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Author Archives: Matthew Lombard

Call: Joint Conference on Serious Games 2017 (JCSG 2017)

Call for Papers

Joint Conference on Serious Games 2017 (JCSG 2017)
23-24th November 2017, Valencia, Spain

Paper submission deadline: April 1st, 2017


Over the last 10 years, the use of serious games in several fields like learning, simulation, training, health, well-being, management, assessment or marketing exploded. We gained a deeper knowledge on their efficiency and effectiveness, in particular taking into consideration the needs of the digital natives’ generation, and the single or combined use of scientific and artistic fields has grown in acceptance. However, there are still several barriers in the large-scale adoption of serious games. How can these fields be combined to achieve the best possible results? How to increase the perceived quality of serious games in front of the latest emerging entertainment games? How to ensure the capacity of serious games as valuable learning and training tools?

During JCSG 2017, experts will answer these questions by presenting and discussing recent developments, focusing on merging different technologies and arts to provide cutting-edge solutions to further improve the application of serious games in multiple fields.

The upcoming JCSG 2017 will focus on the challenges and benefits of combining different new emerging technologies and methods with a special interest in mixed reality interfaces and neuroscience based tools. It offers participants a valuable platform to discuss and learn about latest developments, technologies and possibilities in the development and use of serious games. Participants can expand their knowledge in the field of serious games and experience how a fusion of several new technologies can enhance learning, assessment and clinical outcomes.

JCSG 2017 invites submissions on the following topics:


  • Game design models and principles
  • Game platforms
  • Security
  • User modelling and adaptive games
  • Game effectiveness and efficiency
  • Stealth assessment
  • Metrics
  • Cross-sensing
  • Neural mechanisms of user experience


  • VR/AR
  • Mixed reality
  • Gestural interfaces
  • Psychophysiological based interfaces and metrics
  • Neuroscience based tools
  • Neurogaming
  • AI techniques
  • Adaptive user interfaces
  • Robotic inspired interfaces


  • Marketing
  • Health
  • Well-Being
  • Management
  • Leadership
  • Innovation
  • Cultural heritage
  • Simulation
  • Training

Read more on Call: Joint Conference on Serious Games 2017 (JCSG 2017)…

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Sotheby’s reimagines Surrealism through Virtual Reality

[In an apparent first, an auction house is using VR to provide an immersive experience with virtual versions of art works before a sale. This interview from Sotheby’s, where it includes a 3:16 minute demonstration video and more images, never mentions presence explicitly but the phenomenon is obviously central to the discussion (note that the “watch video here” links may require sign in). –Matthew]

[Image: A visitor to the exhibition tries out the virtual reality headset (photo: Ian Gavan)]

Reimagining Surrealism Through Virtual Reality

By Sotheby’s | 22 Feb 2017

Visitors to the Surrealist Art Evening sale exhibition at New Bond Street, which is on view until 1 March, will be able to ‘step inside’ some of the auction highlights thanks to an innovative Virtual Reality experience. Sotheby’s teamed up with FGreat Studio to create the immersive film which features works by the likes of Dalí and Magritte. Visitors can immerse themselves in the full experience using our Occulus Rift VR headsets at the gallery and the film can also be watched in full VR via YouTube 360° using a personal headset or Google Cardboard – Watch video here. We caught up with Conrado Galves, Executive Creative Director of FGreat Studio, to find out how the video was made and to hear how this is a first for an auction house. Read more on Sotheby’s reimagines Surrealism through Virtual Reality…

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Call: Human Aspects in Adaptive and Personalized Interactive Environments (UMAP 2017 Workshop)


The 2nd International Workshop on Human Aspects in Adaptive and Personalized Interactive Environments, in conjunction with the 25th ACM Conference on User Modeling, Adaptation and Personalization (ACM UMAP 2017), Bratislava, Slovakia, 9-12 July 2017

Full details are available online:


Submission deadline: 20 April 2017
Notification: 20 May 2017
Camera-ready: 28 May 2017


State-of-the-art approaches in adaptation and personalization research consider user models that mostly maintain information regarding the “traditional” user characteristics (i.e., experience, knowledge, interests, context), and related contextual or technology aspects (i.e., displays, connectivity, processing power). While modeling these factors has shown significant improvements and benefits to the end-users in terms of usability and user experience, still the needs of today’s epoch signify the further engagement into research that will produce more holistic human-centered practices. The vision is to bring more inclusively the “human-in-the-loop”, considering intrinsic user characteristics and abilities, like perceptual, personality, visual, cognitive and emotional factors as expressed by the theories of individual differences. In addition, recent studies show the need of broadening the scope of diversity parameters to include characteristics such as motivation, self-actualization, and socio-cultural differences.

The overarching goal of HAAPIE 2017 is to bring together researchers and practitioners working in the areas of human aspects in adaptation and personalization, and aims to:

  • Explore state-of-the-art and new implicit and explicit methods and techniques of modeling a broad range of human factors of users and behaviors – both separately and in possible combinations (e.g., cognitive abilities and age; motivation and cultural differences);
  • Explore personalization techniques, computational intelligence algorithms, recommendation models, and real-time paradigms that can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of user tasks and interventions;
  • Compare challenges and experience in different real world contexts and applications (e.g., decision support, learning, wellbeing, security), where a holistic view on human aspects is needed to provide a positive user experience; and
  • Identify theoretical and computational models for the design, development and evaluation of human aspects in adaptation and personalization.

The added value will be to shape new human-centered adaptive interactive environments and personalized platforms that can contribute towards long-term viable solutions.


Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Human-centered Modeling, Adaptation Methods and Techniques
  • Influence of Human Factors on Interactive Systems for Personalization
  • Usage of Human Factors for Personalization
  • Implicit and Explicit Detection of Human Factors for Personalization
  • Human-centered Algorithms for Content Recommendation and Delivery
  • Novel Human-centered Interaction Concepts and User Interfaces
  • Individual Differences (Personality, Cognition, etc.)
  • Synergy of Affective and Human Cognitive Factors
  • Modeling Groups and Communities of Diverse Users
  • Evaluation of Human Aspects in Adaptation and Personalization
  • Personalized Access to Services Content
  • User Experience
  • Cultural and Language Diversity and Adaptation
  • Age-specific Personalization and Adaptation
  • Adaptation and Personalization for Users with Special Needs
  • User Behavior and Behavior Change
  • Context Awareness
  • Human Aspects in Personalized Internet of Things Applications
  • User-centric Cyber-Physical-Social Adaptive Systems
  • Human Aspects in Social Adaptive Robots
  • Adaptation and Personalization in Usable Privacy and Security
  • Privacy Aspects of Modeling Human Factors in Personalization Systems

Read more on Call: Human Aspects in Adaptive and Personalized Interactive Environments (UMAP 2017 Workshop)…

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Explore NASA’s TRAPPIST-1d exoplanet discovery in glorious 360-degree VR

[NASA’s release yesterday of a 360 degree VR panorama so that we can all experience what it would be like to be on a newly discovered planet demonstrates the recognition of the value of presence. The story below is from Wired UK, where it includes the 1:23 minute interactive video and two different images. More media recreations related to the discovery are available from NASA. –Matthew]

Explore Nasa’s TRAPPIST-1d exoplanet discovery in glorious 360-degree VR

The 360-degree Nasa VR panorama animates the surface of a newly detected planet, TRAPPIST-1d

By Victoria Woollaston
Thursday 23 February 2017

Last night, Nasa revealed it had spotted seven Earth-like exoplanets orbiting around the nearby TRAPPIST-1 star, 40 light years away.

The planets in the extrasolar system are all comparable to our planet in their size, mass, and densities, and at least three are in the so-called habitable zone meaning there could be water on their respective surfaces. And where there is water, there is the potential for alien life.

Individually called TRAPPIST-1b, c, d, e, f, g and h, the seven planets are named in order of their distance from the star, which has an eight per cent mass of our Sun, is just 12 per cent of its size and is 39 light years away from Earth. Google has even designed a Doodle to mark the occassion.

As part of the exoplanet discovery, the space agency released a series of gorgeous artist’s illustrations of the individual planets, as well as the system, a retro travel poster advertising TRAPPIST-1e and a 360-degree panorama which lets you virtually journey to the surface of TRAPPIST-1d – the third planet from the TRAPPIST-1 star.

The animation, which can be viewed on YouTube but is best experienced through a VR headset, is based on the latest scientific data about this planetary system. Standing on the surface, TRAPPIST-1d’s sister planets can be seen as bright points of light in the distance. Read more on Explore NASA’s TRAPPIST-1d exoplanet discovery in glorious 360-degree VR…

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Call: Playable Cities: The City As A Digital Playground (at INTETAIN 2017)

Call for Workshop Papers

2nd International Workshop
Playable Cities: The City As A Digital Playground

This workshop will be held as part of the INTETAIN 2017 conference, June 20–22, 2017, Funchal, Madeira, Portugal:

Paper Submission deadline: 1 April 2017


What is a playable city? “A Playable City is a city where people, hospitality and openness are key, enabling its residents and visitors to reconfigure and rewrite its services, places and stories.” This notion of ‘making cities playable’ was introduced some years ago in Bristol (UK). Originally it was meant to distinguish smart cities from playable cities, where smartness is identified with intelligent and efficient city management. This is contrasted with playfulness that can become part of an urban environment through the use of new and advanced information and communication technology. A playable city requires the smart technology that is integrated in a smart city environment. Sensors, actuators, displays, smart tangible objects, and wearables, can be used to improve the efficiency of city management (traffic, public transport, security, public events, et cetera), but they can also introduce playful elements. Playability requires smart technology. A city without smart technology embedded in its urban environment cannot offer its citizens playful interactions with streets, buildings, street furniture, traffic, public art and entertainment, large public displays and public events.


This workshop is meant to explore the use of sensors and actuators for entertaining interactions and activities in urban environments. We want to focus on adding playfulness to daily life activities in urban environments. We invite short contributions (4 pages maximum, reference list not included) that address:

  • Embedding playfulness in outdoor daily life activities
  • Digital art and entertainment in urban environments
  • Playful interactions with large digital displays
  • Playfulness and smart city infrastructure
  • Community building, makers’ culture, and playfulness
  • Robust sensor and actuator technology for urban environments

Read more on Call: Playable Cities: The City As A Digital Playground (at INTETAIN 2017)…

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Soar or swim by using VR underwater

[Here’s a first-person report on an interesting approach to increasing presence with VR; the story is from MIT Technology Review, where it includes an additional image. –Matthew]

Using Virtual Reality Underwater Is Weird (but Fun)

Sure, you can soar or swim in VR. Just put on a headset and jump in a pool.

by Rachel Metz
February 20, 2017

No matter how well virtual reality mimics the sights and sounds of flying, floating, or swimming, it’s impossible to feel that you’re really doing those things when your feet are planted firmly on solid ground. So Stephen Greenwood and Allan Evans are making a VR headset that you can wear underwater.

Greenwood, director of creative development at Discovery Digital Networks, and Evans, cofounder of headset maker Avegant, started working on it in December after talking about what it would be like to combine an isolation tank—where you float in a dark, silent room, alone—with virtual reality.

So far it’s just a side project (and a silly-sounding one at that), but Greenwood and Evans can envision it being developed for entertainment, scuba-diving simulations, or physical therapy. Virtual reality is still in its infancy as a consumer product, and beyond a smattering of games, films, and applications it’s still not clear how we’ll use it; they see this as one option for making VR feel much more captivating than it typically does.

“I think there’s a little more of a suspension of disbelief when you’re in a radically different environment,” Greenwood said. “When you don’t have a sense of the ground or gravity or what’s up or what’s down, it makes it that much more believable.” Read more on Soar or swim by using VR underwater…

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Call: Embodied cognition symposium at Penn State March 22

[From Penn State News]

Arts and Design Research Incubator to host embodied cognition symposium March 22

Stephanie Swindle
February 20, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Arts and Design Research Incubator (ADRI) will host a symposium titled “Embodied Cognition and Communities of Practice” from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 22, in the ADRI, located in 16 Borland Building.

Embodied cognition is an interdisciplinary research program exploring the ways brains, bodies and environment interact to shape thinking and doing. The ADRI has gathered a panel of practitioners from different areas for a robust conversation, to be led by noted neuroscientist Michael Anderson, about how embodied cognition can transform fundamental thinking and practices in different disciplines. A better understanding of the relationship between the brain, body and environment proves essential for enhancing learning, studio practice, healing and social discourse. The symposium will also address questions about the relationship between embodied cognition and technology (including iPhones, digital medical records, tele-presence, virtual reality, and the rapidly changing ways individuals interface with the world and one another). Read more on Call: Embodied cognition symposium at Penn State March 22…

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Google’s VR filmmaker on the future of the medium

[Jessica Billhart has some very interesting insights on VR and presence; this interview with her is from MIT Technology Review, where it includes several more images. –Matthew]

Imagining the Future of VR at Google

The search giant’s filmmaker on what the new medium does that film cannot.

by Jason Pontin
February 14, 2017

Jessica Brillhart is the principal filmmaker for virtual reality at Google, where she enjoys one of the most creative jobs in Silicon Valley. She makes VR experiences (including World Tour, the first film made with Google’s Jump system, a circular 16-camera rig designed to capture VR films) and conventional movies (or “flatties,” as she calls them), and she evaluates new VR technologies, such as Google’s own Cardboard, a cheap headset that works with smartphones. She spoke to MIT Technology Review’s editor in chief, Jason Pontin. Read more on Google’s VR filmmaker on the future of the medium…

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Job: Research Associate position in Multisensory Interaction and Education at Bristol University

Research Associate/Senior Research Associate position in Multisensory Interaction and Education at Bristol University

Applications are invited for a three-year Research Associate/Senior Research Associate position in the Bristol Interaction Group (BIG Lab) within the Department of Computer Science at the University of Bristol.

The role is part of the EPSRC project “Crossmodal Interactive Tools for Inclusive Learning“, which aims at investigating novel multisensory learning and teaching technologies that supports inclusive interaction between visually-impaired and sighted children in mainstream schools.

We are using an iterative user-centred approach combining participatory design activities with empirical research into multimodal and crossmodal interaction to find out how different senses can be effectively integrated with visual capabilities to support group work. We are engaged with local schools to design and research multisensory tools for teaching and learning purposes, focusing on accommodating curriculum requirements and social processes surrounding collaborative learning.

We are looking for a candidate with solid skills in software and hardware development, expertise in HCI, and an interest in multisensory interaction and accessibility. They will work with partner schools to conduct research that ranges from accessible participatory design to software and hardware development, and experimental user studies and evaluation. There will be freedom and flexibility in shaping the research project within its broader objectives. Read more on Job: Research Associate position in Multisensory Interaction and Education at Bristol University…

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Virtual reality weather add-ons let you feel the sun and wind

[Here’s a short story about a new effort to add senses to presence experiences; it’s from New Scientist, where it includes a 0:41 second video; another video (“[CHI 2017] Ambiotherm: Enhancing Presence in VR by Simulating Real-World Environmental Conditions”) is available on YouTube. –Matthew]

Virtual reality weather add-ons let you feel the sun and wind

13 February 2017
By Timothy Revell

Virtual reality devices can already fool your eyes and ears. Soon your other senses will be fooled too, with the creation of a device that can bring the weather in your virtual world to life.

Nimesha Ranasinghe at the National University of Singapore is working towards the ultimate VR experience. Last year, his team showed how electrodes can be used to add sweet tastes into virtual reality. His new accessory, called Ambiotherm, adds atmosphere into the mix as well.

Ambiotherm has two components that combine with a normal VR headset. The first is a wind module that contains two fans that clip on to the bottom of a headset.

“This means that we can simulate the wind blowing in your face, for example, as you ski down a mountain,” says Ranasinghe.

The second is a temperature module that attaches to the back of the neck. “So when walking through a virtual desert, we can simulate the harsh sun beating down on you,” he says. Read more on Virtual reality weather add-ons let you feel the sun and wind…

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