ISPR Presence News

Monthly Archives: August 2018

Call: Transhumanism – Special issue of the Journal Scientia et Fides

CALL FOR PAPERS

The Journal Scientia et Fides (ISSN: 2300-7648; E-ISSN: 2353-5636)
Special Issue on Transhumanism, edited by Leandro M. Gaitán (Universidad de Navarra)

Submission deadline: March 1, 2019

During the last two decades, the transhumanist metanarrative has been generating a lot of controversy, both in academic circles and in public opinion. Its proposal of a radical transformation and even of overcoming the human condition by technological means, entails a diversity of both theoretical and practical problems. From the theoretical perspective, some problems are the potential advantages and risks of transhumanism, personal identity, new alterities (robots, cyborgs, etc.), equality and social justice in a posthuman future, human/posthuman evolution, nature and nurture in transhumanism, history of transhumanism, literature and transhumanism, death and immortality, religion and transhumanism, and the meaning of life in a posthuman world. From the practical perspective, some problems are hybridization human-machine, ethics of physical, cognitive, and moral enhancement, defense/security, AI and enhancement, sports and enhancement, and cryonics and mind uploading. The great interest aroused by transhumanism can be observed in the growing number of publications, conferences and workshops that have been dedicated to it. Following this line, Scientia et Fides welcomes submissions of articles concerning (but not limited to) the abovementioned topics.

Read more on Call: Transhumanism – Special issue of the Journal Scientia et Fides…

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First-person report: Why VR is a game-changer for my meditation practice

[In this story from Brit + Co the author reports on her experience using an Oculus Go meditation program; as you’d expect, spatial presence and presence as transportation and immersion play important roles. –Matthew]

Why Virtual Reality Is a Game-Changer for My Meditation Practice

Sarah Garone
Aug 15, 2018

Virtual reality is cropping up everywhere, so it only makes sense that this immersive technology would eventually make a foray into meditation. But what’s it like to meditate with more than just your own consciousness to help you along? Is VR-assisted meditation distracting? Strange? Peaceful? When the folks at Oculus Go offered to let me try out the Guided Meditation app on their VR headset, I had the chance to find out.

Upon first learning about this app, I was a bit skeptical about how I would like it. In my previous experiences with virtual reality, I’ve basically been the person you see in embarrassing YouTube videos groping the air in front of them blindly and screaming in terror on imaginary roller coasters. Plus, I’m more than a little bit claustrophobic, so I harbored some concerns that I might want to rip the device off my head before I even got started.

But I did it anyway, fueled by the belief that new experiences are good for me. Perhaps this app could serve as an interesting avenue for stress relief, I thought, or a helpful tool for overcoming some of the challenges I face in meditation. Here’s what happened… Read more on First-person report: Why VR is a game-changer for my meditation practice…

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Call: Pedagogy in Virtual Worlds – Ten Year Perspective issue of Journal of Virtual Worlds Research

Call for Proposals
Special issue of Journal of Virtual Worlds Research
https://www.jvwresearch.org/index.php/component/content/article/10-cfps/92-cfp-pedagogy

Abstract submission deadline: August 20, with publication Q4-2018

Pedagogy in Virtual Worlds – Ten Year Perspective will be a special issue on pedagogy and learning in immersive environments to be led by guest editor Dr. Kenneth Y T Lim, from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

MOTIVATION AND SCOPE

2019 marks the tenth anniversary of a landmark issue of the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, which was themed on ‘Pedagogy.’ Volume 2 Number 1 of the journal was the fruition of a vision of the late Leslie Jarmon. Dr. Jarmon was a pioneer academic in the use of virtual worlds and immersive environments for learning, and the issue at the time (2009) – was the cutting edge of academic thought on what the affordances of virtual worlds are, and how they could be leveraged for learning.

Much has changed since the heady days of the late 2000s, yet many aspects have proved enduring.

This issue aims to document both the present and emerging state-of-the-art, covering the adoption, design, enaction, scaling and translation of immersive and/or mixed-reality environments for learning, and in other contexts of education.

Topics that would be of relevance to this issue include, but are not limited to:

  • The use of virtual worlds and / or immersive environments for learning
  • Mixed-modality / mixed-reality learning environments
  • Augmented reality in contexts of education
  • Virtual reality in contexts of training and / or instruction
  • Emerging research / late-breaking research on such environments with respect to learning
  • Think-pieces on the future of virtual worlds / mixed-reality environments for learning
  • The scaling of such interventions and their translation in to different contexts of learning

SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS Read more on Call: Pedagogy in Virtual Worlds – Ten Year Perspective issue of Journal of Virtual Worlds Research…

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VR and presence help caregivers, family members understand what it’s like to have Alzheimer’s

[In a very positive application of presence, virtual reality is being used to provide caregivers and family members a first-person experience of what it’s like to have Alzheimer’s disease, as reported in this story from the Chicago Tribune. See also the 2013 ISPR Presence News post “Virtual dementia experience for aged care workers.” –Matthew]

[Image: Ann Brennan, director of volunteer services for Chicago Methodist Senior Services, puts a virtual reality headset on Amber Davis at Hartwell Place in Andersonville, as she prepares to go through a lab designed to help caregivers understand how it feels to live with dementia. Credit: Kristan Lieb / For the Chicago Tribune.]

What does it feel like to have Alzheimer’s? Virtual reality programs may help you find out

Lisa Schencker, Chicago Tribune
August 14, 2018

After experiencing the world as a woman with Alzheimer’s disease, Ana Lebron took off her virtual reality headset and began to cry.

She couldn’t pinpoint which part of the experience left her in tears. After all, she works with Alzheimer’s patients every day as an activities coordinator at assisted living facility Hartwell Place in Andersonville.

But when she put on that headset and tried to navigate a virtual grocery store, the lights were overpowering, and the food labels were fuzzy. When people spoke to her, their words were distorted. Her virtual family members shot her frustrated glances before they understood why she kept forgetting holidays, faces and how to cook.

“This brings it home even more,” Lebron, said of the experience.

With 5.7 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s, care facilities and schools are continuously searching for ways to better train caregivers. In recent years, some schools and facilities have turned to a new approach: virtual reality. By putting on a headset, caregivers and others can experience life through the eyes and ears of an individual with Alzheimer’s, even hearing that person’s thoughts. Read more on VR and presence help caregivers, family members understand what it’s like to have Alzheimer’s…

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Call: AISB 2019: Artificial Intelligence, Imagination and Invention

Call for Symposia, Workshops and Tutorials

Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and Simulation for Behaviour
AISB 2019: Artificial Intelligence, Imagination and Invention – A[I]3
April 16th to April 18th 2019
Falmouth, Cornwall, UK
http://aisb2019.falmouthgamesacademy.com/

Deadline: 1st of October 2018

Contact: aisb2019@easychair.org

Dear Colleagues,

We are hosting the AISB annual convention in Falmouth, UK and are looking for people/groups interested in organising symposia, workshops or tutorials as part of one of the oldest running AI conventions.

The Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and Simulation for Behaviour (AISB) is soliciting proposals for symposia, workshops and tutorials to be held at the AISB 2019 convention.

The longest running convention on Artificial Intelligence, AISB 2019 will be held at the Falmouth University, chaired by Tanya Krzywinska, Rob Saunders, Swen Gaudl and Edward Powley. As in the past years, AISB 2019 will provide a unique forum for presenting cutting-edge research and burning issues around all areas of AI. The theme for this year is “Artificial Intelligence, Imagination and Invention”. Read more on Call: AISB 2019: Artificial Intelligence, Imagination and Invention…

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VR takes University of Auckland property students new places

[This story from the University of Auckland describes a variety of innovative uses of virtual reality and presence in teaching students about property and construction. –Matthew]

VR takes property students new places

13 August 2018

Virtual reality (VR) field trips are now being used to teach students about construction and leaky homes at the University of Auckland Business School, as the technology revolutionizes imaging in the property industry.

From this month, Bachelor of Property students in the stage one course “Introduction to Property” are being given Google Cardboard headsets – a low-cost virtual reality headset that resembles a cardboard Viewfinder from the 1980s, with a place to insert a smartphone. When photos and videos are captured on a special 360 degree camera and played on a smartphone, they appear in 3D, creating an immersive experience.

As part of their coursework, students will take a virtual tour of the construction site at Parnell Terraces, a former leaky building in Auckland which is being remediated. Through VR, students will also explore the hidden working organs of the home of the Business School, the Sir Owen G Glenn Building, including the heating and cooling equipment on the roof and plant rooms in the basement.

Senior Lecturer Dr Michael Rehm, who drove the VR initiative, says: “VR will enable students to virtually experience field trips to active construction sites and other high-risk, complex environments that would be impractical to visit in-person. VR is the next best thing to being there. And they can do it from wherever – their home, a café.” Read more on VR takes University of Auckland property students new places…

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Call: Press Start special issue on Walking Simulators

Call for Papers
Press Start special issue on Walking Simulators

Abstract/bio submission deadline: 17th September 2018

Press Start is pleased to announce an upcoming special issue of the journal (with guest editors Esther Wright and Emily Marlow), for which we invite submissions relating to the theme of ‘Walking Simulators’.

Approaches are welcomed from scholars and developers alike, tackling Walking Simulators from a variety of approaches. Broad themes to be addressed may include (but are by no means limited to):

  • Definitions and explorations
  • Critical reviews of individual titles
  • Storytelling in Walking Simulators
  • Queer approaches to making/studying
  • Promotion and Marketing
  • Games criticism, gate-keeping, and boundary breaking
  • Representations of space, place and/or material culture
  • Representations of history in Walking Simulators
  • Player reception
  • Practice-based approaches to game-making
  • Platforms and technology

Read more on Call: Press Start special issue on Walking Simulators…

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Blippar brings its AR navigation capabilities (and presence) indoors

[When virtual objects and characters are seamlessly overlaid on ‘reality’ a presence illusion is (or at least can be) created. This story from Next Reality describes a new indoor AR system developed by Blippa that has a variety of interesting applications; see the original version of the story, or the Blippar announcement, for more information, pictures and a 2:33 minute demonstration video. Following the story below is an excerpt of coverage by TechCrunch that suggests additional, potentially worrisome, applications of the new system including advertising and monitoring of user movements. –Matthew]

Blippar Brings Its AR Navigation Capabilities Indoors

By Tommy Palladino
August 9, 2018

Computer vision company Blippar has already dabbled with outdoor AR navigation, but now it wants to make it easier for people to make their way through indoor spaces with augmented reality.

On Thursday, the company introduced its Indoor Visual Positioning platform for AR navigation. Using visual landmarks, Indoor Visual Positioning orients users’ locations and guides them to specific destinations or draws their attention to other points of interest.

The platform works similarly to the company’s Visual Positioning System, which is used for outdoor navigation, as showcased in its AR City app.

“Since launching AR City, which is in part powered by our urban visual positioning system, we received a lot of interest in applying this technology indoors,” said Ambarish Mitra, co-founder and CEO of Blippar, in a statement. “I am very proud of what the team has achieved with our indoor visual positioning system. It is another step towards realizing the transformational potential of augmented reality and computer vision and showcases more useful ways these technologies will improve our day-to-day lives.” Read more on Blippar brings its AR navigation capabilities (and presence) indoors…

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Call: DiGRA Nordic 2018 – “Subversion, Transgression, and Controversy in Play”

Call for Papers

DiGRA Nordic 2018
“Subversion, Transgression, and Controversy in Play”
University of Bergen, Norway
November 28-30, 2018
https://digranordic2018.w.uib.no

Submission deadline: August 26, 2018

Video games have a reputation of being rebellious, often being the target of controversies and criticism for their inclusion of excessive and speculative content, as well as for the opportunities for players to engage in subversive practices. Today video games are no longer a subcultural medium, but are addressing the mainstream as well as diverse subcultures. Also, analogue genres such as board games and role-playing games are becoming more visible for a broader audience. As games mature as a medium, there is also a growing expectation that games should be able to tackle difficult content in a meaningful way, for instance by provoking the player into reflecting upon what they have just encountered, what it means and how they feel about it in the context of play. In this conference, we are focusing on subversive play practices, the engagement with controversial topics, and the debate about games and the freedom of expression.

This call has focus on subversion, transgression, and controversy in games and play but also invites submissions on a range of topics relating to research on both digital and analogue games, including, but not limited to the following:

  • Game cultures
  • Player studies
  • Minority gamers
  • Gender and gaming
  • Games and freedom of expression
  • Games and representation
  • Game content
  • Research methods
  • Game controversies
  • Subversive gameplay practices
  • Game design
  • Game journalism
  • Game production and industry studies

SUBMISSIONS AND REVIEW PROCESS: Read more on Call: DiGRA Nordic 2018 – “Subversion, Transgression, and Controversy in Play”…

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Trump and presence: Transmedia story-telling that lets supporters participate in alternative reality

[Brian Stelter, senior media correspondent and host of CNN’s weekly “Reliable Sources” program, has written what I think is an excellent analysis of how Donald Trump continues to upend politics (I would argue dangerously). Note the allusions to elements of presence phenomena in these quotes from his story below:

Read more on Trump and presence: Transmedia story-telling that lets supporters participate in alternative reality…

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