ISPR Presence News

Monthly Archives: September 2011

Project makes navigating gigapixel photos more interactive and intuitive

[From PC World’s GeekTech blog; more information is in a post on MIT’s Technology Review Hello World blog]

Gigapixel Hack Makes Photos More Interactive

By Elizabeth Fish, PCWorld    Sep 7, 2011

Have you ever looked at a particulalry stunning photograph and wished you could really immerse yourself in it? A recent project attempts to do just that, with the help of a good camera, a hacked Kinect, and an Arduino board.

Samuel Cox, a university collegue of mine, recently held an exhibition for his postgraduate project, based on interactive photography. Sam invited the public to really explore the UK city of Lincoln and surrounding areas on a gigapixel picture (that’s 1,000 megapixels), and see if he could immerse more of people’s senses when looking at photographs. I went to check it out. Read more on Project makes navigating gigapixel photos more interactive and intuitive…

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ISPR News: Provisional programme for ISPR 2011 announced

The provisional programme for the upcoming ISPR 2011 conference in Edinburgh, Scotland has been announced and can be found below and on the conference web site here). Full details about the conference are here. Please join us!

Read more on ISPR News: Provisional programme for ISPR 2011 announced…

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Call: The UnSymposium 2011: Games, Play and Community


The UnSymposium 2011: Games, Play and Community

Friday, Saturday and Sunday, November 4-6, 2011.

Virtual Worlds Graduate UnSymposium is a community building event that provides opportunities for graduate students, alumni, and educators to share innovative practices, network with colleagues, and explore opportunities for professional development, enhancing research, teaching, and learning. This UnSymposium is particularly interested in works in progress, sessions that provide ample opportunity for symposiast participation, and cutting edge uses of technology in education, research, and virtual worlds.

The Theme for 2011 is Games, Play and Community.

This is a fully online, free conference. Conference location will be in Second Life, Jokaygrid, World of Warcraft and other locations based on speaker and participant request.

The Virtual Worlds Graduate UnSymposium welcomes graduate work, presentations, facilitated discussions and non-traditional presentations from everyone. Possible topics include (but are not limited to): Read more on Call: The UnSymposium 2011: Games, Play and Community…

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University of Maine students create virtual realities in campus lab

[From The Maine Campus; the VEMI Lab web site is here]

[Image: Richard Corey, VEMI Lab Manager, (left) and Timothy McGrath (right) take part in a virtual world in Virtual Environment and Multimodal Integration Lab, located on the third floor of Boardman Hall. Photo by Paul Perkins]

Students create virtual realities in campus lab

By Rachel Curit
Posted on Sunday, September 11th, 2011, 11:10 pm

Several University of Maine students are escaping the tedium of school on a regular basis, although classes began only two weeks ago, by plugging in to virtual realities.

Unlike students who may avoid the pressures of another semester through video games or movies, these students are able to create their own unreal experiences. They work in the university’s Virtual Environment and Multimodal Integration Lab, located on the third floor of Boardman Hall.

In August, Bill Whalen, a graduate assistant in the VEMI lab, posted a job ad for two undergraduate students with an interest in computer programming and coding. The positions were filled by students Jonathan Cole and Joshua Leger.

According to the VEMI Lab website, the primary responsibility for the positions is “writing code for experimental design and development of multimodal virtual reality or augmented reality environments to support lab-related research.” Preferably, candidates would be interested in fields such as human-computer interaction and 3-D animation. Read more on University of Maine students create virtual realities in campus lab…

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Job: Assistant Professor of Games at Michigan State University


Michigan State University
Assistant Professor of Games

The Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media at Michigan State University is seeking an innovative, dynamic individual to fill a full-time, tenure stream position at the assistant professor level in the field of games. Whether designed purely to entertain or to also achieve more “serious” purposes, games have the potential to impact players’ beliefs, knowledge, attitudes, emotions, cognitive abilities, physical and mental health, and behavior. The faculty member hired for this position is expected to engage in scholarship aimed at understanding and transforming games in meaningful ways.

Candidates will join an enthusiastic, multidisciplinary faculty and a program in game design and development that was rated #5 in the nation by Princeton Review in 2011.  Experience in the field may take the form of scholarly research and/or creative practice.  Expertise or experience in other disciplines is also welcome. Read more on Job: Assistant Professor of Games at Michigan State University…

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Psychoacoustics helps reproduce sound the way the brain prefers to hear it

[From The New York Times, where the article includes a multimedia feature; information about Audyssey’s latest product, Personal Surround, is available here]

[Image: Tyson Yaberg of Audyssey Laboratories listened to an experimental system at the University of Southern California. Audyssey’s goal is to make dens and living rooms sound like concert halls and movie theaters. Photo by David Ahntholz for The New York Times.]

Sound, the Way the Brain Prefers to Hear It

Published: September 5, 2011

LOS ANGELES — There is, perhaps, no more uplifting musical experience than hearing the “Hallelujah” chorus from Handel’s “Messiah” performed in a perfect space. Many critics regard Symphony Hall in Boston — 70 feet wide, 120 feet long and 65 feet high — as just that space.

Some 3,000 miles away, however, a visitor led into the pitch-blackness of Chris Kyriakakis’s audio lab at the University of Southern California to hear a recording of the performance would have no way to know how big the room was.

At first it sounded like elegant music played in the parlor on good equipment. Nothing special. But as engineers added combinations of speakers, the room seemed to expand and the music swelled in richness and depth, until finally it was as if the visitor were sitting with the audience in Boston.

Then the music stopped and the lights came on. It turned out that the Immersive Audio Lab at U.S.C.’s Viterbi School of Engineering is dark, a bit dingy, and only 30 feet wide, 45 feet long and 14 feet high.

Acousticians have been designing concert halls for more than a century, but Dr. Kyriakakis does something different. He shapes the sound of music to conform to the space in which it is played. The goal is what Dr. Kyriakakis calls the “ground truth” — to replicate the original in every respect. “We remove the room,” he said, “so the ground truth can be delivered.” Read more on Psychoacoustics helps reproduce sound the way the brain prefers to hear it…

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Call: Role-Playing in Games Seminar



April 10-11, 2012, University of Tampere, FINLAND

Role-playing activities are characterized by involving participants in as-if, simulated and pretend play actions and circumstances. This element can be found in numerous contexts from child’s play to training and research. The most common recreational role-playing games include tabletop role-playing games, live action role-playing games (larps) and massively multiplayer role-playing games (MMORPGs). Different forms of role-playing, pretend-play, and make-believe can be traced throughout human history.

Role-Play in Games seminar brings together researchers of role-playing and role-playing games. Submissions from a wide variety of research fields are welcome, as long as the findings have relevance for role-playing in games. Read more on Call: Role-Playing in Games Seminar…

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Sony unveils ultra high-definition 4K projector

[From Time magazine’s Techland blog, where the post includes additional information; the full Sony press release, which includes the claim that the product will “provide entertainment enthusiasts with a more immersive, engaging visual experience,” is here]

Sony Unveils Ultra High-Def 4K Projector: So Long 1080p!

By Matt Peckham on September 8, 2011

You’ve finally picked up a monster-sized high-definition 1080p flatscreen for your entertainment center, you’re plowing through your Blu-ray stacks of Lost or Friday Night Lights or Breaking Bad at a crisp, eyeball-thrilling 1920 x 1080 pixels, and then you see this: Sony’s launching a projector that’ll run at 4K, or 4096 x 2160 pixels.

Wait, what? 4096 wide by 2160 high? Isn’t that some kind of digital cinema format? Why yes, yes it is. In fact it’s the high-end of digital cinema formats. Most use 2K, or 2048 x 1080 pixels, only a tick better than your increasingly standard home theater’s 1080p, so 4K’s pretty much cutting edge. Films shot in 4K are fairly recent, too—think District 9, Knowing and The Social Network.

Meet Sony’s VPL-VW1000ES 4K, but don’t worry, you probably can’t afford one. Sony says it’ll ship this December for just shy of $25,000 (including installation). But oh what you’d enjoy if you had that sort of disposable income: a home theater front projector capable of displaying four times the resolution of HDTV. Read more on Sony unveils ultra high-definition 4K projector…

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Call: Computational Aesthetics in Games: Special issue of T-CIAIG

IEEE Transactions on Computational Intelligence and AI in Games (T-CIAIG)

Special Issue: Computational Aesthetics in Games

Special issue editors:
Cameron Browne, Georgios N. Yannakakis and Simon Colton

Deadline for submissions: October 28, 2011

AI research seeks to optimise the performance of artificial agents in their given domains, and in the area of games this does not mean simply making stronger opponents. We do not increase the player’s enjoyment of a game by beating them as quickly as possible, but by matching them at their level of expertise to engage them and provide an entertaining experience. While such aesthetic considerations are more difficult to quantify and measure than playing strength, they are becoming increasingly important as more consumer content becomes digitally created and tested.

Computational aesthetics in games covers a range of aspects from visual presentation and the elegance of the underlying mechanics, to less tangible aspects such as player engagement and enjoyment; a good game will provide a rich player experience and afford sensual, visceral and/or intellectual stimulation. We are seeing the emergence of game telemetry as a growing research area and the development of increasingly sophisticated tools such as biostatistical indicators of user engagement, yet much work remains to be done to maximise the true entertainment potential that is now available to game and AI designers.

The purpose of this special issue is to draw together the various aspects of computational aesthetics as they relate to AI in games, and to shed light on the relationship between game aesthetics and player satisfaction. It will explore questions such as: What exactly is beauty in a game? How do we measure this and use it to best effect? How do we make AIs more entertaining? We invite high quality work on any aspect of computational aesthetics in any genre of game, electronic or physical. Papers should be of a technical nature with claims backed up by experimental results or case studies. Read more on Call: Computational Aesthetics in Games: Special issue of T-CIAIG…

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How Microsoft researchers might invent a holodeck

[From Wired’s Gadget Lab blog, where the original post includes many additional images; also see the follow-up at Venture Beat here]

How Microsoft Researchers Might Invent a Holodeck

By Dylan Tweney
August 31, 2011

A few hundred yards away, in Hardware Studio B, the rubber gets a little closer to the road. An impressive, multistory curtain of LEDs hangs in the lobby, displaying some sort of interactive art that responds to movement and sounds in the space, while employees enjoy a game of pingpong. The rest of the building is more prosaic, with surplus computers stacked up in the unused back sections of long, windowless corridors.

It’s here that hardware engineers carve 3-D mock-ups, create prototypes, test and refine circuitry, and get products ready for the market. A high-concept idea that originates in the rarefied ideas of Building 99 (hey! wouldn’t it be cool if your computer were a giant touchscreen table?) may get turned into an actual product in the hardware studio (hello, Microsoft Surface).

Wired recently toured both buildings to see some of the work Microsoft scientists and engineers are doing to invent the computer interfaces of the future. Read more on How Microsoft researchers might invent a holodeck…

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