ISPR Presence News

Monthly Archives: February 2014

Call: SICSA Speech Technology and Human Computer Interaction Workshop

Speech Technology and Human Computer Interaction Workshop
Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA)

March 27th 2014
Edinburgh, Scotland

Speech is becoming more common as an interaction modality, through its use as the principal means of interaction for Siri, Google Now and Google Glass and other commercially available devices. Over the years significant effort has been expended developing systems and solving issues in speech recognition, synthesis, and natural language processing leading to robust solutions in these areas. Yet there is currently a lack of attention on this modality from an HCI perspective. This SICSA workshop aims to harness the expertise in Scotland and the UK in these areas by bringing together researchers, students, practitioners and technologists from diverse fields (psychologists, linguistics, computer scientists, speech technologists, HCI researchers) from academia and industry to explore the nature of speech-based human-computer interactions and opportunities for cross disciplinary collaboration on mutual challenges.

The Event

The event will commence at 09:00 on the 27th March 2014 and will take place at the Informatics Forum at the University of Edinburgh. Read more on Call: SICSA Speech Technology and Human Computer Interaction Workshop…

Posted in Calls | Leave a comment

Virtual reality headset helps Navy simulate future workspaces

[From GCN; follow the links for more information and images]

BlueShark helm control interface

[Image: An interface for helm control of a ship. Note the position of his hands, floating above the controls a la Minority Report rather than touching them directly. From The Verge.]

Virtual reality headset helps Navy simulate future workspaces

By Kathleen Hickey
Feb 18, 2014

The Office of Naval Research’s Project BlueShark is an effort to create a high-tech, futuristic environment to demonstrate what the Navy’s workspaces might look like and what emerging innovative technologies might provide in the next decade.

BlueShark was developed by the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT) with funding from ONR and includes “virtual and augmented reality, virtual humans, artificial intelligence and human-computer interfaces,” said ICT. The project’s virtual reality technology would give ship operators a 3-D view of their environments, particularly useful in combat situations that could include moving ships, submarines, aircraft, missiles, torpedoes and depth charges. Read more on Virtual reality headset helps Navy simulate future workspaces…

Posted in Presence in the News | Leave a comment

Call: Chapters for ‘Handbook on 3D3C Virtual Worlds’

Call for Book Chapters: Handbook on 3D3C Virtual Worlds
Applications, Technologies and Policies for Three Dimensional Systems for Community, Creation and Commerce

Editor: Prof. Yesha Sivan, JVWR Managing editor; Metaverse Labs Ltd.
Publisher: Springer-Verlag, Germany


The field of virtual worlds / Augmented Reality / 3D / etc. is vast, interconnected and expanding. In that respect, “3D3C Worlds” is defined as a combination of four factors:

  • 3D stands for the three dimensional representation of worlds as seen in Google Earth, Augmented Reality, 3D printing and the like;
  • Community as in a collection of people work, play and act together. Consider Facebook and Twitter as one example, and enhance it by the dynamics of World of Warcraft guilds;
  • Creation is the ability to create new artifacts, as seen for example in Second Life or in Open Source movement;
  • Commerce is the ability to harness these previous factors to gain monetary real value (consider Bitcoin, exchanges, etc.)

Objective of the Book:

  • Become the official “handbook” on 3D3C Virtual Worlds
  • Highlight and enhance some earlier work conducted for the Journal
  • Further advance and augment the field with “topical reviews”

A “topical review” means a review of a corpus of knowledge of one aspect of the field. It can be a classic literature review, a more formal statistical meta-analysis or other forms suggested by authors. Read more on Call: Chapters for ‘Handbook on 3D3C Virtual Worlds’…

Posted in Calls | Leave a comment

A new way to test whether the universe is a simulation

[A change of pace – the ultimate form of (tele)presence; this is from The New York Times]

Art by Olimpia Zagnoli

[Image: Art by Olimpia Zagnoli]

Is the Universe a Simulation?

Feb. 14, 2014
By Edward Frenkel

In Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel “The Master and Margarita,” the protagonist, a writer, burns a manuscript in a moment of despair, only to find out later from the Devil that “manuscripts don’t burn.” While you might appreciate this romantic sentiment, there is of course no reason to think that it is true. Nikolai Gogol apparently burned the second volume of “Dead Souls,” and it has been lost forever. Likewise, if Bulgakov had burned his manuscript, we would have never known “Master and Margarita.” No other author would have written the same novel.

But there is one area of human endeavor that comes close to exemplifying the maxim “manuscripts don’t burn.” That area is mathematics. If Pythagoras had not lived, or if his work had been destroyed, someone else eventually would have discovered the same Pythagorean theorem. Moreover, this theorem means the same thing to everyone today as it meant 2,500 years ago, and will mean the same thing to everyone a thousand years from now — no matter what advances occur in technology or what new evidence emerges. Mathematical knowledge is unlike any other knowledge. Its truths are objective, necessary and timeless.

What kinds of things are mathematical entities and theorems, that they are knowable in this way? Do they exist somewhere, a set of immaterial objects in the enchanted gardens of the Platonic world, waiting to be discovered? Or are they mere creations of the human mind?

This question has divided thinkers for centuries. It seems spooky to suggest that mathematical entities actually exist in and of themselves. But if math is only a product of the human imagination, how do we all end up agreeing on exactly the same math? Some might argue that mathematical entities are like chess pieces, elaborate fictions in a game invented by humans. But unlike chess, mathematics is indispensable to scientific theories describing our universe. And yet there are many mathematical concepts — from esoteric numerical systems to infinite-dimensional spaces — that we don’t currently find in the world around us. In what sense do they exist?

Many mathematicians, when pressed, admit to being Platonists. The great logician Kurt Gödel argued that mathematical concepts and ideas “form an objective reality of their own, which we cannot create or change, but only perceive and describe.” But if this is true, how do humans manage to access this hidden reality?

We don’t know. But one fanciful possibility is that we live in a computer simulation based on the laws of mathematics — not in what we commonly take to be the real world. According to this theory, some highly advanced computer programmer of the future has devised this simulation, and we are unknowingly part of it. Thus when we discover a mathematical truth, we are simply discovering aspects of the code that the programmer used. Read more on A new way to test whether the universe is a simulation…

Posted in Presence in the News | Leave a comment

Call: ACM Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces 2014

Call for Participation: Papers & Notes
ACM Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces 2014
Dresden, Germany, November 16-19

Sponsored by the ACM’s special interest group on computer-human interaction (SIGCHI), ITS has been established as a premier venue for research in the design, development and use of new and emerging interactive surface technologies. This year’s conference will be held at the Hilton Hotel right in the heart of beautiful Dresden, Germany from Nov. 16-19, 2014.

ITS 2014 welcomes original, high-quality research and industry contributions that advance the state-of-the-art in the area of interactive surfaces (including tabletops, large displays, mobile, and mini devices). We embrace innovations in a wide variety of areas including design, software, hardware, understanding of use, and applications or deployments of interactive surfaces. Read more on Call: ACM Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces 2014…

Posted in Calls | Leave a comment

Teacher holds class via tablet as she sits in Pennsylvnia Turnpike gridlock

[From, with an addendum from NBC News]

Teacher in class via Facetime

[Image: AP European History students at the Hun School in Princeton facetime with their teacher.]

Hun School teacher holds class via tablet as she sits in Pa. Turnpike gridlock

By Alyssa Mease/The Times of Trenton
on February 15, 2014

PRINCETON [New Jersey] – After missing multiple school days because of snow this winter, Hun School history teacher Lynn McNulty wasn’t going to let a series of chain-reaction car crashes and a miles-long traffic jam on the Pennsylvania Turnpike yesterday keep her from school another day.

“I was probably about two miles back from the big, serious pileup, but there were accidents all around,” McNulty said yesterday. “And I was like, ‘Oh this is bad.’”

After sitting in the stand-still for about an hour at the Willow Grove exit on the turnpike and live-streaming a news program on her cell phone, McNulty realized her chances of getting to school in time to teach her advanced placement European history class were not good. So she posted a message to her class through the school’s internal communications system, telling them to contact her via video chat when they got in.

Bridging a distance of miles through technology, McNulty yesterday used the school’s electronic resources and her tablet computer to teach her class from her car that was stopped on the turnpike, which was shut down for hours because of an initial 25-vehicle pileup around 8:30 a.m. in the eastbound lanes between Willow Grove and Bensalem and Willow Grove, according to Read more on Teacher holds class via tablet as she sits in Pennsylvnia Turnpike gridlock…

Posted in Presence in the News | Leave a comment

Call: ET4S 2014 – 2nd International Workshop on Eye Tracking for Spatial Research

First Call for Papers

ET4S 2014 – 2nd International Workshop on Eye Tracking for Spatial Research
September 23, 2014 in Vienna, Austria in conjunction with the Eighth International Conference on Geographic Information Science (GIScience 2014)

Eye tracking has become a popular method for investigating research questions related to geographic information science. This includes studies on how people interact with geographic information systems and studies on how space is perceived in decision situations. Knowledge of how people perceive spatial information can help us, for instance, to design better maps and other spatial representations or to decide on the optimal placement of signage in indoor and outdoor environments. Recent technological developments in the area of mobile eye trackers have opened up new perspectives for their use in spatial research by allowing for studies outside the research lab, adding the user’s position as another aspect of the data.

Independent of this, the human computer interaction (HCI) community has been using eye trackers as input devices for building interactive systems that react to the user’s gaze. These gaze-aware assistance technologies are likely to change the way we will access and interact with geographic information in the future, especially as augmented reality glasses with integrated eye trackers will reach the mass market in the forthcoming years.

After the successful 1st International Workshop on Eye Tracking for Spatial Research (ET4S) at COSIT’13 we aim to bring together researchers from different areas who have a common interest in using eye tracking for research questions related to spatial information. The workshop should stimulate the exchange of ideas between the different areas, laying out a road-map for using eye tracking for spatial research. Read more on Call: ET4S 2014 – 2nd International Workshop on Eye Tracking for Spatial Research…

Posted in Calls | Leave a comment

A virtual reality train ride reveals a link between height and paranoia

[From Motherboard]

Virtual London Tube from height and paranoia study

A Virtual Reality Train Ride Reveals a Link Between Height and Paranoia

By Victoria Turk
January 29, 2014

As anyone who’s been to a gig and isn’t six feet tall has probably experienced, being surrounded by people taller than you—why does that always happen?—can be annoying at best, and kind of scary at worst. There’s a certain vulnerability that comes with suddenly feeling shorter than those around you. A paper published online today in the journal Psychiatry Research looks at part of this phenomenon, by investigating the relation between height and paranoia.

The study, which was led by researchers at Oxford University and funded by the Medical Research Council, found that being shorter made people feel more mistrustful of those around them. They came to this conclusion after a virtual reality experiment in which participants took two virtual rides on the London Underground; one at their own height, and one with their height artificially reduced by 25cm (about a head). They weren’t told that their line of sight had been lowered until after the study. Read more on A virtual reality train ride reveals a link between height and paranoia…

Posted in Presence in the News | Leave a comment

Call: 4th International Symposium on Communicability, Computer Graphics and Innovative Design for Interactive Systems (CCGIDIS 2014)

Call for Papers
Fourth International Symposium on Communicability, Computer Graphics and Innovative Design for Interactive Systems ( CCGIDIS 2014 )

Venice, Italy
May 22 – 23, 2014

ALAIPO :: Latin Association of Human-Computer Interaction ::
AInCI :: International Association of Interactive Communication ::

Communicability is the cornerstone for the success of the interaction among human beings and the technological (r)evolution in scientfic visualization, hypermedia online, virtual reality, augmented reality, etc., devices in which a huge part of humankind is immersed. In these devices there is a convergence and intersection of disciplines deriving from the formal and factual sciences. The main goal is to improve the interaction process with the new technologies on a daily basis.

Since its origins computer graphics has always been involved in the global village foreseen by McLuhan and has accompanied all the stages of the technological (r)evolution in the professional computer sector and telecommunications.

Today the variegated devices of massive consumption of microcomputers, deriving mainly from the educational and entertainment sectors, have already entered the era of tridimensional vision without using additional peripherals such as specialized glasses or virtual reality helmets. Evidently a new horizon is opening for on-line and off-line hypermedia systems contents, virtual and mixed reality navigation, biocomputing, etc.

In others words, in the current space of the 4th International Symposium on CCGIDIS 2014, we intend to set up a context of exchange of experiences, projects in their way of development and reflexion about theoretical aspects with the purpose of drawing guidelines for the future in the middle and long run. Read more on Call: 4th International Symposium on Communicability, Computer Graphics and Innovative Design for Interactive Systems (CCGIDIS 2014)…

Posted in Calls | Leave a comment

‘New level of immersion’: Video game knows when you’re scared — and gets scarier

[From Fast Company’s Co.LABS, where the story includes a 1:41 minute video. More information is available via the links within the article.]

Nevermind graphic

This Video Game Knows When You’re Scared–And Gets Scarier

The director behind the innovative video game Nevermind tells us why biofeedback is the new frontier in gaming.

By Joshua Rivera

In the future, horror games will know when you’re scared. And then they’ll get scarier. Proof: the currently-in-development horror-adventure game Nevermind, which just launched a Kickstarter campaign last week. The game pairs classic first-person exploration with biofeedback data from a heart rate monitor in order to tell when you’re scared and turn up the horror.

“In Nevermind, you get scared, you get stressed, and the world will punish you for giving in to those feelings,” says creative director Erin Reynolds, “But it rewards you for calming down by becoming easier.”

While biofeedback seems like a perfect fit for the horror genre, Reynolds believes that the technology is key to moving the video game medium forward as a whole, allowing for an entirely new level of immersion. Read more on ‘New level of immersion’: Video game knows when you’re scared — and gets scarier…

Posted in Presence in the News | Leave a comment
  • Find Researchers

    Use the links below to find researchers listed alphabetically by the first letter of their last name.

    A | B | C | D | E | F| G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z