ISPR Presence News

Author Archives: Matthew Lombard

Retailers use virtual technology to vie for sales

[From USA Today, where the story includes two other images and a 3:00 minute video report; more information about Santa HQ is available in a press release via Business Wire]

Santa HQ

[Image: From Let’s Play OC, where the post includes more information about Santa HQ in Orange County, California]

Retailers use virtual technology to vie for sales

Hadley Malcolm, USA TODAY
November 24, 2014

A journey to the North Pole now includes selfies, ‘elf-ray’ vision and a passport. In a bid for more customers and ultimately more sales, shopping malls and retailers are making holiday shopping an interactive and virtual experience, including the trip to see Santa.

At least three companies have built virtual experiences for malls for the holidays, including DreamWorks, featuring Disney characters Shrek and Donkey taking kids to the North Pole in eight malls and another at 10 Taubman malls around the Disney hit Frozen. Mall operator Macerich has a virtual Santa HQ in conjunction with HGTV in 10 locations. Read more on Retailers use virtual technology to vie for sales…

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Call: British HCI 2015

Call for Papers

British HCI 2015
13th-17th July 2015
Lincoln, UK

The 29th British Human Computer Interaction Conference ( will be held in Lincoln (UK) from 13th-17th July 2015. The conference is organised by the University of Lincoln’s Social Computing (LiSC) research centre in conjunction with the BCS Interaction Specialist Group.

The theme for HCI 2015 is digital society, and the role interactive technology plays in mediating our civic lives. This is inspired by the 800th anniversary, in 2015, of the sealing of the Magna Carta, an event viewed as an international cornerstone of liberty and that one that challenged society’s relationship with authority. Lincoln is home to one of only four surviving copies of the Magna Carta and will take a major role in the 800th anniversary celebrations coinciding with our hosting of HCI 2015. The theme reflects the increasing public consciousness of how interactive technologies fundamentally affect our privacy, rights, and relationships with authority, government and commerce. Whilst the conference will, of course, welcome contributions from all aspects of HCI research we will particularly encourage submissions of all types that focus on social renewal, activism, democracy, and grassroots innovation. Read more on Call: British HCI 2015…

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Bedroom-bound quadriplegic develops drone to see the world

[From The Telegraph; see also coverage of Stuart Turner’s appearance at WIRED2014 in Wired, where the story includes a 7:45 minute video, a longer article about him in Mancunian Matters, and his Robots and Cake blog]

Stuart Turner controlling drone

[Image: Stuart Turner operates the drone with a live video feed to his laptop. DAN ROWLANDS / MERCURY PRESS]

Bedroom-bound quadriplegic develops drone to see the world

Stuart Turner, who has spina bifida, uses head movements to pilot the camera-mounted flying device, thousands of miles from his Yorkshire home

By Tom Brooks-Pollock, and agencies
25 Nov 2014

A quadriplegic man who is confined to his bedroom has used his computing expertise to see the world from his bedroom, by flying a camera-mounted drone up to thousands of miles.

Stuart Turner could soon be looking round the Grand Canyon or Niagra Falls using the 2kg flying device, which he controls by moving his head his head and eyes using Google Glass computer worn on his head. Read more on Bedroom-bound quadriplegic develops drone to see the world…

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Job: Asst Prof in Music and Media at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Assistant Professor in Music and Media, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

The Department of the Arts in the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute invites applicants for a full-time, tenure-track Assistant Professor position in music and media. We seek a musician whose work demonstrates creative, critical, and technological engagement with music composition and sound design in one or more of the following areas: games; film and video; and augmented, mixed and virtual reality environments. We are particularly interested in candidates with expertise in game design and development, and who are capable of contributing to emerging research directions in computational media and social music networks.

The Department of the Arts has a 40-year history of innovation in electronic arts, offering unique undergraduate degrees, a nationally-ranked MFA degree, and a Ph.D. in Electronic Arts. Read more on Job: Asst Prof in Music and Media at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute…

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On stage with Paul McCartney in Jaunt’s VR app

[From The Verge, where the story includes a 3:31 minute video. A longer article in Billboard includes this analysis:

“The illusion of ’being there’ or ‘presence’ is often invoked by VR enthusiasts. Did I feel like I was there? Not exactly. I felt like I was in the best movie theater of my life, though. The video resolution, sound and depth of field were remarkable. It took very little effort to suspend my disbelief.” ]

Paul McCartney performs in Jaunt VR app

Watch Paul McCartney perform in virtual reality with a new Android app

By Adi Robertson
on November 20, 2014

360-degree video company Jaunt is trying to turn virtual reality into a truly viable movie platform, for anyone with an Android phone and a cheap mobile headset like Google Cardboard. Today, the company released a taste of what that might look like: an immersive version of Sir Paul McCartney performing at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park in August. The free app, which works on a range of Android phones, lets you watch a bombastic, pyrotechnical performance of “Live and Let Die” (seen [in the embedded video] in non-VR) from the front of the stage or right next to Paul’s piano. Jaunt content VP Scott Broock says the company was invited to tape the show the day after he demoed its technology to McCartney in Los Angeles. “You could see him get it instantly,” said Broock. Read more on On stage with Paul McCartney in Jaunt’s VR app…

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Job: Lecturer in HCI at University of Lincoln (UK)

Lecturer in Human Computer Interaction
University of Lincoln (UK)
School of Computer Science

We are currently looking to recruit a full-time permanent Lecturer in Human Computer Interaction (HCI). Applicants should hold a PhD (or very nearly completed it), and should be able to demonstrate an excellent existing track record in HCI, or related, research fields commensurate with experience. The post holder is expected to join the Lincoln Social Computing (LiSC) research centre, to develop their own research portfolio, to publish their work in the highest quality outlets (including CHI) and to contribute to the School’s teaching activity at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in areas aligned with HCI. The School is now the highest ranked ‘new’ (post 1992) computer science department in the country.

LiSC conduct a broad range of HCI, social computing and games-related research and we are interested in applied areas such as health and wellbeing, digital civics and activism, sustainability and the digital economy. Our work is currently funded by sources including EPSRC, ESRC, AHRC and TSB. The group will host the British HCI conference in 2015. For more information see

To apply go here:

Deadline is Monday 05 January 2015 Read more on Job: Lecturer in HCI at University of Lincoln (UK)…

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Documentary investigates “future of love and sex in the digital age”

[From VICE Media, where you can watch a 0:47 minute trailer and the 32:47 minute program. For another status report on the topic see “When Porn and Virtual Reality Collide (NSFW)” from Gizmodo.]

Read more on Documentary investigates “future of love and sex in the digital age”…

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Call: Toward a Science of Consciousness 2015


University of Helsinki, Finland, 9-13 June 2015
Pre-conference workshops: 8 June 2015

Submission deadline: 30 November 2014

Toward a Science of Consciousness (TSC) is the largest and longest-running interdisciplinary conference emphasizing broad and rigorous approaches to the study of conscious awareness. Topical areas include neuroscience, philosophy, psychology, biology, quantum physics, meditation and altered states, machine consciousness, culture and experiential phenomenology. Cutting edge, controversial issues are emphasized.

Held annually since 1994, the TSC conferences alternate yearly between Tucson, Arizona and various locations around the world. The University of Helsinki is proud to host TSC 2015 in the Great Hall of its neoclassical main building located in the downtown area.

Jean-Pierre Changeux | Patricia S. Churchland | David Chalmers | Jaakko Hintikka

Harald Atmanspacher | Susan Blackmore | Peter Bruza | Deepak Chopra | Travis Craddock | Rocco Gennaro | Philip Goff | Stuart Hameroff | Riitta Hari | John Heil | James Ladyman | Steven Jay Lynn | Ariane Lambert-Mogiliansky | George Mashour | Alyssa Ney | David Papineau | Antti Revonsuo | William Seager | Petra Stoerig | Jennifer Windt | Dan Zahavi


  1. Social Neuroscience, Body Image and Phenomenology (Hari, Stoerig, Zahavi)
  2. Dreams, Virtual Realities, and Hypnosis (Lynn, Windt, Revonsuo)
  3. Anesthesia, Physics, and Consciousness (Mashour, Hameroff, Craddock)
  4. Metaphysics of Consciousness (Heil, Ney, Papineau)
  5. Quantum Ideas in Consciousness Studies (Bruza, Atmanspacher, Lambert-Mogiliansky)
  6. Consciousness and Structuralism (Goff, Ladyman Seager)
  7. East vs. West on the Hard Problem (Blackmore, Chopra, Gennaro)

TSC 2015 calls for contributed papers, contributed posters, contributed symposia and proposals for pre-conference workshops. The list of conference topic areas is on the conference webpage: Read more on Call: Toward a Science of Consciousness 2015…

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The NASA playground that takes VR to a whole new level

[From Gizmodo, where the story includes several more images and a 3:11 minute video]

NASA's virtual ISS

The NASA Playground That Takes Virtual Reality To a Whole New Level

Brent Rose
November 18, 2014

Gizmodo’s Space Camp is all about the under-explored side of NASA. From robotics to medicine to deep-space telescopes to art. All this week we’ll be coming at you direct from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, shedding a light on this amazing world. You can follow the whole series here.

We’ve seen how NASA recreates the vacuum of space right here on Earth, but what about the gravity of space? What about the forces of inertia? When large objects move and behave so differently, how to you train for a mission so you know what to expect when you get there? Like this.

We visited the lab where NASA creates incredibly intricate virtual worlds, then blends them with real life and robots in the most advanced virtual reality we’ve ever seen. Virtual reality that puts Oculus to shame. A freakin’ robot that simulates the physics of space. And yes, a jetpack.

NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas, is home to the agency’s Virtual Reality Lab, which is arguably the most high-tech training the astronauts will receive on Earth. In it, they will encounter DOUG. DOUG is not a person; it’s an acronym for Dynamic Onboard Ubiquitous Graphics program. It’s an impeccably detailed rendering program that models everything on the space station, from the decals to the fluid lines and electrical lines.

According to James Tinch, NASA VR Lab manager, “Anything that the crew might see outside on the Space Station we model in here so that when they go outside they feel like they’ve already been there, because they’ve experienced it here in the virtual world.” Read more on The NASA playground that takes VR to a whole new level…

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Call: CEPE-IACAP 2015 – Computer Ethics: Professional Enquiries and Intl Assoc for Computing and Philosophy

Call for Papers

CEPE-IACAP 2015 Joint Conference
Computer Ethics: Professional Enquiries / International Association for Computing and Philosophy
June 22-25 2015 at the University of Delaware

Philosophical and ethical enquiries about information technologies, computing, and artificial intelligence have acquired a focal place in the academic and societal debate on the design, development and deployment of technological artefacts. As the issues to be addressed are increasingly complex and interwoven, the need to consider different stakeholders and to endorse both multi- and inter-disciplinary approaches in addressing such problems become more pressing. For this reason, in 2015 the International Society for Ethics in Technology (INSEIT) and the International Association for Computing and Philosophy (IACAP) will hold a joint meeting to offer the opportunity to members of both communities to exchange ideas and discuss issues of common interest.

The conference will be held on June 22-25 2015 at the University of Delaware and will be hosted by Professor Tom Powers, Department of Philosophy, School of Public Policy and Administration and Delaware Biotechnology Institute, and Director of the Center for Science, Ethics & Public Policy, University of Delaware.

This year’s meeting will have a single main track focusing on topics at the core of IACAP and INSEIT member’s interests. Symposia will also be organized and run by members, or member groups, to focus on more specific topics of discussion.

We invite submissions of abstract (up to 3000 words) as well as submission of proposals for symposia focusing on ethical and philosophical problems relate to information technologies and computing. A selection of the papers presented during the meeting will be published in a volume of the ‘Synthese Library’ (Springer).

The conference theme is open to the following topics: Read more on Call: CEPE-IACAP 2015 – Computer Ethics: Professional Enquiries and Intl Assoc for Computing and Philosophy…

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