ISPR Presence News

Monthly Archives: November 2011

Call: Travel and Imagination

Travel and Imagination [1]

Edited by: Garth Lean, Russell Staiff and Emma Waterton (University of Western Sydney, Australia)

Like so many words associated with tourism, ‘imagination’ is an accepted though somewhat obdurate notion. We accept it because it is, after all, something that is central to our consciousness and perception, operating almost imperceptibly whether we are awake or asleep. But beyond this, imagination also takes up an endlessly complex form because the term is linked to a constellation of other phenomenon: dreams, make-believe, fantasy, memory and remembering, perception, the ‘mind’s eye’, understanding, world-views, learning, story-telling – in all its many forms – and so forth. It’s a shape-changing phenomenon and it’s utterly central to the human experience. Given this, we see it as a concept key to both our everyday lives and the idea of travel and tourism, producing both ‘imaginative travel’ and the ‘travel imagination’. Surprisingly, however, there is a dearth of published material focusing upon the links between the two.

This Call for Papers is an attempt to ‘plug’ the abovementioned gap and open up new and innovative explorations of travel and imagination. It seeks contributions that illustrate how imagination becomes a part of, informs, is informed by and/or is represented as an element of travel. Crucially, travel should not be read here as something that is limited to a conceptualisation centred on the ‘experience’ itself, but to any temporal and spatial boundaries the writer wishes to set. Read more on Call: Travel and Imagination…

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Retail in 2021: When clicks have buried bricks

[From ZDnet’s Tech Broiler blog]

Retail in 2021: When clicks have buried bricks

Summary: Ten years from now, virtually all shopping will take place at home.

By Jason Perlow | November 29, 2011

Edgewater, New Jersey.

Mindy Konsumer was in waking sleep when she heard the sound of birds tweeting. They progressively got louder, and louder and louder.

She pulled the covers over her head. “Ugh. Why did Josef set it to those horrible birds again instead of my wind chimes?”

“Bitch, deactivate the alarm. I’m up.”


“Prime me my standard double right now, Bitch. I’ve got some shopping to do first.”


Mindy was always cranky in the mornings. The first time Josef brought in their first Apple Siri iHome automation system and it woke her up it really pissed her off.

She’s been calling it “Bitch” ever since. The intelligent agent could care less now, but it originally asked her if she was upset. Now it was simply routine.

And at age 50, while she was exceptionally perky and fit, Mindy wasn’t getting any younger. Or patient. God, she hated the holidays.

Josef, her husband, had already woken up about an hour earlier. She walked out of the bedroom and past his office, where he was staring at the data streaming on his 4K wall displays and was barking orders on a three way conference call with the home office in Beijing and his traders in Mumbai. Read more on Retail in 2021: When clicks have buried bricks…

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Job: 1-year postdoc on “Laughing Virtual Characters” research at TELECOM ParisTech

Laughing Virtual Characters

The research is part of a European Project ILHAIRE. It is a 3 years FET-Open project whose main topic is laughter. Laughter is a significant feature of human communication, and machines acting in roles like companions or tutors should not be blind to it. So far very limited progress has been made towards allowing computer-based applications to deal with laughter.

ILHAIRE will lay the foundations of truly multimodal, multicultural laughter-enabled man-machine interaction, by associating experts of the different disciplines linked to this objective. Read more on Job: 1-year postdoc on “Laughing Virtual Characters” research at TELECOM ParisTech…

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Railworks Train Simulator 2012 and other “computerized railroading experiences”

[From Transportation Nation]

Choose Your Own Rail Adventure

By Matt Dellinger | 11/28/2011

“I remember the first time I saw a train go by,” a choked-up grown man says in the video trailer for Railworks’s Train Simulator 2012. He goes on, with a weepy nostalgia that rivals the treacliest Chevy commercial. “My dad took me to the crossing one hot summer evening….. I could see the engineer in his cab. Gotta be the best seat in the world.”

Though Amtrak ridership reached a record high, and House Transportation Chairman John Mica has recently warmed to the idea of Amtrak-led high speed rail in the Northeast, it looks like the American train renaissance that some were expecting may take a while. The government is tightening its belt, if you hadn’t heard, and new railroads aren’t exactly an easy sell. In the meantime, if you’re looking for some vicarious train enjoyment—or the perfect Christmas gift for that hard-to-shop-for uncle, nephew, or Amtrak-loving Vice President—you might consider a virtual-reality model train. Read more on Railworks Train Simulator 2012 and other “computerized railroading experiences”…

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Call: Workshop on Methods to Account for Values in Human-Centered Computing


Workshop on Methods to Account for Values in Human-Centered Computing
held in conjunction with the ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2012

Workshop website:


Position paper submission: January 3rd, 2012
Notification: February 10th, 2012
Workshop at CHI: May 5th or 6th, 2012


The overarching theme of this workshop focuses on methods to account for human values in information technology design. Participants will examine the current state of the art in methods for accounting for values in human-centered computing; analyze and document the benefits and drawbacks of current practices; and explore the factors that structure the incorporation of values of all types into the design process; and analyze and document the benefits and drawbacks of current practice. The workshop will focus on how established and emerging methods can be applied in different stages of human-centered design and combined with other design strategies. Moreover, the workshop aims to move beyond established methodological approaches, creating new methods and tools that will assist designers in the real world to more effectively design for human values. The workshop encourages participation from researchers from fields including, among others, human-computer interaction, user-centered design, requirements engineering, and applied ethics, as well as from practitioners working on user experience design (management) and related activities. Read more on Call: Workshop on Methods to Account for Values in Human-Centered Computing…

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“Jenny on the block” Fiat ad filmed with Jennifer Lopez a continent away

[From The New York Times’ Media Decoder blog, where the post includes two videos including the ad and additional images]

The Blogger Who Found Jenny Not on the Block

By Noam Cohen
November 24, 2011

A new ad featuring the pop star Jennifer Lopez behind the wheel of a Fiat 500 as she reflects on her Bronx upbringing may have done the impossible – shock a jaded public well accustomed to fakery in TV advertising.

The ad uses a body double for the scenes in the Bronx, which have been carefully spliced with material shot with Ms. Lopez in Los Angeles. As she drives, she reflects on the Bronx: “This is my world. This place inspires me to be tougher, to think faster. They may just be streets to you, but to me they are a playground.”

At the end of the minute-long ad, the body-double Jennifer Lopez hugs a young kid in front of a Bronx tenement.

The news about the ad spread via the muckracking Web site The Smoking Gun, which reported that a Los Angeles digital production studio was hired to make the editing look seamless.

But, as The Smoking Gun later noted, it was not the first to publish the news.

Ed Morales, a freelance journalist and author, had blogged about the ad shoot in October, after watching from his window in Mott Haven. For a Bronx shoot, the producers didn’t have to go far, he noted. He lives a block and half from the Willis Avenue Bridge, with Manhattan just on the other side.

“The whole neighborhood was aware of it,” he said in an interview. “I had no idea what it was, I first thought it was a movie shoot – but they didn’t have the big vans, the trailers.”

Of course, Ms. Lopez’s Bronx-ness – she was born in the Castle Hill section and attended Preston High School – is central to her public identity as “Jenny From the Block.”

Fiat’s statement confirming the body double was nonchalant: “In today’s world, people are increasingly mobile and their work takes them to a variety of locations. As a result, we took the opportunity to film wherever Ms. Lopez was working at the time to accommodate her schedule.” Read more on “Jenny on the block” Fiat ad filmed with Jennifer Lopez a continent away…

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Call: NAFEMS UK Conference 2012 – Engineering Simulation: Realising the Potential

NAFEMS UK Conference 2012
Engineering Simulation: Realising the Potential

Simulation has the potential to transform a company’s engineering processes – providing unprecedented insight into product performance and inspiring innovation by allowing novel concepts to be explored and evaluated.

NAFEMS, the independent association for the engineering analysis community, is holding its UK conference during 30-31 May 2012 with the primary aim of helping attendees realise the full potential of their engineering simulation and analysis. The 2012 NAFEMS UK Conference will explore the extent to which this potential has now been realised, and what more can be achieved. Read more on Call: NAFEMS UK Conference 2012 – Engineering Simulation: Realising the Potential…

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UMaine virtual reality lab creates simulated realities for navigation

[From The University of Maine’s Maine Campus]

[Image: Rob Stigile, Maine Campus features editor, tries on the Head Mounted Display at the VEMI lab. Photo by Jesse Scardina]

Get plugged in

UMaine virtual reality lab creates something from nothing

By Robert Stigile
Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Imagine you are in a Boston hotel room on the 20th floor when all of a sudden an explosion rocks the building, shattering glass and activating alarms of various kinds throughout the neighborhood.

This emergency scenario presents a multitude of barriers on the path to safety: blocked exits, hallways engulfed in flames, streets closed by safety personnel and widespread pandemonium of all shapes and sizes.

For now, you would have to depend on your own knowledge of the area to safely evacuate. In the future, however, a few punches on your smartphone’s screen could chart the path to salvation complete with detours around obstacles, whether indoors or out.

Researchers at the University of Maine’s Virtual Environmental and Multimodal Interaction lab are currently working on that problem, combining ideas similar to real-time GPS directions and Google Maps’ street view with computer-generated landscapes to assist users in navigating sometimes labyrinthine hallways. Read more on UMaine virtual reality lab creates simulated realities for navigation…

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Call: Symposium on “Enhancing Human Experience via Emerging Technologies”

Int’l Symposium on “Enhancing Human Experience via Emerging Technologies”, a CNRS project named “EpistHOMME+”

28 March 2012, Laval FRANCE

Young and old alike believe that the human experience could gain something if better informed about up-coming technologies. Learning about them at an early stage helps in making key decisions about one’s personal future. Although the approach is somewhat individual and devoted to those concerned, collectively oriented health and entertainment will gain from observing individual practices in the matter. Government policy incorporating emergent technology progress through monitoring will renew itself in a relevant way. However, in the name of progress people are increasingly willing to accept risk; the possible downfall of this movement is its ability to promote taking risks. But then again, could we or would we want to stop it? If we are to enhance the human experience, the pros and cons of each situation must be considered. Modifying or augmenting humans surely raises a certain number of issues. What are they? What aspect of life should one proceed to enhance? Which sectors or issues should become priority elements? Which academic disciplines are involved and why? What limits technological change? Does one have an acceptance threshold? If so, how would one express it? What are the long term implications of enhancement? Establishing a topology of possible applications and their contexts would be desirable for this symposium on enhancing members of our society. Read more on Call: Symposium on “Enhancing Human Experience via Emerging Technologies”…

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Researchers build computer monitor into contact lens

[From IT World’s CoreIT blog; a related story can be found in New Scientist]

Researchers build computer monitor into contact lens

It’s only one pixel, but it gets the image and power wirelessly, and didn’t hurt the rabbit

By Kevin Fogarty
November 22, 2011

There have been a million science-fictioney stories, movies, photos and late-night caffeine-psychosis-induced hallucinations imagining how super-mobile, universally connected and unrealistically convenient computing will be in 10 years, or 20 or 50.

None of them quite got past [the] barrier posed by the one component of any computer system that can’t shrink in size to a nanoparticle or circuit tattoo or even pocket-sized personal-area-network base module without eliminating its usefulness completely: the display. Read more on Researchers build computer monitor into contact lens…

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