ISPR Presence News

Category Archives: Presence in the News

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

New generation of smart glasses to evoke several forms of presence

[A new generation of smart glasses will offer voice-activated interaction with our AI-powered virtual assistant, bone-conduction audio, an augmented reality display, and prescription lenses in light and stylish frames, which together will evoke multiple forms of spatial and social presence. The story below about the less expensive audio-only LET Glass is from Digital Trends, where the original includes different images and a 2:26 minute video; for much more information follow the link to the Indiegogo page. For coverage of Vuzik’s new AR-capable glasses see a story from Bloomberg, which notes that “everyone” (Amazon, Google, Facebook, etc.) will likely be launching their own new glasses. –Matthew]

Look into the future using the first smart glasses with Alexa control

By Garrett Hulfish
December 6, 2017

There are a lot of people in the world that need glasses on a daily basis. Despite their often expensive price tag, they do little more than correct poor eyesight. Let Glass updates glasses for the 21st century by integrating them with smart home connectivity.

While maintaining a slim form factor, Let Glass features audio entertainment, telephone communication, and voice interaction. Using Alexa and a built-in microphone, these frames allow users to control their smartphones without fumbling through their pockets. Simply tapping the legs of the smart glasses activate remote control functions, while voice commands handle everything else. In addition to Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri and Google Now are also supported.

Keeping with a traditional appearance, audio is produced using bone conduction technology. Instead of a speaker, the glasses vibrate the small bones in the ear to produce sound. This also keeps ears open to other noises, ensuring users remain aware of their surroundings. This allows users to listen to music, track activity, use voice navigation, call a friend, and more.

All this technology in a small package should mean frequent trips to the charger, but that is not the case for Let Glass. Using head detection, these smart glasses auto switch the power when putting them on or off. This saves enough energy to give them a battery life of about 10 days. Read more on New generation of smart glasses to evoke several forms of presence…

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What will tomorrow’s children make of robot pets?

[As Sony launches a new more sophisticated version of its robotic dog AIBO, this story from TechRadar considers the future of robotic pets and whether we should encourage medium-as-social-actor presence responses in their young users. For more on the old and new AIBO/aibo, see coverage in The Daily Beast. –Matthew]

What will tomorrow’s children make of robot pets?

From Aibo to Cozmo, what does the future hold for bot pets?

By Rich Wordsworth
December 16, 2017

My robot is bored.

I’ve done everything I can. Anki’s ‘Cozmo’ – Wall-E-meets-EVE in the cab of a forklift – costs around £200 / $180 and brings its own light-up cubes that it is perennially rearranging and stacking. It also has a camera in its head and can recognise my face. When it does, it grins with its eyes and excitedly slaps the table with its forklift, shouting ‘Rich!’. And now I’m ignoring it to write. It’s rolling about the tabletop, flipping over its cubes and turning round every so often to see if it’s playtime again yet. It isn’t. I feel terrible.

The more I play with Cozmo, the more connected I feel to this trundling little ball of emotive plastic. I know that really he’s just circuitry and sensors in a cutesy shell – but the circuitry and sensors in my cutesy shell have turned him into a pet.

If I squint, I can see Cozmo for what he is: a clever machine. But he’s also a handy mascot for an increasingly pertinent question: if Cozmo can blur the lines between animal and machine for me, what about the kids who’ll be unwrapping him for Christmas?

As interactive robots get smarter and more convincing year-on-year, how does a parent on Christmas day meaningfully explain that, just because a toy is made from plastic, they should ‘bond’ with it in a way that’s different to bonding with their pet hamster, rabbit or dog? And should parents even be trying in the first place? Read more on What will tomorrow’s children make of robot pets?…

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Telepresence after death in both third and first person

[In addition to the ethics of creating a disembodied or embodied version of a person to maintain a sense of their presence after they die, this story from The Daily Beast considers the possibility of transferring your consciousness into technology so that you experience your continued existence after your body dies (in addition to the episode of Black Mirror mentioned, the many interesting implications of such a prospect are explored in the British series Humans). –Matthew]

[Image: photo illustration by Sarah Rogers/The Daily Beast]

When You Die, You’ll Live on as a Robot

Memories die with those who keep them, but data last forever.

Joelle Renstrom
January 2, 2018

Losing a loved one can be a traumatic experience, so it’s unsurprising that mourners often hunt for a sign or piece of them.

And now, thanks to advanced technology, it’s possible.

Services such as advertise virtual immortality by gathering Facebook posts, Tweets, Instagram pictures, and emails into an accessible multimedia memorial. According to its website, will also create a digital avatar in the likeness of the deceased so “people in the future could actually interact with your memories, stories and ideas, almost as if they were talking to you.”

The thinking goes like this: Memories die with those who keep them, but data lasts forever. If a replica of a person is convincing enough, these services could “extend someone’s social life,” Clarissa Carden, a PhD candidate currently co-authoring a book, Living and Dying in a Virtual World, told The Daily Beast. However, Carden suspects that “it will be a long time—if ever—before digital replications obtain the same kind of social significance as ‘true’ remainders.”

But is that really how people want to be remembered? After all, you can be careful with social media posts; whether you want those digital communiques to represent you posthumously is another question. Read more on Telepresence after death in both third and first person…

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VR has added a new dimension to amusement rides – what’s next?

[In this story from The Conversation amusement academic Malcolm Burt reviews the increasing use of VR and presence in amusement and theme park rides, its benefits and drawbacks, riders’ desire for narrative, and the possible futures of the rides and parks. The original story includes three more images and six videos; see Burt’s YouTube channel for even more. –Matthew]

[Image: The author on a VR waterslide in Germany. Because why not? Malcolm Burt, Author provided]

Virtual reality has added a new dimension to theme park rides — so what’s next for thrill-seekers?

Malcolm Burt, Amusement academic, Queensland University of Technology
January 2, 2018

Rollercoasters have come a long way since the theme park rides of old, as thrill-seekers and park operators look for the next big thing.

The trend in the early 2000s was for higher, faster and loopier rides that arguably peaked with the 206km per hour Kingda Ka rollercoaster at Six Flags, New Jersey, in the United States. At 139m (456ft) it’s currently the world’s tallest rollercoaster.

Industry pundits and thrill ride nerds are waiting anxiously for a 500ft (152m) coaster, but it hasn’t arrived yet. It seems there may be a limit to the amount of dollars that theme parks are willing to put on the line for new record-breakers.

So where to next? The answer it seems, is skipping new real-world rides and going virtual.

Enter the virtual world

I’m an amusement academic (yes, that’s a thing) and I have previously looked at why rollercoasters exist, from a sociological, psychological, business and marketing perspective. This resulted in my documentary Signature Attraction.

Now I’ve turned my focus to virtual reality (VR) amusement rides. I’ve just returned from a global tour seeking to define exactly what customers want from a VR amusement ride experience. Read more on VR has added a new dimension to amusement rides – what’s next?…

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Behavioral biologists demonstrate value of mixed reality and presence for lab studies with humans

[It won’t surprise presence scholars, but this blog post from On Biology summarizes a new study that systematically demonstrates the value of presence experiences for studying “real” human behavior. The original post includes more images and a 5:59 minute video with three views of a person as they participate in the experiment. –Matthew]

Virtual Reality brings human behavior to the laboratory

Studying human behavior in a laboratory is challenging, and rodents often must suffice as a model in experimental tests. New research in BMC Biology presents an experimental set-up using virtual reality to better understand real human behavior. In this blog, Johannes Fuß, lead author of the study, explains how.

Dr. Johannes Fuß
2 Jan 2018

In behavioral research, it is notoriously difficult to measure authentic human behavior in the controlled setting of a laboratory. You typically have to fall back to observing minor movements, like bodily reactions, as substitutes – or you skip the human altogether and observe rodents instead. You can put rodents in situations you cannot put humans into and observe them in a controlled environment.

But what you are then measuring is rodent behavior, and you cannot be sure that your findings are applicable to humans. To understand more about how behavioral data from rodents might translate to humans, my colleagues and I have developed a human version of one of the most prominent rodent behavioral tasks in a study just published in BMC Biology – the elevated plus maze. Read more on Behavioral biologists demonstrate value of mixed reality and presence for lab studies with humans…

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Using technology to allow deployed military to be ‘present’ at their children’s birth

[This uplifting story from the Kokomo Perspective (in Indiana) is a nice way to start the new year. –Matthew]

[Image: Kyle Miller (right) smiles on camera after the birth of his son, Wyatt [to wife Shelby]. Miller was able to be a part of the delivery from Cuba, where he’s stationed.]

Community Howard teleconferences birth for deployed father

Seeing success, hospital given the go-ahead to offer the technology to other military families going forward

Alyx Arnett
December 29, 2017

From 1,200 miles away, one deployed father watched the birth of his second child at Community Howard Regional Health last month.

The hospital set up a video conferencing system so that Kyle Miller, who’s stationed in Guantanamo Bay for approximately the next year with the Army National Guard, wouldn’t have to forgo the experience of being a part of the birth of his son, Wyatt, and be able to be there for his wife, Shelby.

“It was definitely the next best alternative to me actually being there,” said Kyle. “Being able to see Wyatt in real time was awesome.”

The idea for the teleconferencing came from Barb Miller, Kyle’s mother and manager of the IT department at Community Howard. The hospital regularly uses a system called telepresence to video conference with stroke victims and psych patients. Knowing it’s secure and reliable, Barb said she wondered whether it could be used to securely live stream births. Read more on Using technology to allow deployed military to be ‘present’ at their children’s birth…

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(Presence) technology trends that will transform our world in 2018

[The last two of the four predictions for the coming year in this story from Fortune directly involve presence. More predictions are available from Gartner via Forbes and from designboom.

Best wishes to all of us for a safe, healthy, productive and happy 2018! Hope to see you in Prague in May!


[Image: Source: Forbes]

4 Technology Trends That Will Transform Our World in 2018

By Jay Samit, independent vice chairman of Deloitte’s Digital Reality practice and author of the bestselling book “Disrupt You!”
December 26, 2017

Predicting the future requires hubris, and it should therefore be met with more than a terabyte of skepticism. In past years, I’ve made some calls that have proved prescient like predicting way back in 2011 that social media would determine the U.S. presidential election. Meanwhile, some took decades longer than I had foreseen such as my 1992 prediction that this new thing called the Internet would lead Hollywood studios to merge with telecommunications companies.

Over the years, I’ve learned that the best way to predict the future is to hang out with the people creating it. When you work with a top consultancy and have leading technology innovators as clients, it’s pretty easy to recognize trends that have the greatest potential impact.

Here are my top four tech trends for 2018: Read more on (Presence) technology trends that will transform our world in 2018…

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Google’s voice-generating AI is now indistinguishable from humans

[It’s sometimes hard to remember how quickly the technologies behind machines that we speak to and that speak to us have developed, and how many of us are interacting with machines this way (e.g., see a recent Pew Research report). The short story below from Quartz and the audio samples it includes and links to demonstrate how good the technologies are becoming at evoking presence. –Matthew]

Read more on Google’s voice-generating AI is now indistinguishable from humans…

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How augmented and virtual reality will reshape the food industry

[This story from TechCrunch by a professional chef highlights three categories of ways presence experiences will shape the food industry, with lots of links to interesting examples. –Matthew]

[Image: London’s City Social “Sea Marshall“ augmented reality cocktail. Credit: Addie Chinn. Source: The Telegraph]

How augmented and virtual reality will reshape the food industry

December 26, 2017
Jenny Dorsey

Augmented reality content can be found on everything from wine bottles to IKEA’s catalog and virtual reality experiences are much more detailed, with rich layers of interactivity from hand controllers to gaze triggers, and a VR film has even won an Oscar. With Apple and Google both debuting augmented reality platforms (ARKit and ARCore, respectively), Facebook heavily invested in its Oculus headset and Amazon unveiling augmented shopping features, AR and VR is primed to change many parts of our everyday lives.

Within the food industry, AR and VR have also begun to make headway. Although development costs are still high, more and more F&B businesses are beginning to realize the potential of AR/VR and see it as a worthwhile investment. Three main areas – human resources, customer experiences, food products – have seen the most concentration of AR/VR development so far and will likely continue to push the envelope on what use cases AR & VR have within the industry. Read more on How augmented and virtual reality will reshape the food industry…

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NFL Films working to perfect presence experiences with docuseries ‘NFL Immersed’

[This story from Sport Techie is an update on what NFL Films is learning as its team works to create presence experiences of (American) football games (the fact that the new season of NFL Immersed features the Philadelphia Eagles, my hometown team, is purely coincidence!). –Matthew]

Virtual Reality Production Enhanced For Docuseries ‘NFL Immersed’

December 20, 2017
Mitch Reames

Since its inception in 1964, NFL Films has won more than 100 Emmys for its work documenting the NFL’s stories and gameplay. NFL Films has also extended its work into virtual reality with the show “NFL Immersed.”

The first three episodes of the second season are now available, and they follow Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long and his work both on and off the field.

“I love telling stories in VR,” NFL Films producer Jason Weber said. “We have been making football stories for a long time, but this is a new area and we have been learning a lot.” Read more on NFL Films working to perfect presence experiences with docuseries ‘NFL Immersed’…

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