical in human-computer interaction dissemination channels.

Sometimes the interface between the digital technology and humans is straightforward aesthetic in that technology is used to create, for example, spaces and atmospheres by means of sound and light. Other interfaces, for example, are tracking and visualizing our bodily performance and health status. This influences our values regarding health and body performance, and ultimately our aesthetic relation to our body. GPS signals are tracking our whereabouts, advising us about, local restaurant or cultural and natural attractions or the vicinity of friends in social media.

On the other hand, the fields of social robotics or mixed realty are working with behavioural interfaces that emulate dialogical and social situations. They let us act with and experience technology as the other: our alter-ego. This does not only alter our somaesthetic experience, the social machine also acquires somaesthetic characteristics.

On a higher and more abstract level, technology is used to generate big data arrays through tracking and measuring of anonymised persons and their actions and choices. Here, sensible and perceptual bodies are re-inscribed into and transcended by visualizations of data and its many inherent correlations.

In any case, digital technology and its many differentiated interfaces shape our sensory perception of our concrete life-worlds and our proprioception. Increasingly, somaesthetics play an important part for the shaping of and critical reflection on complex and effective feedback loops between technology and humans. Acknowledging this role, the journal is interested in questions such as:

  • Does our technology-saturated life-worlds foster and necessitate the reformulation of aesthetic theory and practice?
  • How does the study of somaesthetics inform the conceptualization, design and use of technology and how is the study of somaesthetics informed by concepts and uses of technology?
  • What kind of aesthetics can capture algorithmic data operations and its various feedback loops with the sensible, bodily world?
  • How does the study and practices of somaesthetics inform robotics and mixed realities?
  • How does the study of somaesthetics foster and critically reflect the ongoing integration and abolition of visible interfaces between digital technology and humans?
  • How can and should somaesthetics obtain an ethical stance towards technology and its various devices and purposes?

Read more on Call: Somaesthetics and Technology issue of Journal of Somaesthetics…

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UbiatarPlay gives users ‘Telepresence Anywhere’ via live streams they can control

[Oh the places “you” will go… This story from Cointelegraph describes a new business that allows users to pay strangers to serve as their avatar anywhere in the world; it’s reminiscent of the “human Uber” idea featured in a February 2018 post in ISPR Presence News). –Matthew]

Blockchain Project to Give Users ‘Telepresence’ Anywhere Via Live Streams They Can Control

April 24, 2018
By Connor Blenkinsop

A Blockchain-driven company plans to “give people the power to be instantly everywhere” by creating a marketplace where users can hire someone’s physical presence in order to see and hear the world as they do.

UbiatarPlay says it is bringing to life technology that has only been seen in sci-fi movies until now. Its system would see individuals, known as Avatars, be paid to live-stream their smartphone camera at a location their “Usar” chooses. A “revolutionary” Graphical User Interface would enable the customer – who could be thousands of miles away – to direct the Avatar and move them where they desire.

The company’s white paper highlights several examples of how its platform could be used. For an example, an Avatar based in Egypt could offer museum experiences – “letting people from all over the world freely explore any room, any masterpiece and any document they like.”

UbiatarPlay also claims the technology could be a game changer for people who cannot afford or do not have the time to physically be somewhere. The project says Avatars would enable a businessman to be “telepresent” at a meeting on another continent, while students could attend lectures at their universities remotely.

Avatars would be able to set their hourly rate or offer timed packages for experiences, and a scheduling system on the platform would manage their bookings. UbiatarPlay hopes the technology will reduce unemployment rates around the world, with rules enforced to ensure Avatars are not mistreated or requested to do something illegal. Read more on UbiatarPlay gives users ‘Telepresence Anywhere’ via live streams they can control…

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Call: L.A. ACM SIGGRAPH event: An Evening at the Technicolor Experience Center

AN EVENING AT THE TECHNICOLOR EXPERIENCE CENTER
Tuesday May 08, 2018
Los Angeles, CA
http://la.siggraph.org/events/title/evening-technicolor-experience-center

Tour the new Technicolor Experience Center, where artists and scientists collaborate to realize the full potential of immersive media. The TEC enables partnerships that discover how stories can be told and delivered in new and more immersive ways. 3237 South La Cienega Blvd.

DESCRIPTION:

Come explore the world of immersive experiences curated and collaborated within the Technicolor Experience Center. The TEC is where artists and scientists from across the industry come together to realize the full potential of immersive media. By uniting talent from Technicolor and its award-winning creative brands (The Mill, Mikros Image, MPC and Mr. X) with partners from fields as diverse as gaming, animation, traditional media and technology, the TEC enables the ideation, exploration and creation that pushes the boundaries of what immersive experiences can be. Read more on Call: L.A. ACM SIGGRAPH event: An Evening at the Technicolor Experience Center…

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VR trainer creates multimodal simulations of firefighting emergencies

[Another very practical application of presence is described in this story from WTTV CBS4. For more information see the FLAIM Trainer website. –Matthew]

Virtual reality training on display at downtown firefighters convention

April 25, 2018
By Zach Myers

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Firefighters attending this year’s Fire Department Instructor’s Conference in downtown Indianapolis are getting their first look at a new, virtual reality training system.

The technology, designed by “Flame Systems,” is engineered to give a realistic simulation of various fire emergencies in a virtual environment.

“We’ve just launched here at the show today, and this is the first time the North American market has seen this sort of technology,” said Flame Systems spokesperson James Mullins. “What we’re trying to do is bring all the realism of a fire fight into the virtual environment to give people that experience.”

Simulated emergencies on display included a kitchen fire, a propane tank leak and an aircraft fire.

The system consists of a set of VR goggles that provide a 360 degree view of simulated emergencies in real time. It also includes a fire jacket that can be heated to simulate heat radiating from a virtual fire. The hose held by a firefighter training on the system is attached to a reel that pulls backward when water is being sprayed. Read more on VR trainer creates multimodal simulations of firefighting emergencies…

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Call: AutomotiveUI’18: The 10th International ACM Conference on Automotive User Interfaces and Interactive Vehicular Applications

Call for Papers

AutomotiveUI’18: The 10th International ACM Conference on
Automotive User Interfaces and Interactive Vehicular Applications
Toronto, Canada, September 23-25, 2018
http://www.auto-ui.org/18
Author information: http://www.auto-ui.org/18/authors/

Sign up for our newsletter: https://www.auto-ui.org/18/newsletter-signup

The conference will be preceded by the doctoral colloquium on September 22nd.

IMPORTANT DATES:

Papers:
Submission deadline (EXTENDED): May 07, 2018
(Submissions are accepted until 11:59 p.m AoE (Anywhere on Earth))
Decision notification: June 29, 2018

Workshop proposals:
Submission deadline: June 4, 2018
Decision notification: June 22, 2018

Works in Progress, Interactive Demos, Videos and Doctoral Colloquium:
Submission deadline: July 11, 2018
Decision notification: August 3, 2018

AutomotiveUI, the International ACM Conference on Automotive User Interfaces and Interactive Vehicular Applications, is the premier forum for UI research in the automotive domain. AutomotiveUI brings together researchers and practitioners interested in both the technical and the human aspects of in-vehicle user interfaces and applications. Consistent with prior conferences, AutomotiveUI’18 will address novel in-vehicle services, models of and concepts for enhancing the driver experience, driver performance and behavior, development of (semi-) autonomous driving, and the needs of different user groups.

AutomotiveUI’18 invites you to submit original work in one or more of the following formats: papers, workshops, works in progress, interactive demos, video sessions, and doctoral colloquium. Read more on Call: AutomotiveUI’18: The 10th International ACM Conference on Automotive User Interfaces and Interactive Vehicular Applications…

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It’s Westworld. What’s wrong with cruelty to robots?

[I’ve always been intrigued by fictional portrayals of presence and what they can tell us about ourselves and the possible roles and effects of technologies (see the Telepresence in Media Environments website); this opinion column from The New York Times uses “Westworld” and its portrayal of medium-as-social-actor presence to raise important philosophical questions. See also the current series “Humans,” and for a classic portrayal see the climactic courtroom scene (via YouTube) of the 1989 “Measure of a Man” episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” –Matthew]

[Image: “Westworld” opened its second season Sunday night. Credit: John P. Johnson/HBO.]

It’s Westworld. What’s Wrong With Cruelty to Robots?

By Paul Bloom and Sam Harris

Paul Bloom is a professor of psychology at Yale and the author of “Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion.” Sam Harris is a neuroscientist, the author of “Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion,” and the host of the “Waking Up Podcast.”

April 23, 2018

Suppose we had robots perfectly identical to men, women and children and we were permitted by law to interact with them in any way we pleased. How would you treat them?

That is the premise of “Westworld,” the popular HBO series that opened its second season Sunday night. And, plot twists of Season 2 aside, it raises a fundamental ethical question we humans in the not-so-distant future are likely to face.

Based on the 1973 film, “Westworld” depicts a futuristic playground modeled after the Wild West, where the characters — bartenders, prostitutes, sheriffs, bandits — are robotic “hosts,” programmed to interact as naturally as possible with their human guests. These intelligent machines look and act exactly like people. Indeed, viewers are often confused or misled about who is a host and who is a person.

The guests can behave however they please. Some assume heroic roles, but others choose to act out their darkest impulses, participating in torture, rape and murder — including the murder of robots that are indistinguishable from human children. The hosts have been designed so that they can’t harm the guests; so these are acts of pure sadism, without risk of reprisal.

It’s hardly a spoiler to say that things go wrong for the humans in “Westworld.” But we are interested here in the show’s premise — and what our reaction as viewers to these lifelike robots suggests about human nature and the future of technology. Read more on It’s Westworld. What’s wrong with cruelty to robots?…

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Job: Internship in Augmented Reality for Environmental Applications at Luxembourg Inst of Sci and Tech (LIST)

MASTER STUDENT INTERNSHIP IN AUGMENTED REALITY FOR ENVIRONMENTAL APPLICATIONS (M/F)

Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST)
Duration: 6 months during Spring/Summer 2018
Place: Belvaux, Luxembourg

https://www.list.lu/en/jobs/interns/internship-offer/erin-2018-intern-004/

CONTEXT

The “Environmental Research and Innovation” (ERIN) department of LIST has an opening for an Intern position. The intern will be integrated in the e-Science unit, which focuses on data analytics & visualization and their applications.

DESCRIPTION

Climate change is foreseen to cause an increasing number of extreme events. In addition, the population is nowadays very sensitive to various types of pollution due to human activities. Managing environmental disasters such as flooding, biological or chemical damage is a complex task which requires a sound level of situational awareness. This internship project will focus on using augmented reality technologies to assist those managing an environmental disaster, with a particular emphasis on information visualisation in a multi-user setting.

The intern will focus on developing new augmented reality interfaces for a chosen scenario which will leverage an existing platform developed at LIST. The project will involve software and hardware engineering challenges, alongside more research oriented topics such as visualisation and situational awareness.

The e-Science unit has a number of Horizon 2020 projects with partners from across Europe working on related topics. Therefore the intern will have the opportunity to work alongside international partners from these projects.

PROFILE Read more on Job: Internship in Augmented Reality for Environmental Applications at Luxembourg Inst of Sci and Tech (LIST)…

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U.S. Army deletes bureaucracy to develop advanced training simulations

[This story from Breaking Defense outlines the U.S. Army’s current efforts to create effective presence illusions to train soldiers. Note especially the “Four Parts” section. –Matthew]

[Image: Army aviators train in a CH-47 Chinook simulator.]

War Games: Army Deletes Bureaucracy To Get Sims Fast

There is real uncertainty whether such things as robotic tanks and high-speed scout helicopters are possible on the Army’s timeline. But if there’s one area where a high-speed approach can work, it’s training simulations, where the Army can piggyback on the rapid development in commercial gaming.

By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.
April 20, 2018

FORT BELVOIR: To train its troops for future wars, the US Army wants to build the ultimate video game. To get that game ASAP, the Army is blowing up the usual bureaucracy and borrowing high-speed development techniques from private sector software companies.

The service has already held two industry days on different aspects of the technology, with a third coming up in May, and combat soldiers have already tried out some industry offerings, said Maj. Gen. Maria Gervais. She’s the head of the Army’s Synthetic Training Environment effort, which was launched just last fall.

Some software will be ready to go on the Army’s new multi-function helmet-mounted display, the ENVG-B, when it enters service in December, Gervais said. A full augmented reality training system will be ready by 2021, complete with interior maps of buildings around the world and simulated civilians going about their day.

It’s not the typical Army process, Gervais told me in an impromptu interview on the sidelines of an Army tech demonstration here. Instead, she said, her Cross Functional Team — so-called because it pulls together experts from across the Army — is working intimately with industry in a tight cycle: “let me see the products you have, let’s give you feedback, let’s continue to develop this thing, over and over.”

Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley [has] set some ambitious goals for his Big Six modernization program. There is real uncertainty whether such things as robotic tanks and high-speed scout helicopters are possible on his timeline. But if there’s one area where a high-speed approach can work, it’s training simulations, where the Army can piggyback on the rapid development in commercial gaming.

Four Parts

Just to make it more complex, there are four interdependent pieces that Gervais is developing in parallel. Read more on U.S. Army deletes bureaucracy to develop advanced training simulations…

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