ISPR Presence News

Monthly Archives: November 2013

Call: Advanced User Interfaces for Neurorehabilitation – Special issue of BioMed Research International

Call for Papers:
Advanced User Interfaces for Neurorehabilitation
Special issue of BioMed Research International
(formerly titled Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology)

A range of virtual (VR) and augmented reality (AR) based systems have been developed as novel and relevant tools in neurorehabilitation, allowing the implementation and exploration of rehabilitation treatment tools to complement and improve upon traditional methods.

In this special issue both medical and engineering aspects of these tools will be addressed in order to explore which type of solutions or research trends are currently active in this field and can support and/or extend current clinical and home-based rehabilitation practices.

Original papers presenting development studies and evidence for the effectiveness of technologies, devices, specific applications, and treatment methodologies will be in the scope of this special issue.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:… read more. “Call: Advanced User Interfaces for Neurorehabilitation – Special issue of BioMed Research International”

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Using VR (and presence) to reduce implicit racial bias

[A hopeful item for the day after Thanksgiving; it’s from BBC News, where the story includes additional information, pictures and a 2:53 minute video]

Participant seeing virtual self with dark body

Can virtual reality be used to tackle racism?

It’s an uncomfortable truth but scientists say most people have an ingrained racial bias. Now a team has shown that a short stint in a virtual world could reduce it, but could this have a longer lasting effect?

By Melissa Hogenboom BBC Click
27 November 2013

Racism is an issue that still pervades many societies.

In England and Wales, there have been 106 fatal racist attacks since the killing of teenager Stephen Lawrence in 1993 according to the Institute of Race Relations. It also reports thousands of racist incidents recorded by the police each year.

The issue is complicated by the fact that many biases are ingrained over long periods of time.… read more. “Using VR (and presence) to reduce implicit racial bias”

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Call: 7th Intelligent Narrative Technologies (INT) Workshop




  • Tentative Date & Location: June 18, 2014, Milwaukee, WI
  • ELO main conference submissions (not required for INT participation):
    • Abstracts for normal submissions: December 6, 2013
    • Virtual Festival of E-Literature First Encounters: February 1st, 2014

The Intelligent Narrative Technologies (INT) workshop series aims to advance research in artificial intelligence for the computational understanding, expression, and creation of narrative. Previous installments of this workshop have brought together a multidisciplinary group of researchers such as computer scientists, psychologists, narrative theorists, media theorists, artists, and members of the interactive entertainment industry. From this broad expertise, the INT series focuses on computational systems to represent, reason about, adapt, author, and perform interactive and non-interactive narrative experiences.

(INT)7, the seventh workshop in the series, will highlight both the computational and aesthetic aspects of narrative systems and the narrative experiences they create.… read more. “Call: 7th Intelligent Narrative Technologies (INT) Workshop”

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Phobia Free arachnophobia app given NHS seal of approval

[From E&T (Engineering & Technology), where the story includes a large photo gallery; the original press release is available from PRWeb and the App’s description in the iTunes store is here]

Spider from Phobia Free app

Arachnophobia app given NHS seal of approval

26 November 2013
By Edd Gent

An app that helps people overcome arachnophobia has been approved by NHS England to feature on its app library.

Phobia Free, designed by Virtually Free, helps to tackle people’s fear of spiders by exposing them to more and more realistic spiders over time, progressing from cartoon spiders all the way up to an augmented reality tarantula that looks and behaves like the real thing.

Following a review the app, which is available on iPad and iPhone, is now available on the Health Apps Library.  All apps featured in the library have been reviewed by NHS England to make sure they are clinically safe.… read more. “Phobia Free arachnophobia app given NHS seal of approval”

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Call: Peripheral Interaction: Shaping the Research and Design Space (CHI 2014 Workshop)

Peripheral Interaction: Shaping the Research and Design Space
One-day workshop at CHI 2014, April 26th or 27th in Toronto, Canada

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: January 10th, 2014
NOTIFICATION: February 1st, 2014

When interacting with the physical world around us we easily carry out small activities in our background or periphery of attention. Peripheral Interaction tries to transfer this to interaction with digital devices, to better embed them in our daily routines. This new interaction paradigm is based on diverse research areas (e.g. ambient information, implicit interaction, ubiquitous computing, calm technology) and addresses researchers, engineers, designers and practitioners in a number of disciplines. This one-day workshop will start with a keynote by Albrecht Schmidt entitled “Creating Seamless transitions between Central and Peripheral User Interfaces”. Through discussions, hands-on explorations and experiences, we aim at shaping the field of Peripheral Interaction based on both high-level discussions and practical interaction level experiences.… read more. “Call: Peripheral Interaction: Shaping the Research and Design Space (CHI 2014 Workshop)”

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Robot surgeons to operate on beating human hearts

[From Dezeen, where the story includes additional images]

MiroSurge robotic heart surgery system

Robot surgeons to operate on beating human hearts

18 November 2013
By Marcus Fairs

Robots could soon be operating on beating human hearts while a surgeon based in a different part of the world directs the procedure remotely, according to a designer working on a new generation of medical equipment.

The surgeon would see a static heart on a 3D screen and the robots would attune themselves to the heart’s movement, overcoming many of the risks of existing heart surgery techniques.

“Our ultimate ambition is robot-supported surgery on the beating heart,” said Tilo Wüsthoff, an industrial designer at German national aeronautics and space research centre DLR. “For the surgeon this means that he will see a virtually stabilised video picture of the beating heart. He can focus on his task while the robot follows the motion of the beating heart.”

Surgeons sitting at a remote console would use telemanipulation to control the robot arms, allowing sophisticated operations to be carried out using minimally invasive surgery (MIS) techniques that require minimal incisions in the patient’s skin.… read more. “Robot surgeons to operate on beating human hearts”

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Call: 19th Annual CyberPsychology & CyberTherapy Conference (CYPSY19)

19th Annual CyberPsychology & CyberTherapy Conference (CYPSY19)
Washington, D.C.
June 17-19, 2014

The 19th Annual CyberPsychology & CyberTherapy Conference (CYPSY19) will take place on June 17-19, 2014 in Washington, D.C..  Jointly organised by the Interactive Media Institute, in collaboration with the Virtual Reality Medical Institute, is organizing the International Association of CyberPsychology, Training, & Rehabilitation’s (iACToR), the conference is an international networking and sharing platform for researchers, clinicians, policy makers and funding agencies to share and discuss advancements in the growing disciplines of CyberTherapy & CyberPsychology.… read more. “Call: 19th Annual CyberPsychology & CyberTherapy Conference (CYPSY19)”

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Digital Taste Simulator lets users taste virtual food

[From The Telegraph, where the story includes a 2:07 minute video]

Virtual taste simulator prototype

[Image: A prototype of the Digital Taste Interface]

Electronic taste could allow television viewers to sample cookery show creations

Television viewers could soon taste the food produced by celebrity chefs on cookery programmes thanks to new technology that recreates taste electronically

By Richard Gray, Science Correspondent
21 Nov 2013

Watching celebrity chefs like Nigella Lawson or Gordon Ramsay whip up a culinary creation on television can set viewers’ taste buds tingling.

But now television viewers could soon be able to sample the food for themselves with the help of new technology that can electronically recreate tastes.

Scientists have developed a simulator that uses electrodes to stimulate the taste buds on the tongue to reproduce salt, sweet, sour and bitter sensations.

The Digital Taste Interface also uses subtle changes in temperature to alter the taste experience.… read more. “Digital Taste Simulator lets users taste virtual food”

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Call: Special issue of PRESENCE on ethics

Call for Papers: Special Issue of PRESENCE on Ethics

The Call is also available for download at the MIT Press webage for PRESENCE,

Guest Editors:
Michael Madary – Universität Mainz
Thomas Metzinger – Universität Mainz
Patrick Haggard – University College London

Virtual environments and teleoperation are introducing novel experiences into human societies, and these experiences can produce important ethical challenges, in addition to their engineering value. This special issue aims to address specific ethical issues arising with the use of virtual environments and teleoperators. These kinds of technology are increasingly used in research, military, and clinical applications, as well as in personal entertainment. The rapidly increasing use of these kinds of technology makes it imperative that the academic community, along with the general public, carefully consider the ethical implications of these technologies. For this special issue, we seek contributions which will identify and analyze new ethical issues, and/or develop ethical guidelines for use of such technologies.… read more. “Call: Special issue of PRESENCE on ethics”

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These photos are actually paintings

[Put another way, it’s hard to not misperceive the role of technology while viewing these images. The story is from Wired, where it includes a photo gallery of 11 paintings]

Oil painting by Yigal Ozeri: Untitled; Aquabella, 2011

[Image: Page 222 – Yigal Ozeri. Untitled; Aquabella. 2011. Oil on paper, 42 x 60″. Courtesy Abrams.

These Photos Are Actually Paintings

By Jakob Schiller

Louis K. Meisel likes to let you know that he doesn’t care for famous graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat’s paintings — which sell for millions of dollars — because he thinks they don’t show much skill.

“People don’t buy Basquiat’s work because they like what it looks like,” Meisel says. “It’s all a big distortion.”

What Meisel does like is a genre of painters called the Photorealists. They’re painters who take photos and then create realistic copies of the photos on canvas.

For decades he’s been collecting, selling and promoting the Photorealists and he’s also produced four different books that document this art movement.… read more. “These photos are actually paintings”

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