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Author Archives: Matthew Lombard

Job: Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in HCI at University of Bath

Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Human-Computer Interaction
University of Bath, Department of Computer Science

Salary: Starting from £38,511, rising to £45,954

Closing Date: Friday 16 October 2015

The Department of Computer Science at the University of Bath wishes to appoint an academic with an excellent track record, a strongly interdisciplinary outlook, and the clearly demonstrated potential to be an international leader in the field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI).

The Department’s research is structured in four groups: HCI, Computer Vision & Graphics, Intelligent Systems, and Mathematical Foundations. The HCI group at Bath is highly regarded internationally, very successful in research publication and grant capture, and collaborates extensively across the University and beyond. The post holder will be expected to conduct excellent research within the HCI group and to strengthen and develop the HCI group’s links to our other groups. Read more on Job: Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in HCI at University of Bath…

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MTV rolls out VMA red carpet in your house with 360-degree VR

[You can ‘be there’ on the red carpet as stars arrive for the MTV Video Music Awards this Sunday. This story is from Fast Company’s Co.Create, where it features more images and a video; the VMA website is here. –Matthew]

Miley Cyrus hosts MTV's Video Music Awards 2015

MTV Rolls Out The VMA Red Carpet In Your House With 360-Degree Virtual Reality

The star-studded pre-show may never be the same.

By Lydia Dishman
August 27, 2015

For some music fans, seeing a red carpet parade of celebrities and artists is almost as important as the awards show their favorites are there to attend.

MTV’s long been offering dedicated viewers a pre-show lead-in to its Video Music Awards (VMAs), replete with up-close coverage of fashion hits and misses designed to be memorable (hello, Dennis Rodman in a sparkly crop top in 1995, and Gaga decked out in sirloin strips in 2010).

But what’s it like to actually be on the carpet surrounded by thousands of screaming fans? That’s an experience that Colin Helms, MTV’s senior vice president of Connected Content says the network wanted to bring to viewers for this year’s award show. The challenge, he tells Co.Create, was how to make it immersive as well as unique. The solution: virtual reality. Read more on MTV rolls out VMA red carpet in your house with 360-degree VR…

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Call: Ageing Playfully: Advancing Research on Games for Older Adults Beyond Accessibility and Health Benefits (at CHI PLAY 2015)

Call for workshop submissions
Ageing Playfully: Advancing Research on Games for Older Adults Beyond Accessibility and Health Benefits
Half-day Workshop at CHI PLAY 2015

Submission deadline August 31st 2015

Workshop to be held October 4th 2015 in London, UK

This workshop aims to shift perspectives on games for older adults beyond benefits they provide, exploring challenges and opportunities in the design and development of games for older adults that primarily focus on entertainment to provide empowering and engaging experiences.

Submissions are available in two categories. We would like to invite participants with a background in human-computer interaction, game design, and/or games research, who are encouraged to submit two-page position papers in SIGCHI Extended Abstracts format addressing at least one of the following questions:

  • What picture of older adults is currently propagated in games research, what are the challenges, and what are the opportunities? How can we create realistic profiles of older adult players?
  • What can we learn from previous game design projects addressing older adults, what were the strengths and weaknesses in their design?
  • How can we create games that encourage older players to take ownership of their gaming experience, empowering them to actively shape the way they interact with games rather than taking the role of passive consumers?
  • How can we balance design efforts that aim to deliver benefits of games with a purpose beyond entertainment to older adults, and consolidate this approach with the idea of playing games purely for entertainment?
  • And finally, how should the field prepare itself for the upcoming generations of older adults, which include many individuals who had access to games in their formative years?

Furthermore, we encourage researchers and practitioners with a background in ageing to submit a maximum of five presentation slides outlining challenges that need to be met by the games research community for games to become a meaningful part of older adults’ daily lives. Read more on Call: Ageing Playfully: Advancing Research on Games for Older Adults Beyond Accessibility and Health Benefits (at CHI PLAY 2015)…

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Modern Sensorama: Combining VR with elements of the physical world

[This story about an interesting approach to mixed reality being taken by a startup company doesn’t mention the key concept but the main page of Wild’s website prominently features the heading “Experience Presence”; the story is from MIT Technology Review. –Matthew]

Wild's mixed reality

[Image: Startup Wild combines virtual reality with real objects. This composite shot shows the view from inside a Gear VR headset and in the real world.]

When Virtual Reality Collides with Reality, It’s Surreal

A Portland startup called Wild is combining virtual reality with elements of the physical world.

By Rachel Metz on August 26, 2015

In 1962, cinematographer Morton Heilig patented his Sensorama Stimulator—a bulky virtual-reality machine that showed 3-D films on a personal display while pumping in smells, sounds, and the sensation of wind.

Heilig was never able to popularize the sensory-immersive Sensorama; it remains a curious footnote in the history of virtual reality. But a small startup based in a Portland, Oregon, garage could have better luck.

Since March, Wild has been building an experience that combines virtual reality with elements of real life. Visitors wear a virtual-reality headset and headphones, so they’re surrounded by 3-D virtual images and accompanying sound effects and music. But the 3-D scenes include instructions to do things like reach out to turn a doorknob and open a door, and when you do, you find it’s not just a digital rendering of a door but a real door and doorknob that you must open and walk through to navigate from one virtual room to another.

“We like the idea of combining the physical space with virtual reality because it grounds the user in the experience more than just floating through the ether,” explains Wild founder Gabe Paez.

Wild hopes companies will want it to build these kinds of mixed-reality experiences for trade shows or events, and can imagine it working as a sort of theme-park ride, too. Read more on Modern Sensorama: Combining VR with elements of the physical world…

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Call: HRI 2016 -11th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction

Call For Papers
11th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI 2016)

Conference: March 7-10, 2016, Christchurch, New Zealand
Submission Deadline: October 2, 2015.

The 11th Annual ACM/IEEE HRI Conference theme is “Natural Interaction.” The conference seeks contributions from a broad set of perspectives, including technical, design, methodological, behavioral, and theoretical, that advance fundamental and applied knowledge and methods in human-robot interaction. Full papers and Tutorial/Workshop abstracts will be archived in the ACM Digital Library and IEEE Xplore Digital Library. Full details of the submission types is provided on


Full papers are eight camera-ready pages, including figures. Accepted full papers will be published in the conference proceedings and be presented in an oral session.

To facilitate quality interdisciplinary reviewing, authors will be required to select a theme for their full paper submission. These themes represent different types of contributions to human-robot interaction and thus involve different criteria for evaluating what constitutes a significant contribution to the field. For a full description of themes and examples of prior contributions see

Studies of Human-Robot Interaction theme includes naturalistic and experimental studies of how humans and robots interact in real-world settings or in experimental scenarios to establish new understanding, principles, and design recommendations for human-robot interaction.

Theme Chairs: Takayuki Kanda (ATR, Japan), Tony Belpaeme (Plymouth Univ., UK)

Technical Advances in Human-Robot Interaction include contributions that describe new robot systems, algorithms, and computational methods that enable robots to better understand, interact with, and collaborate with their users.

Theme Chair: Siddhartha Srinivasa (Carnegie Mellon Univ., USA)

Human-Robot Interaction Design involves research related to robot design from a broad spectrum of design practices, including form, interaction, and service design.

Theme Chair: Guy Hoffman (IDC Herzliya, Israel)

Theory and Methods in Human-Robot Interaction theme includes contributions that provide novel ways of understanding and studying human interactions, needs, and environments that will inform the development of robot technologies, systems, and applications.

Theme Chair: Kerstin Fischer (Univ. of S. Denmark, Denmark)

Authors are encouraged to review the extended call for papers on the conference website ( for more information regarding the themes, including theme specific program-committee, examples of past publications, and evaluation criteria. Read more on Call: HRI 2016 -11th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction…

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Closer to the Holodeck: Unreal Engine brings realism to VR room

[Photorealism certainly isn’t essential to evoke presence, but there’s a new space to study how much and when it might help. This is a press release from the University of Michigan’s UM3D Lab; follow the link for more images and a 2:09 minute video. –Matthew]

Person in UM3D Lab experiencing VR

Unreal Engine in Stereoscopic Virtual Reality

August 24, 2015

Up until now, the Oculus Rift has been the go-to system for gamers seeking the ultimate immersive experience, offering immersive stereo compatibility with game engines like Unreal and Unity 3D. Recently, the UM3D Lab was able to push this experience even further, with Graphics Programmer Sean Petty adapting the Unreal Engine to work within the 3D Lab’s M.I.D.E.N – a fully immersive, stereoscopic 3D virtual reality experience. Read more on Closer to the Holodeck: Unreal Engine brings realism to VR room…

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Call: Game Studies, Culture, Play, and Practice Area at Southwest Popular/American Culture Association (SWPACA) 2016 Conference

Call for Papers: Game Studies, Culture, Play, and Practice Area
37th Annual Southwest Popular / American Culture Association (SWPACA) Conference
February 10-13, 2016
Hyatt Regency Hotel and Conference Center
Albuquerque, NM

Submission deadline: November 1, 2015

The Game Studies, Culture, Play, and Practice Area welcomes papers, panels, and other proposals on games (digital and otherwise) and their study and development. The Area is also offering a three hour workshop titled “Making the Makerspace: A Look Into the Creation of the iSpace” on the first day of the conference.


Possible topics include (but are in no way limited to):

  • Advertising (both in-game and out)
  • Alternative reality games
  • Archiving and artifactual preservation
  • Competitive/clan gaming
  • Design and development
  • Economic and industrial histories and studies
  • Educational games and their pedagogies
  • Foreign language games and culture
  • Game art/game-based art (including game sound)
  • Game streaming
  • Haptics and interface studies
  • Histories of games
  • Localization
  • Machinima
  • MOGs, MMOGs, and other forms of online/networked gaming
  • Performance
  • Pornographic games
  • Religion and games
  • Representations of race and gender
  • Representations of space and place
  • The rhetoric of games and game systems
  • Serious games
  • Strategy games
  • Table-top games and gaming
  • Technological, aesthetic, economic, and ideological convergence
  • Theories of play
  • Wireless and mobile gaming

For paper proposals: Please submit a 250 word abstract and brief biographical sketch to the conference event management site: Make sure to select the Game Studies, Culture, Play, and Practice topic area. The submission deadline is 11/1/2015. Read more on Call: Game Studies, Culture, Play, and Practice Area at Southwest Popular/American Culture Association (SWPACA) 2016 Conference…

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Robot swans patrol Singapore’s reservoirs, hunting pollution

[Another unusual example of presence, even if the term isn’t used: How many people who see these swans will perceive them accurately as technology? This story is from Fast Company, where it includes a photo gallery; more information, images and a 2:19 minute video are available from Channel News Asia’s coverage. –Matthew]

Robot swans patrol Singapore's reservoirs

Robot Swans Patrol Singapore’s Reservoirs, Hunting Pollution

If you’re going to fill your water with robot sensors, why not make them fit in?

Charlie Sorrel
July 17, 2015

The NUSwan might sound like a bio-engineered creature from Blade Runner, but it has more in common with the Roomba that sweeps your home. The robot swans have been deployed by the National University of Singapore to swim around water reservoirs and keep an eye on water quality.

Right now, monitoring Singapore’s reservoirs is done by humans in boats, which is impractical, slow and not very scaleable. The NUSwan can swim tirelessly, continually testing pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity (cloudiness) and chlorophyll. The results are transmitted wirelessly back to researchers, the GPS-equipped swans sweep the lake without duplicating any already-tested spots, and they automatically return to base for recharging when batteries run low.

The whole thing is a bit Las Vegas-y, where artifice is regularly swapped in for the real thing, but if you’re going to build a water-roving robot, why not build it into a swan? Read more on Robot swans patrol Singapore’s reservoirs, hunting pollution…

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Call: NetGames 2015 – 14th International Workshop on Network and Systems Support for Games

NetGames 2015 Call for Papers

The 14th International Workshop on Network and Systems Support for Games
December 3-4, 2015, Zagreb, Croatia

In co-operation with ACM SIGCOMM and ACM SIGMM
Technically co-sponsored by IEEE Communications Society


Long/Short paper deadline: September 6, 2015, 23:59 CET (EXTENDED DEADLINE)
Demo submission deadline: September 18, 2015
Notification of decisions: October 12, 2015
Registration/ Final Paper Due: October 26, 2015


The 14th International Workshop on Network and Systems Support for Games (NetGames 2015) will be held at the University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia on December 3-4, 2015. NetGames brings together researchers and practitioners from academia and industry across the globe to present their latest research on the challenges of today’s networked games, and to further understand the requirements and explore the possibilities of future generations of networked games. NetGames will also have a keynote and panel discussions with participants (or invited talks) from both academia and industry. Submissions are solicited on all aspects of networked games, including (but not limited to): Read more on Call: NetGames 2015 – 14th International Workshop on Network and Systems Support for Games…

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“You Vs. Sharapova”: VR to let fans play tennis with Maria Sharapova at 2015 US Open

[It’s one thing to watch the top athletes at work but this new VR application is designed to give fans a sense of what it’s like to play against them; the story is from Forbes and includes the three videos mentioned along with more images. The press release is available from Business Wire. –Matthew]

Maria Sharapova on VR set

[Image: Tennis Professional Maria Sharapova On-Set at the American Express “You Vs. Sharapova” and “Vs. on the River” Virtual Reality Shoot in Los Angeles, CA.]

Amazing Technology Allows Fans To Play Tennis With Maria Sharapova At 2015 US Open

Gabe Zaldivar, Contributor
Aug 18, 2015

The future is here, and it features the ability to return a serve from a virtual version of Maria Sharapova at the 2015 U.S. Open.

An opportunity normally afforded tennis stars at the top of their game comes to myriad fans thanks to budding virtual reality technology, which inches ever closer to something akin to “Star Trek’s” holodeck.

Rather than asking the computer to load a program, however, you will slap on an HTC Vive set and attempt to return a 100 mile-per-hour serve. Read more on “You Vs. Sharapova”: VR to let fans play tennis with Maria Sharapova at 2015 US Open…

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