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Author Archives: Matthew Lombard

Call: EuroVR 2017

CALL FOR PAPERS

14th annual EuroVR conference
12-14 December, 2017
Laval, France
http://eurovr2017.laval-virtual.org/

Submission deadlines:
Scientific/Technical papers (long & short): September 29, 2017
Industrial abstracts, Poster & Demo (long abstract): October 13, 2017

After Bremen (2014), Lecco (2015) and Athens (2016), we are pleased to announce EuroVR 2017, the annual conference of a series started thanks to the INTUITION Network of Excellence in Virtual and Augmented Reality supported by the European Commission from 2004 to 2008, then imbedded within the Joint Virtual Reality Conferences (JVRC) from 2009 to 2013.

As in previous years, EuroVR 2017 will bring together people from industry, commerce, and research including technology developers, suppliers and all those interested in virtual reality, augmented or mixed reality (VR, AR, MR) and 3D user interfaces, to exchange knowledge and share experiences of new results and applications, enjoy live demonstrations of current and emerging technologies, and form collaborations for future work.

TYPES OF CONTRIBUTIONS

  • Scientific/Technical Track (14-20 page long papers or 8-10 page short papers, both in one column Springer format): original, unpublished papers documenting new research contributions, practice and experience, or novel applications in VR/AR/MR.
  • Industrial Track (1 page abstract): best practices, industrial use cases of VR/AR/MR, project results and demonstrations of VR/AR/MR applications in industry, and/or actual or potential transfers of academic results.
  • Poster Track (2 page abstract): recently completed work, work in progress, or publicly presentable ideas for unimplemented and/or unusual systems or applications.
  • Demonstration Track (2 pages abstract): live demonstrations of past and on-going projects. Technology developers and suppliers, exhibitors, digital artists and members of the VR/AR/MR industrial communities are all invited to exhibit and demonstrate the latest technologies and applications.

Authors of accepted scientific/technical papers and industrial track submissions will be expected to attend the conference and make a 15-25 minute oral presentation. The authors of accepted posters and demonstrations will have to make a brief oral presentation on their work in addition to the poster or demo presentations.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES Read more on Call: EuroVR 2017…

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Netflix introduces interactive programming to engage viewers

[Netflix is experimenting with interactive programming; here’s a key quote from the director of product innovation at Netflix: “The children’s programming space was a natural place for us to start since kids are eager to ‘play’ with their favorite characters and already inclined to tap, touch and swipe at screens. They also talk to their screens, as though the characters can hear them. Now, that conversation can be two-way.” This story is from The New York Times, where it features another image and the Netflix “Kids Interactive Adventure” trailer; for more details see coverage in The Verge. –Matthew]

[Image: An image from “The Adventures of Puss in Boots.” Netflix released an episode of the show that includes interactive elements.]

Netflix Lets Viewers Pick the Plot

Leer en español

By John Koblin
June 20, 2017

Attention, kids: Netflix just put you in charge.

Netflix on Tuesday released a new episode on its streaming service of the animated show “The Adventures of Puss in Boots” with an interactive twist. About a half-dozen times during the episode, viewers — most likely children — will be prompted to choose which plot point the show should follow. Each decision will send the story in a different direction.

At one point, for example, viewers must decide whether Puss will confront nice bears or angry bears. On a touch screen, a press of the finger will do the work; on a television, a remote control will be required.

The first interactive episode, called “Puss in Book,” will last 18 to 39 minutes (depending on which path viewers go down), with viewers being asked to make a decision every two to four minutes.

“They are used to pressing play on the remote, setting it down and then just leaning back on the couch and letting Netflix roll,” Carla Engelbrecht Fisher, the director of product innovation at Netflix, said of viewers. “In this case, we actually need them to hold on to the remote. We don’t want it lost in the couch cushions. We need you to lean forward a little bit to engage with the choices.”

The introduction of such a feature — which Netflix will roll out for another children’s series next month, and a third next year — is, at this point, an experiment. But if it’s a hit with subscribers, and if Netflix executives are impressed with the results, the implications for the TV industry could be significant.

Although the streaming service has not made plans to feature this kind of interactive viewing in, say, a future season of “House of Cards,” the potential is there for it to eventually expand beyond children’s programming. Read more on Netflix introduces interactive programming to engage viewers…

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Call: ‘Body Movements’ special issue of student journal Press Start

Call for Papers: ‘Body Movements’ Special Issue

http://press-start.gla.ac.uk/index.php/press-start/announcement/view/15

Submission deadline: 31 October 2017

Press Start is pleased to announce an upcoming special issue of the journal, and to invite submissions relating to the theme of ‘Body Movements’.

With the theme of ‘Body Movements’ we invite a broad range of topics within the field of digital and analogue game studies. Authors are invited to present empirical and theoretical research in which they reflect on the body in games and play. Research topics could include, but are not limited to:

  • The virtual body in relation to the material body
  • Digital and board-game interfaces (controllers, motion sensing, physical play, etc.)
  • Political movements and political bodies
  • Social and community bodies
  • Inertia and movements of gaming bodies
  • Bowel movements, body horror and gore
  • Immersed bodies, virtual reality headsets and motion sickness
  • Feminine, trans- and other bodies in games
  • The body in game culture
  • Athletic bodies in esports/ Bodies in esports
  • Player and community agency

Read more on Call: ‘Body Movements’ special issue of student journal Press Start…

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Tour the ‘Trump Presidential Twitter Library’ without leaving your home

[The debut of the 3D, interactive virtual tour of The Daily Show’s “Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library” exhibit which was only open for a few days in New York City is notable on its own and also as an example of what may become an important trend: the creation of virtual versions of limited term, limited access, non-mediated experiences so that many more people over long periods of time can have (a version of) the experience. This short story is from CNN, where the original includes a photo gallery and the 0:31 minute exhibit welcome video. A similarly short video from The Daily Show from June 19 announcing the virtual tour and a press release about the exhibit are available from Comedy Central, and coverage of this and several other art projects about Trump’s tweets is available in The Washington Post. –Matthew]

Read more on Tour the ‘Trump Presidential Twitter Library’ without leaving your home…

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Call: Frameless Labs Festival Fall 2017 at Light and Sound Interactive 2017

Now Accepting Submissions

Frameless Labs Festival Fall 2017
At Light and Sound Interactive 2017
September 12-14, 2017
Floreano Riverside Convention Center and Hyatt Regency
Rochester, NY
https://magic.rit.edu/?page_id=115
http://www.lightandsound.org/

Submission closing date: July 20th

Submissions of 360 Film/VR/AR/Digital performance projects are now being accepted for the inaugural Frameless Labs festival at Light and Sound Interactive being held in Rochester, NY September 12-14, 2017.

Light and Sound Interactive is a unique conference and expo focused on light and sound-based technologies and their applications in emerging fields such as virtual and augmented reality, games, cinema, and music. The conference is interactive, featuring talks by leading experts, panel sessions, workshops, and product demonstrations.

The focus of the Frameless Labs Festival is to showcase emerging frameless media and their ability to open windows to limitless applications for storytelling.  Held alongside the Light and Sound Interactive conference, accepted creators will be able to show their work before industry and public audiences.

Frameless Labs and MAGIC at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) would like to invite a range of projects that push the limits of immersive experience through innovative use of technology, storytelling or artistic expression.

Submission closing date: July 20th
Notification of Acceptance: August 7th

Submission entry form:
https://goo.gl/forms/SOaL3goqVXiv0TVB2

If you would like to submit please read the following Official Submission Guidelines: Read more on Call: Frameless Labs Festival Fall 2017 at Light and Sound Interactive 2017…

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Actors use VR and app to make first VR-viewable cartoon created in real time

[This is a clever use of presence-evoking technology to create presence experiences; the story from CBC News – Manitoba includes three videos, including a CBC News report. For more information see the Flipside VR website and YouTube channel and the Bucko Comedy website. –Matthew]

[Image: Lauren Cochrane (left) plays Genefur while Aaron Merke (right) plays 2B in the virtual reality created cartoon Super Secret Science Island. (Credit: Ronnie Abelada).]

Virtual reality TV show created in Winnipeg on way to international convention

‘It’s just making an animation using your body, instantly,’ says actor

By Teghan Beaudette, CBC News
Posted: Jun 20, 2017

A first-of-its-kind cartoon is being made in Winnipeg using exclusively virtual reality technology.

Super Secret Science Island has two characters — failed experiments abandoned on an island by their creator — that are brought to life by BUCKO Comedy’s Aaron Merke and Lauren Cochrane.

The entire show is acted, shot and edited in real-time.

“Someone could be in Winnipeg, somebody else could be on the other side of the world. They can meet up in VR, create a show together and output that right away,” said Rachael Hosein, the chief creative at Campfire Union, the virtual reality development house that created the software for the show.

Merke and Cochrane go to different rooms, put on headsets, grab a set of hand controls and improvise an episode.

“It’s like putting a headset on and you’re Homer Simpson,” said Campfire Union’s John Luxford.

While they act, Luxford and Hosein switch camera angles and make sure everything in the virtual world runs smoothly.

“What we’re doing is making a virtual TV studio. It’s using off-the-shelf virtual reality hardware that we hook into an app that we created, and it’s kind of two parts. It allows people to watch content in VR using a VR headset, and it also allows content creators to use a VR setup to live-animate an animated show,” said Hosein.

Merke has a simpler way of describing it: “It’s just making an animation using your body, instantly.” Read more on Actors use VR and app to make first VR-viewable cartoon created in real time…

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Call: ICRESS 2017: The International Conference on Robot Ethics and Safety Standards

Call for Papers

ICRESS 2017: The International Conference on Robot Ethics and Safety Standards
Lisbon, Portugal
20-21 October 2017
https://www.icress2017.org

Submission of initial papers: 30 June, 2017

The International Conference on Robot Ethics and Safety Standards aims to provide a multidisciplinary forum for discussing the most pressing safety, ethical, legal and societal issues related to the distinct contexts where robotic technology applies. Following the pathway opened by the International Conference on Robot Ethics-ICRE 2015, the present conference will discuss how ethical and safety concerns can be shared by different stakeholders and translated into legal frameworks where technology contributes to a better world while respecting the fundamental humanistic values of society’s civilizational contexts.

CONFERENCE TOPICS INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO THE FOLLOWING

  • Autonomy and liability
  • Ethical principles in robotics
  • Defining ethical guidelines for the design, use and operation of robots
  • Enhancement technologies: ethical issues
  • Privacy and the management of personal data
  • Ethical frameworks: Universal or region specific?
  • What does “safety” stand for in robotic systems?
  • Safety standards in robotics – scope and key definitions
  • The role of industry and society in the definition of safety standards
  • Legal frameworks: the main topics to be addressed by legislators

Prospective authors are invited to submit original papers by the 30 June 2017. The papers accepted will be presented at ICRESS 2017 conference and a selection of the best papers will be published by Springer. Read more on Call: ICRESS 2017: The International Conference on Robot Ethics and Safety Standards…

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Finnish stealth company Varjo creating VR headset with ‘human eye-resolution’

[This story from Wired suggests an important advancement in the ability of technology to evoke presence; the original version includes two different images, and a press release is available from Varjo. –Matthew]

[Image: Left, a virtual scene in a typical modern VR display; right, the same scene in Varjo’s high-resolution display. Source: Varjo via The Verge.]

Has This Stealth Company Solved Vision-Quality VR?

Eter Rubin
June 19, 2017

When Urho Konttori handed me the VR headset, I almost laughed. The founder and CEO of some Finnish company I’d never heard of had just told me he and his team of 19 people had managed to leapfrog virtual reality 20 years into the future—and he gives me an Oculus Rift? “It’s just the housing,” he said. “We added some things inside.” Fine, I thought. You’ve seen plenty of demos where the reality didn’t match the hype. Just do it, then you can go back to the office. So I put the headset on.

The demo itself was quick, maybe 10 minutes, and consisted of a series of static VR environments that I could examine at will. There was a simple room with a TV in the corner streaming video; a shapeless environment with some floating computer monitors; a plane cockpit. Because this was an Oculus Rift, the image quality was exactly what I expected it to be: fine. However, a small clear rectangle was there as well, sitting in the middle of my field of vision. If I looked at something through that small rectangle—the text on the virtual computer monitors, the tiny numbers in the plane’s instrument panels—it stopped looking like VR. It just looked like…well, like real life. And it’s the first step in Varjo’s plan to create ultra-high-end headsets—for corporate use at first, but someday soon, for civilians like you and me. Read more on Finnish stealth company Varjo creating VR headset with ‘human eye-resolution’…

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Call: Workshop on Interaction-based Knowledge Sharing (WINKS)

Workshop on Interaction-based Knowledge Sharing (WINKS)

This workshop will take place at the 3rd Joint Ontology Workshop (JOWO) in Bolzano, Italy between 21 and 23 September 2017

Website: http://www.iiia.csic.es/winks/

Deadline for ALL submissions: Monday 17 July 2017

SCOPE

This first Workshop on Interaction-Based Knowledge Sharing (WINKS) collocated with the third Joint Ontology Workshops (http://iaoa.org/jowo/JOWO-2017/) is fully dedicated to challenges and solutions to knowledge sharing in interaction-based environments, ranging from the Internet of Things to multi-agent systems. Gradually expanding, distributed systems heighten the need of a dynamic interactive knowledge sharing process, while at the same time an increasing heterogeneity of resources renders this process more complex. As a highly interdisciplinary workshop, discussions will center on requirements and suggestions to endow computational models with knowledge sharing capabilities in interactive scenarios.

FULL DESCRIPTION Read more on Call: Workshop on Interaction-based Knowledge Sharing (WINKS)…

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Waltzing robot teaches beginners how to dance like a pro

[Researchers at Tohoku University have created a robot that teaches people how to dance, which involves not only complex physical interactions but (arguably) medium-as-social-actor presence. The story is from New Scientist, with additional details from coverage by the Daily Mail. For more information see videos from Quartz and the researchers on YouTube, and of course the published paper. –Matthew]

Waltzing robot teaches beginners how to dance like a pro

By Edd Gent
24 May 2017

Got no one to dance with? Not to worry – you might soon be gliding through the moves, thanks to a robotic instructor designed to teach humans how to dance.

The robot’s designers had already created mechanical dance partners that follow a human’s lead, but the new machine gently guides novices through routines while adapting to their skill level.

This is trickier, says Diego Felipe Paez Granados at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan, who led the research, because the robot must keep students on course without becoming too forceful.

The 1.8-metre-tall robot has wheels, but its upper body moves like that of a human dancer. A force sensor and two laser rangefinders track its student’s movements, which are compared against motion-capture data recorded from professional dancers to judge their performance.

As they progress, the robot gradually reduces the force used to lead them so they become less reliant on its guidance. Its face displays real-time feedback to help pinpoint mistakes, as well as showing them their overall progress to provide encouragement.

In tests with volunteers who had never waltzed before, five out of six improved, according to results to be presented at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Singapore later this month. With another group, the robot was not programmed to adapt to students’ progress and four out of six showed no improvement.

Wider applications Read more on Waltzing robot teaches beginners how to dance like a pro…

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