ISPR Presence News

Monthly Archives: May 2011

Job: PhD Scholarship on Multimodal Interaction and Museum Learning at University of Strathclyde

PhD Scholarship on Multimodal Interaction and Museum Learning – Supporting Engagement and Learning with Novel Museum Technologies

The Mobiquitous Lab at the University of Strathclyde, UK invites applications for a 3-year PhD position funded by a University scholarship.

Research theme / project description

Museums worldwide are experimenting with novel interface technologies to increase both entertainment and educational benefits for visitors. But while many installations support hands-on activity, this often just consists of frantic button-pushing. It seems much harder to support intellectual-emotional engagement with the content and meaningful learning.

This project will investigate how different multimodal interaction techniques support mindful engagement and learning in museums and how novel interaction modalities can enhance the traditional museum experience, for example by augmenting exhibit artefacts. Different sensory modalities provide different affordances for interaction and learning. The project will focus on what kinds of engagement different modalities support, and how these might be more powerful when combined (or on their own, e.g. using only tactile output). The student will study existing installations in museums as well as conduct focused experiments. Ideally, for the latter the student will develop small-scale installations that for example use different modalities to represent information. We aim to establish collaboration with local Scottish museums within this project. Read more on Job: PhD Scholarship on Multimodal Interaction and Museum Learning at University of Strathclyde…

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The Alice Illusion – scientists convince people that they’re dolls or giants

[From Discover magazine’s Not Exactly Rocket Science blog]

The Alice Illusion – scientists convince people that they’re dolls or giants

May 26th, 2011 by Ed Yong

In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the titular heroine quaffs a potion that shrinks her down to the size of a doll, and eats a cake that makes her grow to gigantic proportions. Such magic doesn’t exist outside of Lewis Carroll’s imagination, but there are certainly ways of making people think that they have changed in size.

There’s nowhere in the world that’s better at creating such illusions than the lab of Henrik Ehrsson in Sweden’s Karolinska Institute. In a typical experiment, a volunteer is being stroked while wearing a virtual reality headset. She’s lyng down and looking at her feet, but she doesn’t see them. Instead, the headset shows her the legs of a mannequin lying next to her.

As she watches, Bjorn van der Hoort, one of Ehrsson’s former interns, uses two rods to stroke her leg, and the leg of the mannequin, at the same time. This simple trick creates an overwhelming feeling that the mannequin’s legs are her own.  If the legs belong to a Barbie, she feels like she’s the size of a doll. If the legs are huge, she feels like a 13-foot giant.

Van der Hoort performed this illusion on almost 200 people. Questionnaires revealed that they did indeed think of the mannequins as their own body parts. Familiar objects didn’t break the spell. When van der Hoort threatened the mannequins’ legs with a knife, the volunteers’ skin broke into a worried sweat, as if their real bodies were in danger. If he touched the doll’s legs with a pencil or his finger, the recruits thought they were being prodded by giant objects. Rather than feeling like dolls in a normal world, they felt like normal people in a giant world.

Ehrsson’s group have spent the last several years developing several similar illusions, all using headsets and synchronous stroking. They have convinced people that they’re having out-of-body experiences, fooled people into thinking that they have swapped bodies with a person of the opposite gender or a mannequin, and convinced people that they have three arms. The illusions are amusing, but this is serious work – each one reveals something new about our sense of self, and how we know that we own our bodies. Fooling people into thinking that they’re dolls or giants was just the start. The team used the illusion to show that our size affects the way we see other objects. Read more on The Alice Illusion – scientists convince people that they’re dolls or giants…

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Job: HCI position at University of Bristol

We are currently advertising for a lectureship in HCI at the University of Bristol (equivalent of assistant professor).

Applicants who can complement our existing research expertise in human-hardware interaction, novel interactive devices, tangible user interfaces and electronic interaction design are particularly welcome.

You will have substantial academic experience, an emerging international reputation and a proven track record for innovation and research leadership. A solid track record of collaboration with researchers and practitioners in the arts, humanities and social sciences would be welcome to complement our work across the University and the wider Bristol community in creative technologies. Read more on Job: HCI position at University of Bristol…

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The effects of technology-mediated experience: Rediscovering the ‘real’ world

[From Washington state’s Enumclaw Courier Herald]

WALLY’S WORLD: It’s amazing how fresh the real world sounds

By Wally Duchateau
Enumclaw Courier Herald Columnist
May 26 2011

Today I’d like to address the younger set, if any of them happen to read these columns.  Say, those men and women younger than 25 years of age.

Among the springtime deluge of rain storms, thunder storms and flash floods, you might have noticed — for the briefest instant — a trace of sunlight. During those dazzling moments, you may also have sensed a desire to get out of the house, your place of work, your car or whatever, and actually feel the sun’s warmth. Do it! And in so doing, leave all your technological goodies behind, including your cell phone. Should an emergency arise, this might prove quite inconvenient and even devastating, but gamble on this. Shed all your latest, high-tech devices and step outside without any intervening or secondary contraptions.

Walking about the world in such a naked state may come as quite a jolt, mentally and physically, but rest assured, you have nothing to fear. All your usual bodily functions (respiration, circulation, digestion, etc.) will continue to work.

One of the first things you’ll notice is how real everything is. Read more on The effects of technology-mediated experience: Rediscovering the ‘real’ world…

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Call: IEEE International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality (ISMAR 2011)

Call for Participation

The 10th IEEE International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality (ISMAR 2011)

26-29 October 2011
Basel, Switzerland

Full Call: CFP_ISMAR_2011.pdf

More information:

Mixed Reality (MR) and Augmented Reality (AR) allow the creation of fascinating new types of user interfaces, and are beginning to show significant impact on industry and society. The field is highly interdisciplinary, bringing together signal processing, computer vision, computer graphics, user interfaces, human factors, wearable computing, mobile computing, computer networks, displays, sensors, to name just some of the most important influences. MR/AR concepts are applicable to a wide range of applications. Since 1998, ISMAR and its forerunner events, IWAR/ISAR and ISMR, have been the premier forums in this vital field.

This year we are proud to present the 2011 IEEE International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality (ISMAR 2011). The symposium will be held on Oct. 26 – 29, 2011 at Messe Basel, in Basel, Switzerland. We invite you all to participate in this great event for the exchange of new ideas in this exciting field. Read more on Call: IEEE International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality (ISMAR 2011)…

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Virtual outdoors to aid patient recovery, reduce pain levels


[Image: Dartmoor National Park, UK]

VR Greenery Aid to Convalescence

May 25, 2011

University scientists are seeking to take virtual reality to a new level – with a view to helping sick people who cannot get access to the outside world. The researchers in Birmingham plan their new worlds to be “sensorily rich”.

They are using large screen TVs, video projectors and head mounted displays to create virtual versions of soothing rural and coastal scenes. The initial development is re-creating a stretch of the coastline of south Devon and an area within Dartmoor National Park.

The developers say there is research evidence that exposure to greenery, such as trees, can improve patient recovery and reduce pain levels. Tests on volunteers are due to start later this summer. Read more on Virtual outdoors to aid patient recovery, reduce pain levels…

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Call: 1st International Workshop on Pervasive Eye Tracking and Mobile Eye-Based Interaction (PETMEI 2011)


PETMEI 2011 – 1st International Workshop on Pervasive Eye Tracking and Mobile Eye-Based Interaction

September 18, 2011 in Beijing, China

in conjunction with the
13th International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing (UbiComp 2011)

Recent developments in mobile eye tracking equipment and automated eye movement analysis point the way toward unobtrusive eye-based human-computer interfaces that are pervasively usable in everyday life. We call this new paradigm pervasive eye tracking – continuous eye monitoring and analysis 24/7. The potential applications for the ability to track and analyse eye movements anywhere and any time call for new research to further develop and understand visual behaviour and eye-based interaction in daily life settings.

PETMEI 2011 will focus on pervasive eye tracking as a trailblazer for mobile eye-based interaction and eye-based context-awareness. We provide a forum for researchers from human-computer interaction, context-aware computing, and eye tracking to discuss techniques and applications that go beyond classical eye tracking and stationary eye-based interaction. We want to stimulate and explore the creativity of these communities with respect to the implications, key research challenges, and new applications for pervasive eye tracking in ubiquitous computing. The long-term goal is to create a strong interdisciplinary research community linking these fields together and to establish the workshop as the premier forum for research on pervasive eye tracking. Read more on Call: 1st International Workshop on Pervasive Eye Tracking and Mobile Eye-Based Interaction (PETMEI 2011)…

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Telepresence robots go airborne

[From New Scientist’s One Per Cent blog, where the post features a 1:17 minute video]

Telepresence robots go airborne

12 May 2011
Jim Giles, contributor, Vancouver, Canada

Picture the scene: your boss phones to say he is working from home. A calm descends over the office. Workers lean back in their chairs. Feet go up on desks – this shift is going to be pretty chilled.

Suddenly, a super-sized video feed of your boss, projected onto to the front of a helium-filled balloon equipped with a loudspeaker, floats silently into the room and starts issuing orders from above your head. Not such a good day.

This blimp-based boss, which brings to mind the all-seeing Big Brother of George Orwell’s 1984, is the creation of Tobita Hiroaki and colleagues at Sony Computer Science Laboratories in Tokyo. Its eerie quality hasn’t escaped Hiroaki – he says that his colleagues described the experience of talking to a metre-wide floating image of a co-worker as “very strange”.

The project does have some non-sinister applications. It’s part of a wider movement aimed at making “telepresence” possible. Read more on Telepresence robots go airborne…

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Call: Visualisations and Simulations Symposium

Visualisations and Simulations Symposium

Date: 16-17 June 2011
Duration: 2 days
Venue: Anatomy Theatre & Museum, King’s College London

The popular use of three dimensional models for visually representing information in archaeology, historic buildings, cultural heritage organisations, and academic research has created new challenges for managing and preserving such material. The two-day symposium on Visualisations and Simulations will provide a forum for participants to review and discuss the latest developments in the field, witness real-life case studies, and engage in networking activities. The symposium will promote discussion of the following key topics:

Read more on Call: Visualisations and Simulations Symposium…

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Sharp and NHK develop “VR-like” 85-inch, direct-view LCD for Super Hi-Vision broadcast format

[A press release from Sharp; a 1:24 minute video is available here]

Sharp and NHK Successfully Develop 85-Inch Direct-View LCD
Compatible with Super Hi-Vision, a World First*1

NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) (Shibuya Ward, Tokyo; President: Masayuki Matsumoto) and Sharp Corporation (Abeno Ward, Osaka; President: Mikio Katayama) have jointly developed an 85-inch LCD compatible with Super Hi-Vision, a next-generation television broadcast format. This is a world first for a direct-view display. Read more on Sharp and NHK develop “VR-like” 85-inch, direct-view LCD for Super Hi-Vision broadcast format…

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