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Author Archives: Matthew Lombard

Call: 18th ACM International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVA 2018)


18th ACM International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVA 2018)
November 5-8, 2018, Sydney, Australia

Sponsored By
Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and SIGAI

Full Papers Due: May 15, 2018
Workshop Proposals Due: April 20, 2018
Demos, Industry Track Submissions and Extended Abstracts Due: May 15, 2018
GALA Video Submissions: October 29, 2018

IVA 2018 is the 18th meeting of an interdisciplinary annual conference and the main leading scientific forum for presenting research on modeling, developing and evaluating Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVAs) with a focus on communicative abilities and social behavior. IVAs are interactive digital characters that exhibit human-like qualities and can communicate with humans and each other using natural human modalities like facial expressions, speech and gesture. They are capable of real-time perception, cognition, emotion and action that allow them to participate in dynamic social environments.  In addition to presentations on theoretical issues, the conference encourages the showcasing of working applications.

Special Topic

IVA 2018’s special topic is ‘Virtual Agents in Games and Simulations’, which are agents that act as non-player characters (NPCs) in video games and agents that participate in game-like simulations and serious games. With this topic in mind we are seeking closer engagement with the gaming industry and expect submissions sharing industry wisdom in relation to building non-player characters in video games. We are also interested in papers discussing practical applications of virtual agents and technical details in relation to creating those for various types of simulations that feature virtual environments and avatars. Examples of such simulations are military training environments, historical simulations, educational simulations, medical simulations, etc. Read more on Call: 18th ACM International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVA 2018)…

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Japan’s First Airlines takes passengers on simulated flight to virtual destination

[First Airlines isn’t an airline at all but a clever use of presence-evoking technologies to simulate a flight and visit to vacation destinations. This story from tnooz includes a 4:33 minute video (in Japanese); Reuters has more details and another video (in English), and the Independent’s coverage highlights the founders’ insights about VR. –Matthew]

For ‘First Airlines’ passengers, the journey is the VR destination

Marisa Garcia
February 16, 2018

This one’s a trip. Japanese airline-themed restaurant First Airlines, offers visitors a First class flying experience that includes a virtual reality immersive tour of Hawaii, New York, Paris or Rome.

To make the airline-experience complete, guests arrive to a “check-in desk” before boarding and get a paper boarding pass to commemorate the journey. “Passengers” sit in plush genuine aircraft seats in a mocked-up aircraft cabin that includes environmental elements such as engine sounds and views of the tarmac on take-off playing on large video screens and ambient light shows during the flight portion of the evening with images of starry skies projected onto the ceilings, walls and aircraft windows. “Flight attendants” even perform a safety briefing before take-off, complete with demonstration of how to buckle seat belts and don life jackets.

The “in-flight meals” are themed around the country of destination for the evening’s flight and served from airline trolleys.

First class tickets sell for under 6000 Yen (under $60) for a 110 minute journey, and there are also Business class tickets available for under 5000 Yen. The only difference between the two is where passengers sit in the mock-cabin, relative to the large video screens. Both classes enjoy the same meal service and the destination VR experience.

A sampling of the VR tours that guests experience is posted on First Airlines website and a collection of images from previous “flights” can be seen on its Instagram account. Read more on Japan’s First Airlines takes passengers on simulated flight to virtual destination…

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Call: 17th IFIP International Conference on Entertainment Computing (ICEC 2018)

Call for Papers

co-located with IFIP World Computer Congress (WCC’18)
” explore . create . reflect . develop ”

Bridging the gap between technology, HCI, business, design, and art in entertainment

Date: 18-20 September, 2018
Venue: Poznan, Poland


  • breaking NEW ACTIVITIES@ICEC: art exhibition, ICEC award, new conference areas
  • NEW AREAS@ICEC media studies, human-computer-interaction, business & information systems
  • first DEADLINES approaching: 14th March 2018 – Workshops, 7th May 2018 – Papers
  • IFIP ICEC Entertainment Award


The IFIP International Conference on Entertainment Computation is the longest lasting and prime scientific conference series in the area of Entertainment Computing. It brings together practitioners, researchers, artists, designers, and industry on the design, creation, development, use, application and evaluation of digital entertainment content and experience systems [detailed topic list is below –ML].

The conference series is cross-disciplinary, and stretches over the domains of computer science, human-computer-interaction, content production, digital games, multimedia, media studies, art, and design. The conference series aims at presenting high quality scientific results spanning from theory to application, use-cases, experience, and demonstrations. We solicit papers, posters, and demonstrations, as well as we are looking for tutorial and workshop proposal. The conference theme for 2018 is “Explore . Create . Reflect . Develop”.

All papers are published by Springer Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Best full papers are recommended to publish in a special issue of the Elsevier Entertainment Computing Journal. Read more on Call: 17th IFIP International Conference on Entertainment Computing (ICEC 2018)…

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Rosalie Yu turns her sweet tooth into a virtual reality art form

[Artist Rosalie Yu uses a variety of technologies to create presence experiences and her latest project involves different forms of virtual sweets. See the original version of this story from The Verge for many more images including an interactive 3D model, as well as a 2:52 minute 360 video (‘you’ enter a lemon tart at 2:00). Coverage in ALL3DP includes a version of the video that can be switched to full-screen, and you can see over 200 of the 3D models on the artist’s Sketchfab page. –Matthew]

Rosalie Yu Turns her Sweet Tooth into a Virtual Reality Art Form

In A Ritual of Habits, Yu documents two years’ worth of desserts

By Lizzie Plaugic and Amelia Holowaty Krales
Feb 17, 2018

It sometimes seems like technology is at odds with the art world — a tension between brain and heart. But plenty of artists, from Da Vinci to Cory Arcangel, have proved that’s not true and continue to prove it as technology evolves. In Technographica, we explore how contemporary artists are using technology in unusual and unexpected ways.

For two years, Rosalie Yu documented everything sweet that she ate. Before she consumed a berry macaroon or a crème brûlée muffin or her friend Shannon’s birthday cake, Yu took a series of iPhone photos of the dessert from all angles, which she would use to create a 3D scan and eventually turn more than 200 desserts into a 360-degree virtual reality experience. “Sometimes I’ve ended up in weird situations for the sake of capturing a dessert,” she told The Verge. “Once, I was at the movies and I had to bring an ice cream sandwich with me to the restroom so I could scan it.”

The project, titled A Ritual of Habits, is composed of two parts. First, what Yu calls “virtual theater,” which consisted of a VR experience in which the viewer is transplanted into a world of sweets, and an augmented reality experience in which the sweets [appear on the floor in front of them via a smartphone]. Second, it’s an installation of 3D-printed objects. Read more on Rosalie Yu turns her sweet tooth into a virtual reality art form…

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Call: (tele)consequences networked collaborative drawing performance installation

Call for participation

(tele)consequences, a networked collaborative drawing performance installation for the multidisciplinary drawing exhibition Marks Make Meaning at the University of Brighton, School of Art Grand Parade Gallery 9th to 29th March 2018.

(tele)consequences is a collaborative global drawing performance that can be joined from any location in the world by simply using a networked computer or smartphone and Skype app. The drawing performance for the Marks Make Meaning exhibition will involve a large wall mounted scroll of paper, two metres wide by one and a half metres high, upon which we will project the live incoming Skype video call of your real-time drawing. The gallery guests, students and staff in Brighton will then draw on the paper screen, adding their marks and contributions upon your projected drawing, ranging from pencils, charcoal and paints to collage, objects and human figures. Our camera will send this live combined image back to you via Skype as well as record the collaborative drawing, which will be projected on the screen and presented in the gallery between scheduled performances.

Friday 9th March 18:00 – 19:00 GMT during the exhibition opening
Tuesday 13th March 14:00 – 15:00 GMT before the exhibition symposium event
Thursday 15th March 16:00 – 17:00 GMT
Thursday 22nd March 16:00 – 17:00 GMT
Thursday 29th March 12:30 – 13:30 GMT before the exhibition finishes

If you would like to participate in any of the (tele)consequences performances please contact Paul Sermon by the 5th March. Read more on Call: (tele)consequences networked collaborative drawing performance installation…

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Are computer-generated influencers about to take over the beauty industry?

[The line between ‘real’ and virtual continues to blur, this time in the fashion industry; this story is from Fashionista, where it includes more images. –Matthew]

[Image: @shudu.gram/Instagram]

Are Computer-Generated Influencers About to Take Over the Beauty Industry?

Cool or creepy?

Stephanie Saltzman
Feb 10, 2018

The concept of the Instagram model is so pervasive today that just hearing the phrase evokes a hyper-specific look. Instagram models have an immediately striking appearance: mesmerizing eyes, killer cheekbones, sometimes an ambiguous ethnic makeup and, of course, perfectly plump lips. In short, they represent the perfect storm of great genetics, fillers and filters. And because so many of them are Facetuned into representations of the same social media-bait ideal, not only do they begin to resemble one another, but they also begin to seem surreal — so perfectly airbrushed that they may as well be artificial, computer-generated images or works of art.

While these typical, human influencers are busy setting an uncannily uniform, unrealistic standard of beauty that makes the rest of us feel like we’ll never measure up, a new crop of CGI influencers — models who have been created digitally for the sole purpose of amassing social followings — are arriving on the scene to do the exact same thing for the human ones. Yes, we’re now living in a world in which some of the influencers we’re seeing in our feeds are, in fact, artificial, computer-generated images or works of art. And they’re beginning to infiltrate the beauty industry.

On Friday, Fenty Beauty re-posted a photo of an Instagram model wearing its product, a typical move for the brand. The shot, shown above, featured Shudu Gram (who can be found at the handle @shudu.gram, where she has amassed 35.6K followers to date) wearing a bright-orange lipstick with matching nails. It was a breathtakingly beautiful image and a solid case for wearing Fenty makeup, for sure. And yet, it turned out, she wasn’t actually wearing any makeup at all, because model Shudu Gram does not, in fact, exist. At least not in the real, human world. Read more on Are computer-generated influencers about to take over the beauty industry?…

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VR can already help people heal – and it’s just the beginning

[This story from VentureBeat is an overview of current and future uses of virtual reality and presence (mentioned explicitly) to help people recover from and cope with physical and psychological limitations. See the original story for several more pictures and two videos. –Matthew]

[Image: The Parkinson’s virtual support group members have been meeting in the virtual world, Second Life, for seven years]

VR can already help people heal — and it’s just the beginning

Lisa Peyton, an immersive media strategist and media psychologist focusing on the business applications of new technologies.
February 10, 2018

Fran gracefully glides around the grand ballroom, sparkling pink ball gown flowing at her heals and the firm grip of her son’s arm around her waist. They are surrounded by friends and family as they elegantly move around the room in perfect harmony, looking as though they must have practiced for hours. Fran is celebrating her 90th birthday in style, and although Parkinson’s disease has limited her mobility over the last decade, today technology is enabling the joy of movement she knew when she was 20.

“Memories are real. If you’re dancing in a ballroom in a virtual world or in a ballroom in Portland, Oregon — you were dancing in a ballroom. It was an experience,” Donna Z. Davis, Ph.D, the director of the strategic communications program at the University of Oregon. She witnessed the power of virtual environments to heal and help real people like Fran. “This is not about replacing, it is about augmenting. It’s technological augmentation in a way that provides for them beyond the capabilities of the physical world. So somebody without legs or with Parkinson’s can go dance. Someone who lives in isolation can have a social life.”

Power to heal

Davis has been working in the virtual reality space for over 10 years. The last three years her focus, through the support of a National Science Foundation grant, has been studying embodiment in VR spaces and the role that the body plays in shaping the mind. Her findings along with the results of several other studies indicate that there is a link between our physical selves and our digital selves, or avatars. What we see our bodies do on screen can positively impact what our bodies can do in the real world. Davis was first introduced to this phenomenon while working with Fran and her daughter, Barbie. As Fran enjoyed navigating her virtual world with ease, she began to have the confidence to do more physically demanding tasks in the physical world.

After meeting Fran and Barbie, Davis and her colleague, Tom Boellstorff at UC Irvine, were invited to join the newly formed virtual support group for others suffering from Parkinson’s. They have been meeting virtually for over seven years and Fran has developed a following of support group participants that refers to this healing power of virtual reality as “the Fran effect.”

Although Davis primarily works with the “ability diverse” or those who are challenged in both visible and invisible ways, she believes the benefits are not limited to this population. “How many of us are trapped inside a body or a place that doesn’t allow us to really live our lives in a way that we feel capable of? These technologies may open those doors in really exciting ways.” Read more on VR can already help people heal – and it’s just the beginning…

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Call: PRESENCE 2018 submission deadline extended to March 1

By popular demand, the submission deadline for the PRESENCE 2018 conference in Prague has been extended to MARCH 1. Please consider submitting your work and joining us in Prague (or of course just joining us in Prague!).

Read more on Call: PRESENCE 2018 submission deadline extended to March 1…

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Call: Student Interaction Design Research (SIDeR) conference

Call for Papers

Student Interaction Design Research (SIDeR) conference
18-19 May 2018
Helsinki, Finland

Submission of papers, poster and demos: March 21, 2018

SIDeR is an international forum for showcasing papers, demos and posters from different disciplines related to interaction design. The conference will be held May 18-19, 2018 at Aalto University in Helsinki.

The theme of this year’s SIDeR conference is Flux. Flux describes a state of constant movement, transformation, and change. The boundaries between disciplines such as technology, engineering, biology, arts, and design are shifting and dissolving. As practitioners and researchers, we have to embrace this uncertainty and nourish the arising uncharted potentials.

As interactions permeate all facets of our lives, the agencies of the human and machine are increasingly intertwined, resulting in novel design concepts and artefacts. SIDeR 2018 provides a meeting ground for graduate students to exchange and disseminate ideas concerning the aforementioned continuous transformations in a multidisciplinary platform.


Suggested topics for papers include but are not limited to:

  • Participatory Design
  • Design Process
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Ubiquitous Computing
  • Multimodal Interaction
  • Tangible User Interfaces
  • Aesthetics of Interaction
  • Experimental Design
  • Design Methods
  • Interaction Techniques
  • Information Visualisation
  • Design Cases
  • Mobile Computing
  • Data Physicalization
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Game Design

Keynote: Robb Mitchell from the University of Southern Denmark
Keynote Presentation: Dissolving the Interpersonal: Designing Social Approachability Futures.

SUBMISSIONS: Read more on Call: Student Interaction Design Research (SIDeR) conference…

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Microsoft creates novel cane controller which lets visually impaired navigate in VR

[A clever invention called the Canetroller developed at Microsoft uses haptic and audio feedback like those provided by a real cane to create presence experiences for the visually impaired. This short story from MSPoweruser includes a 4:45 minute video; follow the link to the full paper at the end for much more information. For other technology developments for the visually impaired see Perkins eLearning. –Matthew]

Read more on Microsoft creates novel cane controller which lets visually impaired navigate in VR…

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