ISPR Presence News

Category Archives: Presence in the News

News stories explicitly or implicitly related to presence from a wide variety of sources

Meet Fribo, a robot that uses one kind of presence to create others and ease loneliness

[Researchers in Korea have created Fribo, a robot that uses medium-as-social actor presence to evoke a sense of social and spatial presence among a small group of people who each live alone. This story is from The Verge, where the original version includes a second image and a 6:01 minute video. –Matthew]

Meet Fribo, a robot built for lonely young people

Fribo encourages young people to text and call one another by sharing information on their daily activities

By James Vincent
Apr 5, 2018

The number of people living alone is on the rise in the US and other developed nations, and it’s definitely not a good thing. Loneliness and isolation are bad for your health, physically and mentally, so it’s in societies’ interests to think about how we can bring people together. Many blame technology for this fragmentation, but could it also help?

Researchers from Korea think so, and they have developed a prototype robot named Fribo that encourages young people to text and call one another. Unlike many other robots built for the home, Fribo is not intended to be social itself, but to instead foster socializing in others. Fribos are intended to be distributed in a group of friends’ houses, creating what researchers call a “virtual living space” that brings together individuals who are physically isolated. Read more on Meet Fribo, a robot that uses one kind of presence to create others and ease loneliness…

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New AR/VR industry survey reveals trends and challenges

[A second survey of leaders in the augmented and virtual reality industries reveals some interesting trends, including the importance of user experience and increasing focus on collaborative and social experiences. This press release is from Perkins Coie LLP via Business Wire. For more information see the company’s (free) survey and infographic. –Matthew]

Perkins Coie’s Second Augmented and Virtual Reality Survey Shows Continued Advancement and New Worries

Investment is on the rise and more companies are going to market, leading to increased practical applications and heightened legal concerns

March 20, 2018

PALO ALTO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–With investment in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) on the rise, the industry is growing and moving into more practical applications. But growth is leading to new challenges, including increased worries about legal risks, according to a new survey of startup founders, technology company executives, investors and consultants by global law firm Perkins Coie LLP.

Gaming Still Strong, but Practical and Collaborative Experiences Gain

In this year’s survey, which follows the firm’s inaugural survey released in September 2016, gaming maintained the top spot among sectors primed for investment over the next year in the eyes of respondents. But its leading position dropped from the 2016 survey (78 percent) to the 2018 survey (59 percent) as other areas made gains, including retail, healthcare and medical devices, military and defense, and real estate.

In another sign that AR/VR is building appeal beyond gamers, over the next year, 82 percent of respondents expect developers to focus more on collaborative and social experiences for AR/VR and 81 percent expect developers to focus on creating AR tools and applications for smartphones. Read more on New AR/VR industry survey reveals trends and challenges…

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Watching the NCAA men’s basketball championship game in VR: A first-person report

[This story from SB Nation provides a first person account of using VR to experience the recent NCAA men’s basketball championship game and a balanced analysis of the limitations and promise of the technology (note the very solvable problems of spotty WiFi and lack of audio). The original story includes more images. –Matthew]

[Image: Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports]

I watched the national championship in virtual reality and it was sports purgatory

They say you can’t be in two places at once, and they’re right.

By Charlotte Wilder
Apr 3, 2018

MANHATTAN — You can’t be in two places at once, but I’m currently sitting on the Michigan bench of the men’s NCAA basketball national championship game in San Antonio. I’m also in an overly-air conditioned private room of Jay-Z’s 40/40 club in New York City. The downside is that in order to bend space and time, I must keep a bulky virtual reality set strapped to my head. I look like a total dweeb and I feel slightly nauseous.

This event is a publicity thing for Intel’s VR experience. They partnered with Turner Sports to broadcast 21 of the March Madness games in virtual reality this year. A bunch of tech bloggers, many marketing people, and one Steve Lavin — the former head coach of UCLA and St. John’s who now calls games for the VR broadcasts — mill about, drinking beers, eating wings, and strapping these plastic boxes to their heads. Read more on Watching the NCAA men’s basketball championship game in VR: A first-person report…

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Six ways augmented reality will matter beyond puppy selfies

[Virtual reality has gotten more attention in the presence community but augmented reality has great potential to generate effective and useful presence illusions, as described in this story from Forbes. –Matthew]

[Image: Instagram ‘filters’ like this headband have become a key part of the app’s popular Stories feature. Credit: Instagram]

Six Ways Augmented Reality Will Matter Beyond Puppy Selfies

Kathleen Chaykowski, Forbes Staff
March 8, 2018

Augmented reality — mixing the physical world with digital elements — has gained traction among everyday smartphone users as a playful way to send selfies with puppy masks or silly effects like helium voice changers and sparkle filters. The tools have prompted people to communicate more frequently on social media apps by making it easy to turn casual, ordinary moments into creative, funny snapshots.

However, what started as on-the-fly fun is bound to turn into more serious applications over time. Just as AR’s older cousin virtual reality began as a medium for gamers and later expanded as a tool to support everything from medical training to simulations for building empathy and environmentally-friendly habits, AR’s relevance is poised to grow far beyond the confines of an Instagram Story or Snapchat messaging streak. (Read more about Facebook’s bet on an augmented reality future here.)

As AR increasingly becomes a “magic lens” for viewing the world through our smartphones, here are six ways the technology will change everyday tasks and activities: Read more on Six ways augmented reality will matter beyond puppy selfies…

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Mozilla announces new Firefox Reality browser for VR and AR

[Mozilla is releasing a new cross-platform, open source, privacy-friendly browser specifically for presence experiences. This story is from The Verge, and there’s a 0:48 minute video available from Mozilla’s Mixed Reality blog. See also the September 2017 ISPR Presence News post “VR Web Browsing Needs Revolution More Than Evolution.” –Matthew]

Read more on Mozilla announces new Firefox Reality browser for VR and AR…

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A new VR exhibit in Prague lets the blind ‘see’ art with haptic gloves

[Those of us who will be in Prague in May for PRESENCE 2018 will be able to visit a new VR exhibit designed to let the blind, and everyone else, experience three iconic sculptures via haptic gloves. This story is from KnowTechie and features a 2:14 minute video. Visit the Touching Masterpieces website for more information. –Matthew]

This VR exhibit enables the blind to ‘see’ art with haptic gloves

Please do touch the exhibits.

By Joe Rice-Jones
April 2, 2018

Any museum-goer knows the ubiquitous “Do not touch” signs. What if you could though, with the aid of VR technology? That’s what a small startup from Spain, NeuroDigital Technologies has created for an exhibit currently going on at the National Gallery of Prague. NeuroDigital has created a VR experience, not with a headset, but utilizing haptic gloves that they created in a successful Kickstarter in 2015.

They have created VR maps of three iconic sculptures, The Head of Nefertiti by Thutmose (1345 BC), Venus de Milo by Alexandros of Antioch (101 BC) and David by Michelangelo (1504 AD). A spokesperson for Geometry Prague stated that the three statues were chosen for their artistic merit and also because the human forms are recognizable for users who might otherwise be thrown by the experience.

The Touching Masterpieces exhibit debuted last week, where a few users were selected to be the first to experience it.

NeuroDigital’s mission statement is [to] improve the quality of life through revolutionizing Virtual Reality. On this project, they collaborated with the Leontinka Foundation for the Blind and visually impaired, Geometry Prague, and the National Gallery of Prague. Read more on A new VR exhibit in Prague lets the blind ‘see’ art with haptic gloves…

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IKEA AssembleAR shows how augmented reality and presence could transform assembly instructions

[A designer has imagined how augmented reality and the sense of spatial presence it evokes could improve the process of using assembly instructions for IKEA products (and of course the ideas could be extended to all kinds of manuals). This short story is from Co.Design, where it includes a gif and a 1:06 minute video, which is also available along with more information from Adam Pickard’s website. –Matthew]

Read more on IKEA AssembleAR shows how augmented reality and presence could transform assembly instructions…

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Presence as perceived realism: Two cautionary examples

[Two recent examples vividly illustrate the increasing use of technology to manipulate our perceptions of reality. Business Insider introduces the first example this way:

“’Question everything’ is the Instagram influencer and blogger Carolyn Stritch’s latest message to her followers. And to encourage people to do just that, she conducted an experiment to show people just how easy it is to fake ‘perfection’ on the photo-sharing platform.

Stritch, who is from the UK, is the 32-year-old lifestyle blogger and freelance photographer behind The Slow Traveler. She has amassed 190,000 followers on her Instagram account @theslowtraveler through sharing perfectly poised photos of cosy-looking settings involving copious cups of coffee and stacks of books […].

But as we should all know by now, not everything is as it seems on Instagram.

In a post titled ‘Why I hacked my own Instagram account,’ Stritch reveals how she fooled people into believing she had taken a trip to Disneyland.”

The thoughtful blog post is below; both the Business Insider story and blog post include more images. See also the second half of coverage in Inc.

The second example concerns the shameful, immoral and dangerous creation and distribution of altered and created photos, gifs, videos, social media posts and ‘news’ stories that make false claims designed to discredit the students of Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and their efforts to prevent future mass shootings and other gun deaths. Media Matters has documented many of these ‘hoaxes’ in a link-filled blog post, and the journalism analysis website Poynter has a detailed story on the topic.

The rapid evolution and wide availability of media technologies and the negative aspects of human nature suggest that we’ll need to be increasingly vigilant to counter attempts to use presence as realism to manipulate us.

–Matthew]

Why I hacked my own Instagram account

March 13, 2018

To be clear: all images I posted prior to this project are really me, really in those places.

I download FaceApp, £1.99! I take a selfie: bed hair, no makeup. I tap “Impression” and my face changes quickly and dramatically: fine lines flatten, wrinkles smooth out, blemishes unblemish, dark circles disappear, cheekbones rise, eyes brighten, lips get bigger, nose gets smaller.

My face is gone.

Staring back at me, wearing my clothes, sitting in my bed, is a stranger. Or, perhaps more accurately: it’s my perfect self.

I feel horrified by how much my face changes. Does FaceApp modify other people’s faces this much?! I must be less attractive than most.

When I swipe back to the real image, the flaws seem far more prominent than when I first took the the selfie.

I quickly swipe back to the edited image. The longer I look at this new, perfect me, the more I wonder what it would be like if I really looked like that.

I uploaded the selfie as a profile picture on Facebook as a sort of experiment and nobody questioned it. Not my best friend, my sisters, or even my own mam!

QUESTION EVERYTHING

I’m finishing up the second year of a degree in photography. The degree teaches that above all else we should question everything, especially our own work.

I decided to bring that idea home and question the work I do on Instagram.

I came up with a story: my FaceApped perfect self, who’s ten years younger than I am, flies off to Disneyland for the day, and somehow manages to photograph herself all alone in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.

I manipulated images, captioned them with a fictional narrative, and presented them as real-life.

I hacked my own Instagram account. Read more on Presence as perceived realism: Two cautionary examples…

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Where presence happens: Virtual reality for all

[Reading this story made me feel good. It’s from the Boise Weekly (in the Rocky Mountain state of Idaho) and it’s about the real work and real benefits of bringing VR and presence to diverse members of the public. –Matthew]

[Image: By Adam Rosenlund]

Virtual Reality for All

“We have helped people with all ranges of body limitations, stress or anxiety, autism, social skills, and even if you are fully paralyzed, we have found relaxing VR videos or music experiences to be effective.”

By Harrison Berry
March 21, 2018

Ted, a resident of the assisted living center The Terraces, was the first of a group of seniors waiting in line to don a virtual reality headset, and he gripped the hand controls as if they were poisonous snakes. Prompted by Danielle Worthy, a library assistant for the Bown Crossing branch of the Boise Public Library, Ted said he saw some fish and a stingray.

“What do you think?” asked Worthy.

“It’s goofy. It was really weird,” Ted said. Gesturing to another resident sitting on a nearby couch, he added, “You’re going to like it.”

Ted was using a deep sea diving simulator called theBlu, and the rest of the residents tried other simulators in turn. Darlene chose Richie’s Plank Experience, in which she rode an elevator to the top floor of a building. The doors opened, and she was greeted by a pirate ship-style plank suspended 525 feet above a city street. Rather than walk the plank, she pressed another button that took her down to the “fire deck.” Her fellow residents watched on a laptop screen as the doors slid open to billowing digital flames.

This late-January event wasn’t the first virtual reality demonstration at The Terraces, and it won’t be the last. The trend began in early 2017 when a woman in hospice care at the facility used the technology to ride on the Trans Canada Railroad, checking an item off her bucket list and alerting the staff to the promise of technology. Trips to the Bown Crossing library branch for residents to use its headsets may soon become a regular occurrence for the seniors, though this time the library came to them.

In years past, people would put on cumbersome equipment at video game arcades to immerse themselves in poorly rendered 3D environments, paying extra for the privilege, but a high-tech breakout was on the horizon. In 2014, Facebook bought VR startup Oculus for $2 billion. Oculus offered a suite of headsets, cameras and controllers that was expensive ($600), and required a powerful computer to render high frame rates and detailed 3D graphics, but other companies, including HTC Vive, PlayStation, Samsung Gear and more, quickly jumped on the VR bandwagon.

The decreasing cost and widening availability of the technology is slowly bringing virtual reality to the mass market, where it’s now used for work and play. Architects and engineers, for example, use virtual spaces to design structures. At the same time, the Boise Public Library and one Boise-area virtual reality arcade have discovered VR is a gateway for people of all abilities to play and learn. Read more on Where presence happens: Virtual reality for all…

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Study: 360-degree VR ads outperform 2D ads

[A new industry study suggests that presence-evoking media are effective venues for advertising. This story is from Retail Dive, and see the short OmniVirt report for more information. –Matthew]

360-degree VR ads have 300% higher click-through rates

Dan Alaimo
March 13, 2018

Dive Brief:

  • A recent study from OmniVirt revealed that 360-degree virtual reality ads perform appreciably better than regular advertising across metrics such as click-through rates, viewability, and video completion. The data was derived from over 700 million ads served.
  • In click-through rates, OmniVirt found that VR photos performed 300% better than regular two-dimensional photos, and 14% better than regular photos in viewability.
  • In video completion rates, 360-degree videos were 46% higher than regular videos, with an 85% video completion rate for 360-degree video versus 58% for two-dimensional videos.

Dive Insight: Read more on Study: 360-degree VR ads outperform 2D ads…

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