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Monthly Archives: March 2013

Call: Computer Game Space – Concept, Form and Experience (Conference on Philosophy of Computer Games)

Call for Papers

7th International Conference on the Philosophy of Computer Games

Computer Game Space – Concept, Form and Experience

We hereby invite scholars in any field of studies who take a professional interest in the philosophy of computer games to submit papers to the 7th International Conference on the Philosophy of Computer Games, to be held in Bergen, Norway, October 2-4 2013.

Player experience and dynamics in computer games are structured around apparent spatial relations inside the gameworld. It is furthermore common to use spatial metaphors such as  “action space”, “possibility space”, “experiential space” to explain central aspects of these games. For this conference we invite papers that aim to clarify and critically evaluate views about the nature of spatial relations in computer games. The papers may address such questions as: Is space in games fictional or real? What is the nature of space in games if it is not fictional? What are the formal properties of space in computer games? What is the role of spatial relations in defining interactivity? What is the relation between in-game spatial orientation and ordinary spatial orientation?

Accepted papers will have a clear focus on philosophy and philosophical issues in relation to computer games. They will refer to specific examples from computer games rather than merely invoke them in general terms. Read more on Call: Computer Game Space – Concept, Form and Experience (Conference on Philosophy of Computer Games)…

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How one Russian millionaire wants to save the world… with immortal cyborgs

[From Digital Trends, where the story includes additional images]

Project Avatar milestones

How one Russian millionaire wants to save the world … with immortal cyborgs

By Andrew Couts — March 28, 2013

Dmitry Itskov has a plan to save humanity from impending doom. The question is whether we will still be “human,” if Itskov’s dreams come true.

At least, that’s one of the many, many questions.

The 32-year-old Russian mogul, who made his fortune as founder of the Web publishing company New Media Stars, is creator of the 2045 Initiative, a non-profit, and its Avatar project, which seeks to transpose human consciousness into artificial bodies within the next 30 years – cyborgs, in other words, a human-based singularity. It sounds outlandish, even impossible – the stuff of science fiction. But for Itskov, furthering human evolution by combining our consciousness with technology is not only possible, it is imperative; the only way to solve the crises that will one day face us all. Read more on How one Russian millionaire wants to save the world… with immortal cyborgs…

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Call: Technoethics and New Military Technologies – Special issue of International Journal of Technoethics

Editor-in-Chief: Rocci Luppicini, University of Ottawa, Canada
Published: Quarterly (both in Print and Electronic form)

Special Issue on Technoethics and New Military Technologies
Submission deadline: August 1, 2013
Guest Editor: Marcus Schulzke, State University of New York at Albany

New military technologies are transforming warfare, allowing wars to be fought at longer distances, with greater asymmetries of risk, and at higher speeds than ever before. Some of these technologies seem to mark radical new directions in the way wars are fought by upsetting traditional military roles and introducing entirely new domains of conflict. Emerging technologies of war create many pressing ethical challenges, which call for a serious examination of these technologies and a reexamination of existing standards for determining the justice and morality during war.

Many of the ethical challenges associated with new military technologies arise from how these technologies are designed. Some devices or techniques may seem to be intrinsically unethical or intrinsically better suited to waging just wars. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and other remote weapons allow their operators to carry out attacks from thousands of miles away, raising the question of whether these machines are essentially unjust or whether their power to carry out discriminate attacks makes their use ethically obligatory. Nonlethal weapons, cyberweapons, and nanoweapons likewise create new problems for determining what weapons can have an ethical use in war. Other challenges arise from how new military technologies are employed. Technological asymmetries that give some militaries substantial advantages over less developed opponents raise questions about fairness between combatants and whether risk asymmetry can be so extreme that it hinders ethical conduct. The use of advanced weaponry complicates ongoing debates about just war theory and military ethics, such as the debate over the morality of targeted killing, by changing the way attacks are carried out. Finally, new military technologies test the adequacy of the moral and legal concepts that are used to make normative sense of war. For example, new technologies and the techniques associate with their use strain conventional standards of determining combatant and noncombatant status by leading military personnel and civilians to play novel roles.

This special issue of the International Journal of Technoethics on “Technoethics and New Military Technologies” aims at exploring the many ethical issues surrounding the design and use of the many new technologies used to wage wars. Topics may include, but are not limited to, ethical issues relating to: Read more on Call: Technoethics and New Military Technologies – Special issue of International Journal of Technoethics…

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‘Virtual Exertions’ research uses muscle activity to move virtual objects

[From The Wisconsin Institute for Discovery at the University of Wisconsin–Madison; the story includes a 1:41 minute video]

Virtual Exertions research

‘Virtual Exertions’ research uses muscle activity to move virtual objects [VIDEO]

March 26, 2013
Marianne English

Today’s smartphones and computers offer gestural interfaces where information arrives at users’ fingertips with a swipe of a hand. Still, researchers have found that most technology falls short in making people feel as if they’re interacting with virtual objects the same way they would with real objects.

But a WID team says it has developed, for the first time, a way to move virtual objects in an immersive virtual reality environment through the use of muscle activity. In addition to making virtual reality more interactive and realistic, the research could have rehabilitation applications for people recovering from injuries or people living with specific disabilities. Read more on ‘Virtual Exertions’ research uses muscle activity to move virtual objects…

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Call: HCI 2013 (Annual Conference of the Specialist HCI group of the BCS)

You are invited to participate in HCI 2013, which will be hosted by the School of Information Systems, Computing and Mathematics at Brunel University, London in conjunction with the British Computer Society from Monday 9th September 2013 until Friday 13th September 2013

Some History

HCI 2013 is the 27th Annual Conference of the Specialist HCI group of the BCS, the BCS Interaction SG. Since its establishment in 1985, the conference has become the leading annual HCI conference in Europe. As well as being a leading venue for dissemination, the conference has a history of nurturing research careers- many of the leading HCI researchers published their early papers here and it is recognised for helping students and new academics as much as being a leading forum for established researchers. We want to carry on this well-established tradition into 2013.

Conference Theme

The conference will focus on “the internet of things” and the challenges it holds for HCI researchers. This should ensure that there are a variety of submissions. We believe this focus will show the diversity and richness of HCI research in the UK and Internationally for such a topical area of debate. Read more on Call: HCI 2013 (Annual Conference of the Specialist HCI group of the BCS)…

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Formula One fine tuning is now being driven by virtual reality

[From The Guardian]

Susie Wolff

Formula One fine tuning is now being driven by virtual reality

Williams’ Susie Wolff and double Le Mans winner Allan McNish explain how simulation is key to staying ahead of the pack

Gemma Briggs, The Guardian
Sunday 10 March 2013

When Albert Park opens for qualifying on Saturday morning, it is easy to imagine that Formula One headquarters around the world will be deserted of staff. Yet teams of engineers and drivers will be hard at work simulating race settings with the help of their virtual cars.

‘Sims’ are a key development tool in the arsenal of grand-prix teams from the top of the grid downwards. Susie Wolff has spent much of the winter ‘driving’ the sim used by Williams in the development of the FW35. “The main reason sims became so important is because of all the restrictions on testing,” she says. “I will not go into the small details, as I don’t want to give too many of our secrets away, but the simulator is very high tech.

“When you are strapped in your race seat it’s like being in the car. It’s 3D and simulates being on the race track. It’s a brilliant tool, the level of the graphics is so high, it’s almost bang on the same as the track.” Read more on Formula One fine tuning is now being driven by virtual reality…

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Call: Gaming Beyond Screens (Edited Book proposal)

Call for submissions for Edited Book proposal: Gaming Beyond Screens

We are currently seeking contributions to an edited collection on gestural gaming entitled Gaming Beyond Screens. In recent years there has been a surge of interest in digital games, platforms, and peripherals that employ gestural technologies. The Nintendo Wii, Rock Band, and Kinect are just some of the most popular examples in a long list of games and gaming devices that shift our attention away from the screen and towards bodies in motion. The phenomenon of gestural gaming raises a number of pressing questions for both academics and designers. For example, what are the implications of this shift in attention and how might it impact the conceptualization of interactivity and play? How can we theorize gestural gaming as an embodied, material, and social phenomenon? Where does gestural gaming intersect with other forms of physical activity, culture, and play? By treating gesture, and gestural gaming in particular, as an open-ended, generative, and multifaceted phenomenon, we aim to create a dialogue between theory and design that resists reducing gesture to any one of its many components. At the same time, we hope to provide valuable insight into the ontological and experiential space between gestural bodies and technologies.

Gaming Beyond Screens will incorporate a range of different approaches to gesture. These approaches include, but are not limited to, gesture as a material, embodied event, gesture as a socially constructed form of signification, and gesture as a personally, politically, and socially transformative act. The first instance is focused upon the material conditions and designed parameters that give rise to gestures, as well as the physical qualities of those gestures. The second primarily views gesture as emerging from the interplay of social practices, personal histories, and the cultural weight of moving bodies and technologies. The third investigates the potential of gesture to transcend or break down existing boundaries, creating moments of resistance and metamorphosis. These and other approaches may intertwine at various points throughout the collection, highlighting areas of intersection and overlap between different disciplines and fields of practice. Read more on Call: Gaming Beyond Screens (Edited Book proposal)…

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Volio partners with Esquire for app that turns any expert into a human Siri

[From The Huffington Post, where the story includes a 3:16 minute video]

Volio's Esquire app

Volio Partners With Esquire For App That Turns Any Expert Into A Human Siri

Bianca Bosker
Posted: 03/21/2013

A growing number of virtual assistants, like Siri, have charmed the world with their human characteristics — they can speak, crack jokes and even get mad.

But Volio, a startup headed by Nuance co-founder Ronald Croen, is flipping that idea on its head with technology that uses artificial intelligence to give humans the characteristics of virtual assistants. With Volio’s product, anyone from Oprah to Obama could be summoned instantly on a screen for a one-on-one chat about their area of expertise. It’s the face-to-face conversation, only automated, digitized and scaled. Read more on Volio partners with Esquire for app that turns any expert into a human Siri…

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Call: Embodied Engagement: Participatory And Immersive Performance (TaPRA 2013)

Call for Participation – TaPRA – 2013

Theatre & Performance Research Association (TaPRA)

University of Glasgow and The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS)
4th- 6th September 2013

Performance and the Body Working Group
Performance and New Technologies Working Group

Title: Embodied Engagement: Participatory And Immersive Performance

The Performance and the Body and Performance and New Technologies Working Groups are joining forces this year to explore different bodily, aesthetic, political, ethical and economical aspects of participation in the current performance milieu. In a performance context where hierarchies of participation are being reconfigured and traditional authorial claims are under stress, new articulations of spectator/performer reciprocity can no longer be disregarded. Focusing on audience experience, we intend to examine possibilities of participant (spectators and performers) agency and empowerment within different modes of performance transaction. According to Adrian Heathfield, contemporary performance has shifted aesthetically from ‘the optic to the haptic, from the distant to the immersive, from the static relation to the interactive’. The dialogue between the two Working Groups aims to explore the productive tensions between bodies and technologies in the development of this shift. The contested term ‘immersive’ is a rich, under-theorized concept which pulls in and works across distinct constituencies of performance. It calls upon diverse technologies to create its performance environments and promote active bodily engagement. Immersion both as an artistic intention and a perceived process is identified with concepts of viscerality, authenticity and immediacy. Yet the question remains as to how effective immersion can be in engaging audiences mentally, emotionally and corporeally. Proposals do not need to address both issues of bodies and technologies, but might consider the following issues, though these are not exclusive: Read more on Call: Embodied Engagement: Participatory And Immersive Performance (TaPRA 2013)…

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Dutch thriller App incorporates a synchronized second-screen application into the story line

[From Fast Company’s co.CREATE, where the story includes additional images; a subtitled version of the App trailer is available from]


The Second Screen Comes To The Movies With App-Enhanced Film, “App”

The new Dutch thriller App incorporates a synchronized second-screen application into the story line.

By: Paula Bernstein
March 15, 2013

It’s rare that moviegoers are encouraged to fiddle with their smartphones during a film, but that’s the case with App, the new Dutch movie directed by Bobby Boermans.

Before going to see the film, moviegoers are asked to download a free app (available for Android and iPhone) to enhance the plot, which involves a 21-year-old psychology student who becomes addicted to her smartphone following a tragic accident.

The App app uses SyncNow, a digital audio watermarking technology originally developed by Civolution to prevent illegal downloads.

“The technology uses the entire audio spectrum and embeds watermarks in it. The watermarks also drive the app that goes with the film. It talks to the speaker of your phone. Human beings can’t hear it, but your phone will,” explains Kees Abrahams, CEO of Imagine Nation, the global media company that created 2CFilm, the company that produced App and developed the app in partnership with Service2Media.

After deciding to incorporate the synchronized second-screen application, the filmmakers adapted the script, adding additional content and bits of story line for the app. But the team emphasizes that the app isn’t essential in order to enjoy the film, which will be released in the Netherlands on April 4.

“The movie works perfectly without the second screen. It’s a well paced thriller, but there are 35 moments in the movie when you can get additional information or content that will enrich the experience,” says Robin de Levita, chief creative officer, Imagine Nation. Read more on Dutch thriller App incorporates a synchronized second-screen application into the story line…

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