ISPR Presence News

Monthly Archives: February 2012

Call: Experiencing Digital Games: Use, Effects & Culture of Gaming (ECC 2012 Pre-Conference)



Pre-Conference to ECREA’s fourth European Communication Conference, ECC 2012 (Istanbul, Turkey)

23 – 24 October 2011

In the past decades, digital games have diversified into a broad range of forms each with their specific interactions and experiences: from rapid button mashing in shooter games to group chat in role-playing games, to wild dancing in party games and to actual running around in a city and engaging with the environment in location-based mobile games. Thus digital games have increasingly come to be seen as generators of experiences rather than just sources of mediated content. You do not just receive games, you live them!

Understanding digital game experience presents an important challenge for present-day communication research. Not just is there a plethora of different types of games, the very fact that an experience occurs between the player and the mediated content implies that characteristics of the user, device, (social) context and culture at large need to be taken into account. In this regard, traditional use and effects models from communication studies and media psychology have proven useful but still fall short in describing and mapping the specificities of digital gaming. Digital game-specific theories and analytical frameworks on the other hand have often had a hard time linking up with mainstream communication and media research as they are often perceived as too idiosyncratic for use beyond digital gaming.

The pre-conference “Experiencing Digital Games” aims to bridge this gap and open a vital discussion on the use, effects and culture of digital gaming. To enable a broad discussion on the gaming experience, different disciplinary approaches, methods and perspectives are welcomed, including production research, content analyses, effects and use research, cultural analysis, design-oriented approaches etc. Read more on Call: Experiencing Digital Games: Use, Effects & Culture of Gaming (ECC 2012 Pre-Conference)…

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TelyHD: Real bonding with family around the TV via Skype

[From AllThingsD via Telepresence Options, where the posts include a 3:58 minute video; other reviews are available at NewsFactor and TIME]

Real Bonding With Family Around the TV Via Skyp

Walt Mossberg
January 25, 2012

As you read these words, millions of people are conducting video chats using the popular Skype service, now owned by Microsoft. Most of these calls are low-resolution encounters between two individuals, conducted over personal computers.

This week, I tested a new device that aims to transform Skype video chats into room-size experiences, involving whole families or groups of friends on each end—seeing each other, chatting and sharing photos in high definition using TVs. It’s called telyHD, and comes from a small Silicon Valley start-up called Tely Labs. In my tests, it worked well. Read more on TelyHD: Real bonding with family around the TV via Skype…

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Job: 3-year Doctoral Studentships at Centre for HCI Design, City University London

Centre for HCI Design, City University London

3-year Doctoral Studentships
Closing date for applications: 9th March 2012

City University London is continuing its investment in academic excellence by offering up to 70 fully-funded, full-time, 3-year Doctoral Studentships for entry in October 2012.

Read more on Job: 3-year Doctoral Studentships at Centre for HCI Design, City University London…

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A mirrored installation lets you crawl up walls like Spider Man

[From Co.Design, where the post includes additional images]

A Mirrored Installation Lets You Crawl Up Walls Like Spider-Man

Bâtiment (Building)” uses simple mirrors instead of digital trickery to create a vertigo-inducing illusion.

By John Pavlus

Augmented reality! Kinect hacks! Enormous video projections! We’ve seen all kinds of wacky digital ways of making immersive, arty illusions. Here’s what we love about Bâtiment (Building) by Leandro Erlich: It just uses mirrors. To do what? How about float in midair, scale a building like Spider-Man, or defy gravity like someone in an Escher drawing (or David Bowie in Labyrinth). Is that “immersive” enough for you? Read more on A mirrored installation lets you crawl up walls like Spider Man…

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Call: Journal of Virtual Worlds issue on Law and Virtual Worlds

CFP Journal of Virtual Worlds Issue on Law and Virtual Worlds

A Special Issue edited by:
Melissa de Zwart, Adelaide Law School, Australia
Greg Lastowka, Rutgers School of Law-Camden, USA
Dan Hunter, New York Law School. USA

The Journal of Virtual Worlds Research ( is an online, open access academic journal that engages a wide spectrum of scholarship and welcomes contributions from the many disciplines and approaches that intersect virtual worlds research. The field of virtual worlds research is a continuously evolving area of study that spans across many disciplines and the JVWR editorial team looks forward to engaging a wide range of creative and scholarly work.

Motivation and Scope

This special issue will focus on legal questions generated by the creation, regulation and participation in virtual worlds. We are looking for papers that explore beyond the basics of ‘the magic circle’ (asserting that virtual worlds are immune from external laws and norms) and consider emerging legal issues that may encourage or inhibit the uptake of virtual worlds. In particular, we are interested in papers that adopt a multi-jurisdictional focus and which propose new ways that the legal issues may be approached by developers and regulators. Innovative and creative papers are encouraged. Read more on Call: Journal of Virtual Worlds issue on Law and Virtual Worlds…

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Distraction and presence in painkilling SnowWorld

[Excerpts from an article in GQ; an audio interview with the author is available from NPR]

[Image: Ari Hollander/Hunter Hoffman]

Burning Man

On his first tour of duty in Afghanistan, Sam Brown was set on fire by an improvised explosive device. He survived, only to find himself, like thousands of other vets, doomed to a post-traumatic life of unbearable pain. Even hallucinogen-grade drugs offered little relief, and little hope.

Then his doctors told him about an experimental treatment, a painkilling video game supposedly more effective than morphine. If successful, it would deliver Brown from his living hell into a strange new world—a digital winter wonderland

By Jay Kirk
February 2012


Hunter Hoffman hadn’t set out to help burn patients. As a cognitive psychologist—who had gotten his start back in the ’80s conducting experiments at Princeton to test the mind’s ability to discern between real and false memories—he had begun experimenting with virtual reality as a treatment for arachnophobes. Using a VR game he’d designed called SpiderWorld (see box), he had helped a number of individuals so crippled by fear that they had to seal up their windows to sleep. Outfitted with virtual-reality goggles, the patient began at the far end of a virtual kitchen, opposite the counter, upon which was a small, barely visible spider. Once the fight-or-flight response had subsided, the patient could inch closer until he could stand being close enough to see the spider’s reflection in the toaster’s chrome finish. Hoffman had created a world that people could enter, reemerging with their nightmares erased. It was an artificial world with the power to transform meaning itself in the so-often-insufferable sphere known as the real.

One day in 1994, a colleague of Hoffman’s told him he’d been observing patients at a burn center using hypnosis to control pain. His colleague wasn’t exactly sure how the treatment worked, but he thought it had something to do with distraction.

“Distraction?” Hoffman said. “I’ll show you distraction,” and he showed his friend SpiderWorld.

Not long after, Hoffman went to meet the hypnotist himself, who agreed VR sounded like a pretty good idea. On the very first burn patient they tried, SpiderWorld worked. He simply forgot to think about his pain. Still, stoves and toasters didn’t seem right, considering—kind of cruel, really. So Hoffman hired a world builder to make something else, something colder, fireproof. Read more on Distraction and presence in painkilling SnowWorld…

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Call: Craft Research



Dr Kristina Niedderer, University of Wolverhampton, UK

Dr Katherine Townsend, Nottingham Trent University


The final date for submission of contributions for the fourth issue is Friday 1 June 2012.

For guidance notes or further information, or to submit an article or review, please contact the editors or visit the journal’s website for details:,id=172/

Aims & Scope

Craft Research is the first peer-reviewed academic journal dedicated to the development and advance of contemporary craft practice and theory through research. The aim of Craft Research is to portray and build the crafts as a vital and viable modern discipline that offers a vision for the future and for the sustainable development of human social, economical and ecological issues. This role of craft is rooted in its flexible nature as a conduit from design at one end to art at the other. It gains its strength from its at times experimental, at times developmental nature, which enables craft to explore and challenge technology, to question and develop cultural and social practices, and to interrogate philosophical and human values.

Call for Papers

Craft Research aims to actively promote and strengthen this future-oriented role of the crafts. In order to do so, it recognises inter and cross disciplinary practices, and encourages diverse approaches to research arising from practice, theory and philosophy. It welcomes contributions from new and established researchers, scholars, and professionals around the world who wish to make a contribution to advancing the crafts. Contributions may include research into materials, technology, processes, methods, concepts, aesthetics and philosophy, etc. in any discipline area of the applied arts and crafts, including craft education. Craft Research welcomes a number of different types of contributions as set out below. Read more on Call: Craft Research…

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Petros Vrellis makes Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ interactive

[From The Huffington Post]

Petros Vrellis Makes Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ Interactive

Posted: 02/10/2012 4:08 pm

Imagine being Vincent Van Gogh. Imagine giving form to “Starry Night” with your hands. With the help of Petros Vrellis, playing the artist instead of the observer is now possible.

The Greek artist created an interactive template of “Starry Night” — through the use of open source C++ toolkit openFrameworks, Vrellis made a touch interface that allows the viewer to repaint the piece of art. Read more on Petros Vrellis makes Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ interactive…

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Call: Machine Question: AI, Ethics, and Moral Responsibility – AISB/IACAP Symposium

Machine Question: AI, Ethics, and Moral Responsibility

Symposium for AISB / IACAP World Congress 2012 – Alan Turing 2012

In recognition of the Turing Centenary, the Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and the Simulation of Behaviour (AISB) will convene a joint meeting with the International Association of Computing and Philosophy (IACAP) on 2-6 July 2012 at the University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK.

As part of this meeting, we are hosting a symposium titled The Machine Question: AI, Ethics, and Moral Responsibility. The symposium, which will take place 3-4 July 2012, seeks to bring philosophers, AI scientists, robotics engineers, and other researchers together in order to investigate and discuss the current state of and future possibilities for machine morality.  Questions to be discussed include:

  • What kind of moral claim might an intelligent or autonomous machine have?
  • Is it possible for a machine to be a legitimate moral agent and/or moral patient?
  • What are the philosophical grounds supporting such a claim?
  • And what would it mean to articulate and practice an ethics of this claim?

The Machine Question: AI, Ethics and Moral Responsibility seeks to address, evaluate, and respond to these and related questions. Read more on Call: Machine Question: AI, Ethics, and Moral Responsibility – AISB/IACAP Symposium…

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Man plays with dog from work with robotic surrogate

[From Geek-O-System via Telepresence Options;  a 4:55 minute video is available here]

Man Plays With Dog From Work With Robotic Surrogate

by Max Eddy | February 11th, 2012

Jordan Correa and his wife had a problem. Because they both worked full-time jobs, they weren’t able to spend time at home during the day with their new dog Darwin. Instead of painfully readjusting their lives, Correa did what any man with training in robotics and engineering would do: He built a telepresence robot surrogate that he could control from work to play with his dog. You know, the obvious solution. Read more on Man plays with dog from work with robotic surrogate…

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