ISPR Presence News

Monthly Archives: August 2012

Call: International Conference on Agents and Artificial Intelligence – ICAART 2013


5th International Conference on Agents and Artificial Intelligence – ICAART 2013

February 15 – 18, 2013
Barcelona, Spain

Important Deadlines:

Regular Paper Submission: September 4, 2012 (extended)
Authors Notification (regular papers): October 24, 2012
Final Regular Paper Submission and Registration: November 14, 2012

Sponsored by:

INSTICC- Institute for Systems and Technologies of Information, Control and Communication

INSTICC is Member of:
fiPa- Foundation for Intelligent Physical Agents
WfMC- Workflow Management Coalition
OMG- Object Management Group

In Cooperation with:

AAAI- Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence

The purpose of the 5th International Conference on Agents and Artificial Intelligence (ICAART) is to bring together researchers, engineers and practitioners interested in the theory and applications in these areas. Two simultaneous but strongly related tracks will be held, covering both applications and current research work within the area of Agents, Multi-Agent Systems and Software Platforms, Distributed Problem Solving and Distributed AI in general, including web applications, on one hand, and within the area of non-distributed AI, including the more traditional areas such as Knowledge Representation, Planning, Learning, Scheduling, Perception and also not so traditional areas such as Reactive AI Systems, Evolutionary Computing and other aspects of Computational Intelligence and many other areas related to intelligent systems, on the other hand.

A substantial amount of research work is ongoing in these knowledge areas, in an attempt to discover appropriate theories and paradigms to use in real-world applications. Much of this important work is therefore theoretical in nature. However there is nothing as practical as a good theory, as Boltzman said many years ago, and some theories have indeed made their way into practice. Informatics applications are pervasive in many areas of Artificial Intelligence and Distributed AI, including Agents and Multi-Agent Systems. This conference intends to emphasize this connection, therefore, authors are invited to highlight the benefits of Information Technology (IT) in these areas. Ideas on how to solve problems using agents and artificial intelligence, both in R&D and industrial applications, are welcome. Papers describing advanced prototypes, systems, tools and techniques and general survey papers indicating future directions are also encouraged. Papers describing original work are invited in any of the areas listed below. Accepted papers, presented at the conference by one of the authors, will be published in the Proceedings of ICAART with an ISBN. A book with the best papers of the conference will be published by Springer-Verlag. Acceptance will be based on quality, relevance and originality. Both full research reports and work-in-progress reports are welcome. There will be both oral and poster sessions.

Special sessions, dedicated to case-studies and commercial presentations, as well as tutorials dedicated to technical/scientific topics are also envisaged: companies interested in presenting their products/methodologies or researchers interested in holding a tutorial are invited to contact the conference secretariat. Additional information can be found at Read more on Call: International Conference on Agents and Artificial Intelligence – ICAART 2013…

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Minnesota school district uses telepresence to offer low-demand subjects


[Image: Anoka-Hennepin school district technical support staffers interact from Andover High School with teachers at Blaine High School on the large wall monitors in a telepresence technology presentation Aug. 23, 2012. (Pioneer Press: John Doman)]

Anoka-Hennepin ‘telepresence’ allows low-demand subjects to be offered

By Sarah Horner

A handful of classrooms in Anoka-Hennepin high schools might appear equipped for surveillance rather than teaching to students returning from summer vacation next week.

Six giant flat-screens span the space where a podium might otherwise be, and long, semi-circular tables outfitted with built-in microphones stand in place of traditional desks. The rest of the space is empty, devoid of even a single poster on the walls.

They are Anoka-Hennepin’s new “telepresence” classrooms, spaces designed to overcome the limits posed by location and resources within districts.

“It’s exciting,” said Jeff McGonigal, the associate superintendent of high schools. “This gives us all kinds of new opportunities in education.” Read more on Minnesota school district uses telepresence to offer low-demand subjects…

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Call: Workshop on “The Social Car” (socially-inspired C2X interaction)

WORKSHOP “The Social Car” (socially-inspired C2X interaction)

Portsmouth, NH, USA; October 17th 2012
colocated with AutomotiveUI 2012 (

Workshop website:|
Submission deadline extended to: September 3rd, 2012 (firm)


This workshop aims at discussing the potential of cars’ socializing one with the other (similar to how humans are exchanging information), and not just translating the Internet of things (IoT) paradigm into the car domain. With the introduction of the concept of “social cars” we attempt to make a blueprint of next generation in-vehicle technologies.

This is different from what the Internet of things (IoT) community is talking about in the sense that IoT is sufficient if it has its own ID that could be passively identifiable, whereas social cars have more autonomous capability, so they could serve as a more active and even interactive social being.

The central objective is to provoke an active debate on the adequacy of the concept of socializing cars, addressing questions such as who can communicate what, when, how, and why? To tackle these questions we would like to invite researchers to take part in an in-depth discussion of this timely, relevant, and important field of investigation. Read more on Call: Workshop on “The Social Car” (socially-inspired C2X interaction)…

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Virtual reality lets amputees train with a prosthesis

[From New Scientist’s One Per Cent blog; more information, including additional images and a longer video, is available from The Vienna University of Technology]

Virtual reality lets amputees train with a prosthesis

24 August 2012
Douglas Heaven, reporter

Even Oscar Pistorius had to learn to walk before he could run. But learning to live with a prosthetic limb can be a difficult and frustrating experience.

To help amputees get to grips with a new prosthetic arm, the prosthesis manufacturer Otto Bock has teamed up with researchers from the Interactive Media Systems Group at the Vienna University of Technology in Austria to develop a virtual reality training environment called ProsthesisTrainer.

Wearing a VR headset and sensors to track arm movements, users can practise their control skills without risking damage to themselves or their surroundings. Training tasks include manipulating differently shaped virtual objects and learning how to adjust the force of a prosthetic hand’s grasp – if a virtual object is squeezed too firmly it explodes. The video shows the current prototype, but the researchers plan to add more complex scenarios in the next few months. Read more on Virtual reality lets amputees train with a prosthesis…

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Call: Communication Theory at 2013 Central States Communication Association (CSCA) Conference


Call for Submissions

2013 Central States Communication Association Conference

Kansas City Marriott Downtown

Kansas City, Missouri

Communicating the Possible

April 2 – April 7, 2013

The Communication Theory Interest Group welcomes submissions of competitive papers and panel proposals for the 2013 CSCA Conference. Any topic related to communication theory is welcome. We encourage submissions that not only focuses on the convention theme, “Communicating the Possible, but also on scholarship that highlights key intersections uniting communication scholars from varying areas of study and intellectual traditions.

Read more on Call: Communication Theory at 2013 Central States Communication Association (CSCA) Conference…

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More apps hope to turn smartphones into personal assistants

[From MIT’s Technology Review]

[Image: The first step in the “Choose Your Robots” process on the Happiness Engines web site]

Getting Your Phone to Give You a Hand

A growing number of apps hope to turn smartphones into personal assistants.

Rachel Metz
Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ever since last fall, when Apple introduced its genial voice-controlled personal assistant, Siri, on the iPhone 4S, there’s been a flurry of activity as other apps attempt to go beyond its limitations. Challengers include Evi (see “New Virtual Helper Challenges Siri“), which mimics some of Siri’s abilities for smartphones running Google’s Android software; Cue, an iPhone app that attempts to intelligently organize your day (see “A Personal Assistant Mines Your Life to Help Out“); and Google’s own Google Now Android software (see “Google Would Like to Sell You a Tablet“). Read more on More apps hope to turn smartphones into personal assistants…

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Call: Robot Hall of Fame 2012 Induction Voting

Robot Hall of Fame 2012 Induction Voting

The Robot Hall of Fame recognizes excellence in robotics technology worldwide and honors the fictional and real robots that have inspired and made breakthrough accomplishments in robotics. The Robot Hall of Fame was created by Carnegie Mellon University in April 2003 to call attention to the increasing contributions of robots to society.

The time has come to select the Robots that will take their place in the Robot Hall of Fame.

The finalists have been selected under four categories but we need your help to determine which robot will be inducted into the 2012 class of the Robot Hall of Fame. The categories are: Education & Consumer, Entertainment, Industrial & Service, and Research.

The final results will be announced at The Robot Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Oct 23, 2012 at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. Read more on Call: Robot Hall of Fame 2012 Induction Voting…

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Future of video gaming may lie in virtual reality

[From PC World New Zealand]

[Image: Oculus Rift-ready Hawken, to be released 12-12-12; a promotional video in which the creators specifically refer to presence is available at Vimeo]

Valve employee talks virtual reality gaming

David Daw | Monday, August 27 2012

The future of video gaming may lie in virtual reality. No, that’s not 1996 calling; its Valve Software’s Michael Abrash, a game industry legend and one of the minds behind Quake and Doom. Abrash recently sat down for an interview with Rock Paper Shotgun and shared his thoughts on the future of gaming and potential for VR technology to change how we play games.  One of the reasons the time seems right for VR to make a comeback is the Oculus Rift, a VR headset that’s got gaming luminaries like John Carmack raving and developers throwing money at it over on Kickstarter.

But what has Abrash really excited are all of the ideas we haven’t had yet. Abrash compared VR gaming to the dawn of first-person shooters and the widespread use of smartphones, events that didn’t just create new games but allowed for new ways of thinking about multiplayer and casual gaming. Once high-res, fully immersive headsets like Oculus Rift are regularly used by gamers, what kind of games can we create? Read more on Future of video gaming may lie in virtual reality…

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Call: BCS Specialist Group on AI: Artificial Intelligence in Action

REAL AI 2012: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

What can AI do for you and your business?

The BCS AI Specialist Group (SGAI) is pleased to announce a day on Artificial Intelligence in Action at the BCS London office on Friday October 5th, which we think will be an eye-opener for those who are not up to date with recent practical developments in this important field. Read more on Call: BCS Specialist Group on AI: Artificial Intelligence in Action…

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Skype-based telepresence robot is “Botiful” to behold

[From Gizmag, where the story includes additional images; note the ‘bonus’ demonstration in the last 20 seconds of the Kickstarter video]

Skype-based telepresence robot is “Botiful” to behold

By Ben Coxworth
July 24, 2012

Telepresence robots are definitely a neat idea – they allow users not only to interact with people in remote locations, but they also (in some cases) let those users wander around those locations from “within” the robot, its camera and microphone acting as their eyes and ears. While such robots have so far been relatively expensive, California-based inventor Claire Delaunay wants to change that. She hopes to sell her tiny Botiful telepresence robot for just US$299.

Botiful works with Android smartphones. It holds them with a magnet in a receptacle on its back, and communicates with them using Bluetooth or a cable. It has three wheels on the bottom, allowing the person speaking through it to move it forward, backward, left or right. They can also tilt the phone up or down, so they’re not just stuck looking straight ahead.

Although the robot can be used as a stand-alone device, it is designed to be used with Skype. When people place a Skype video call to a Botiful-owner, they will see a set of directional controls appear on their screen. These will allow them to control the robot in order to follow the speaker, or – should the ‘bot be sitting on a table surrounded by people, for instance – to wander around and visit with everyone. Read more on Skype-based telepresence robot is “Botiful” to behold…

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