ISPR Presence News

Monthly Archives: April 2011

Job: PhD Studentship at Swansea U. – “Visualising the Past” Project

Fully Funded PhD Scholarship – Visualising the Past (Computer Science, Digital Heritage, History)

(http://www.swansea.ac.uk/scholarships/research/whoiseligible,57506,en.php)

Swansea University’s college of Arts and Humanities, in collaboration with the Department of Computer Science, is offering a fully-funded PhD studentship titled ‘Visualising the Past’

Closing Date: 31st May 2011

Candidates should have a background in Computer Science or a closely related discipline

Who is eligible:

Residency:
Due to funding restrictions, only UK/EU students are eligible to apply.

Academic Criteria:
Candidates must have a minimum of a good 2.1 honours degree in a relevant subject area  such as Computer Science or a closely related discipline. Read more on Job: PhD Studentship at Swansea U. – “Visualising the Past” Project…

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Playing the role of human in the Turing Test

[From The Atlantic Magazine, where the long article includes sidebar features]

[Image credit: Bryan Christie]

Mind vs. Machine

In the race to build computers that can think like humans, the proving ground is the Turing Test—an annual battle between the world’s most advanced artificial-intelligence programs and ordinary people. The objective? To find out whether a computer can act “more human” than a person. In his own quest to beat the machines, the author discovers that the march of technology isn’t just changing how we live, it’s raising new questions about what it means to be human.

By Brian Christian
March 2011 ATLANTIC MAGAZINE

Brighton, England, September 2009. I wake up in a hotel room 5,000 miles from my home in Seattle. After breakfast, I step out into the salty air and walk the coastline of the country that invented my language, though I find I can’t understand a good portion of the signs I pass on my way—LET AGREED, one says, prominently, in large print, and it means nothing to me.

I pause, and stare dumbly at the sea for a moment, parsing and reparsing the sign. Normally these kinds of linguistic curiosities and cultural gaps intrigue me; today, though, they are mostly a cause for concern. In two hours, I will sit down at a computer and have a series of five-minute instant-message chats with several strangers. At the other end of these chats will be a psychologist, a linguist, a computer scientist, and the host of a popular British technology show. Together they form a judging panel, evaluating my ability to do one of the strangest things I’ve ever been asked to do.

I must convince them that I’m human.

Fortunately, I am human; unfortunately, it’s not clear how much that will help. Read more on Playing the role of human in the Turing Test…

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Call: Portuguese Conference on AI – Thematic Track on Multi-Agent Systems: Theory and Applications

6th MASTA @ EPIA 2011
15th Portuguese Conference on Artificial Intelligence
Thematic Track on Multi-Agent Systems: Theory and Applications

10-13 October 2011, Lisbon, Portugal

http://epia2011.appia.pt/masta

Submission deadline: May 10, 2011

Introduction

Since 1993, the area of Multi-Agent Systems (MAS) has been present in all EPIA Conferences, both as individual tracks and as autonomous workshops. Focusing on a fundamental subject of Artificial Intelligence, the 6th edition of Multi-Agent Systems: Theory and Applications – MASTA 2011 Thematic Track, will be a forum for presenting and discussing the most recent and innovative work on MAS.

Departing, from the end of the 1980’s, from the two main branches of Decentralized Artificial Intelligence and Distributed Problem Solving, research on MAS has developed in areas of increasing specialization and autonomy as diverse as agent theories and architectures, cognitive modelling, coordination, negotiation and argumentation, social organization and social simulation, swarm intelligence, and agent-oriented programming.

Agent technology has been used to solve real-world problems in a range of industrial and commercial applications, including manufacturing, supply chain management, process control, telecommunications, air traffic control, transportation systems, and business process management.

Aims and Scope

Research on MAS has a vigorous, exciting tradition and has led to important theories and systems. However, new trends and concerns are still emerging and form the basis of current and future research. This thematic track is intended to provide a discussion forum on the most recent and innovative work in all areas of MAS.

The unifying focus of the thematic track will be on methodological aspects. Both theoretical and practical research should be situated in the context of existing or new methodologies. This will not preclude any specific topic, but preference will be given to research work that establishes some connection with the methodological aspects or to successful applications built upon some methodology. Read more on Call: Portuguese Conference on AI – Thematic Track on Multi-Agent Systems: Theory and Applications…

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RAF’s new state-of-the-art simulator trains parachute jumpers

[From The Oxford Mail; more information including pictures is available here]

It’s Google earth for RAF jumpers

Friday 8th April 2011
By Dan Hearn

RAF recruits are using a state-of-the-art simulator to learn how to parachute safely.

Students at RAF Brize Norton’s parachute training school use harnesses and virtual reality goggles to ‘jump’ in a range of different environments.

Instructors can simulate rain, fog and snow, and choose any time of day or night. Wind speed and direction can also be adjusted to make the descent more challenging.

Last night instructors praised the new £500,000 system at the Carterton RAF base. Read more on RAF’s new state-of-the-art simulator trains parachute jumpers…

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Call: Development, Evaluation and Deployment of Multi-touch Systems – Special issue of International Journal of Human-Computer Studies (IJHCS)

International Journal of Human-Computer Studies (IJHCS)

Special Issue on Development, Evaluation and Deployment of Multi-touch Systems

Call for papers

(http://www.dur.ac.uk/shamus.smith/SI_MT_IJHCS.html)
(http://www.dur.ac.uk/shamus.smith/CFP_IJHCS_MT.pdf)

Submissions due 30th July 2011

Introduction and topics

Multi-touch technologies have a long history-one that even predates the public adoption of graphical user interfaces. While early systems offered glimpses into its potential, they were hampered by the technology of the times: Processors were not fast enough to adequately process multiple inputs; projector-based systems offered low resolution, a bulky setup, and shadowing effects; users often had to be inconveniently tethered; ad-hoc systems were expensive to build and difficult to deploy; etc. Recently, multi-touch hardware and software support has improved dramatically. Jeff Han’s TED talk inspired us to build our own low-cost large-scale interactive surfaces. Commercial systems have become available from handhelds, tablets, whiteboards and tabletops. Multi-touch toolkits have proliferated.

As a result, the research focus has shifted to user experience. The challenge now is to devise appropriate user interfaces that take advantage of multi-touch. The change from single to multiple inputs, often accompanied by a transition from single to multiple users, drives researchers to re-examine the foundation of graphical user interfaces. There are a number of rich research questions that have yet to be fully addressed, including issues of orientation, occlusion and reach, gesture interaction, and application support.

This special issue aims to present a set of high-quality, high-impact, original research outcomes in the development, evaluation, and deployment of multi-touch systems. Read more on Call: Development, Evaluation and Deployment of Multi-touch Systems – Special issue of International Journal of Human-Computer Studies (IJHCS)…

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Festo’s new SmartBird robot spy drone mimics real seagull

[From Fast Company; more information including images and videos is available here]

It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s … a New Seagull-Like Robot Spy Drone!

By Kit Eaton Fri Mar 25, 2011

A new robotic flying drone, styled like a seagull, has arrived on the scene. It doesn’t squawk, poop or steal french fries from your hand, but it’s an example of incredible bio-mimicking design that could be the future of airborne robots.

We’ve met a Festo robot before–a robotic manipulator/gripper arm with a design that’s heavily inspired by elephant trunk muscles–and so we know about the company’s penchant for using bio-inspired thinking in its robot engineering. Festo actually has a whole suite of innovations under its Bionic Learning Network umbrella, but the Smart Bird is the most eye-popping among them.

In fact the robot is so astonishingly convincing in flight it really could pass for a genuine seagull from a distance–a feat of biomimicry that Festo is clearly proud of. The company notes: “Festo has succeeded in deciphering the flight of birds.” Read more on Festo’s new SmartBird robot spy drone mimics real seagull…

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Call: eNTERFACE’11, the 7th International Summer Workshop on Multimodal Interfaces

eNTERFACE’11  the 7th International Summer Workshop on Multimodal Interfaces

Call for Participation

The eNTERFACE workshops aim at establishing a tradition of collaborative, localized research and development work by gathering, in a single place, a team of leading professionals in multimodal human-machine interfaces together with students (both graduate and undergraduate), to work on a prespecified list of challenges, for 4 complete weeks. In this respect, it is an innovative and intensive collaboration scheme, designed to allow researchers to integrate their software tools, deploy demonstrators, collect novel databases, and work side by side with a great number of experts. It brings together 80 researchers for a whole month, subsequently it is the largest workshop on multimodal interfaces.

The workshop is held on an anual basis, in July-August, and organized around several research projects dealing with multimodal human-machine interfaces design. It is thus radically different from traditional scientific workshops, in which only specialists meet for a few days to discuss state-of-the art problems, but do not really work together.

The eNTERFACE was initiated by the FP6 Network of Excellence SIMILAR. After the completion of SIMILAR, the workshop continued to attract wide interest under the aegis of the OpenInterface Foundation. It was organized by Faculté Polytechnique de Mons in 2005, University of Zagreb in 2006, Bogaziçi University in 2007, CNRS-LIMSI in 2008, University of Genova in 2009, and University of Amsterdam in 2010.

eNTERFACE’11 is organized by the University of West Bohemia, Faculty of Applied Sceinces, Department of Cybernetics in Plzeň, the Czech Republic. Read more on Call: eNTERFACE’11, the 7th International Summer Workshop on Multimodal Interfaces…

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“Aurasma” iPhone app: Augmented reality that embeds moving imagery

[From The New York Times’ Bits blog, where the story includes a 1:03 minute video]

 

Augmented Reality Comes Closer to Reality

By John Markoff
April 7, 2011

Last week I wrote about how cyber politics and crime on the Internet had been foreseen with eerie accuracy by science fiction writers. For example, the computer scientist Vernor Vinge’s classic 1981 novella “True Names” described the impact of the Net long before most people had personal computers, let alone an Internet connection.

But it’s not just the dark side of the Internet that Mr. Vinge got right.

In his 2006 “Rainbows End,” he sketched a compelling description of the societal impact of augmented reality in which technology evolves to the point where high-resolution displays are integrated into contact lens worn by just about everyone. Combined with powerful lilliputian computers and broadband wireless networks, it becomes possible to customize visual reality by displaying a personalized world by transforming what the wearer is gazing at.

It wasn’t until earlier this week when Michael Lynch, Autonomy founder and chief executive, casually demonstrated “Aurasma” on an iPhone, that I gained a clear sense of how life might end up imitating science fiction. Until now images have been overlaid on top of visual world. Autonomy embeds moving imagery within the world itself, transforming what you see in a way that’s visually convincing. Read more on “Aurasma” iPhone app: Augmented reality that embeds moving imagery…

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Call: International Virtual Environments Research Group (IVERG) Conference 2011 – Immersive Technologies for Learning

International Virtual Environments Research Group (IVERG) Conference 2011

Immersive Technologies for Learning: Virtual Implementation, Real Outcomes

http://www.iverg.com/iVERG/Details.html

Call for papers

The organising committee encourages the submission of individual abstracts focused on the use of virtual worlds in the following areas:

  • Citizenship, identity and virtual environments for learning
  • Media, multimedia and virtual reality
  • Adaptive and intuitive environments
  • Computer mediated communication
  • e-Learning
  • e-Portfolios
  • m-Learning
  • Games for education
  • Grids for education
  • Apps for education
  • Emerging technologies
  • Creativity
  • Educational technology futures

Abstracts of up to 500 words should be submitted by Friday 8th April 2011. Read more on Call: International Virtual Environments Research Group (IVERG) Conference 2011 – Immersive Technologies for Learning…

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Cutting down a virtual tree may lead you to save trees by recycling more paper

[From The Stanford Report, where the story includes a 1:56 minute video also available here]

New virtual reality research – and a new lab – at Stanford

Cutting down a virtual redwood with a virtual chainsaw may lead you to save trees by recycling more paper. That finding is an example of how real-world behavior can be changed by immersing people in virtual reality environments – a notion that is at the heart of work under way in Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab.

By Adam Gorlick
April 8, 2011

If a tree falls in a virtual reality forest, will anyone hear an environmental message?

They will, as long as they were the ones who cut down the make-believe redwood.

New findings from Stanford researchers show that people who were immersed in a three-dimensional virtual forest and told to saw through a towering sequoia until it crashed in front of them later used less paper in the real world than people who only imagined what it’s like to cut down a tree.

“We found that virtual reality can change how people behave,” said Sun Joo Ahn, whose doctoral dissertation outlines the findings. “That’s the big result. When people are in virtual reality and going through the motions of actually cutting down this tree, it might make them feel more personally accountable or responsible for the damage that occurred.” Read more on Cutting down a virtual tree may lead you to save trees by recycling more paper…

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