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Monthly Archives: May 2014

Call: 8th International Conference on the Philosophy of Computer Games: Freedom in Play


8th International Conference on the Philosophy of Computer Games:
Freedom in Play

Istanbul, 13-15 November 2014

Abstracts deadline: 15 August 2014

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 8th International Conference on the Philosophy of Computer Games, to be held in Istanbul 13-15 November 2014.

The concept of freedom is central in the shaping of game experiences and game cultures. It is a lens through which we can critically evaluate the philosophical, cultural and political relevance of computer games, as an art form and as a way of life. This year we especially invite papers that address the following areas of philosophical investigation:

  1. The nature of freedom in games. Which philosophical concepts can help us clarify ontological and metaphysical dimensions of freedom in games and gaming?
  2. The experience of freedom in games. How do we describe and evaluate specific experiences of freedom in play? Are certain types of freedoms in games artistically or ethically more desirable than others? In what way may such evaluations collide when people play together, especially in an on-line context?
  3. Games and existential concepts of freedom. In what ways are games capable of expressing truths about the human condition? Is there a way in which they are inherently more or less capable of expressing ethical and normative truths than cinema, photography or art? How do we account for the semantic underpinnings of how games can create this sort of knowledge?
  4. Political and ethical freedom. In what way can game mechanics or the social roles of gaming provide normative reasons for decision-making with regard to political freedom, gender issues, etc? Do computer games have a particular potential for being either politically conservative, progressive or subversive?

Read more on Call: 8th International Conference on the Philosophy of Computer Games: Freedom in Play…

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Digital actors go beyond the Uncanny Valley

[From a large and interesting feature in IEEE Spectrum, “Special Report: The Future We Deserve: The Next 50 Years,” where the story features more images and three videos]

Digital Ira

[Image: Digital Ira]

Digital Actors Go Beyond the Uncanny Valley

Computer-generated humans in movies and video games are paving the way for new forms of entertainment

By Tekla S. Perry
Posted 27 May 2014

Say hello to Ira. His head is visible on a screen as though he’s in a videoconference. He seems to be in his early 30s, with a shaved head, a pronounced nose, and thin eyebrows. Ira seems a little goofy and maybe just a wee bit strange. But unless you knew his full name—it’s “Digital Ira”—you probably wouldn’t guess that he’s nothing but bits.

In the background, a graphics processor churns through the calculations that determine every roll of his eyes, every crease or bulge of his skin, and every little arch of his eyebrow. Digital Ira can assume almost any expression—joy, befuddlement, annoyance, surprise, concern, boredom, or pleasure—in about the same amount of time it takes a human to do so.

As Digital Ira affirms, graphics specialists are closing in on one of their field’s longest-standing and most sought-after prizes: an interactive and photo-realistically lifelike digital human. Such a digital double will change the way we think about actors, acting, entertainment, and computer games. In movies, digital doubles already replace human actors on occasion, sometimes just for moments, sometimes for most of a feature film. Within a decade or so, computer-game characters will be as indistinguishable from filmed humans as their movie counterparts. And in time, this capability will help bring movies and games together, and out of the union will come entirely new forms of entertainment.

This blurring of the real and the digital became possible in movies recently when moviemakers reached a long-anticipated milestone: They crossed the “uncanny valley.” The term has been used for years to describe a problem faced by those using computer graphics to depict realistic human characters. When these creations stopped looking cartoonish and started approaching photo-realism, the characters somehow began to seem creepy rather than endearing. Some people speculated that the problem could never be solved; now it has proved to be just a matter of research and computing power. Read more on Digital actors go beyond the Uncanny Valley…

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Call: Experimental AI in Games Workshop (EXAG 2014) at AIIDE 2014


EXAG 2014 – Experimental AI in Games Workshop

October 4, 2014
Located at AIIDE 2014 in Raleigh, North Carolina

Submission deadline: July 10th, 2014


The Experimental AI in Games (EXAG) workshop aims to foster and celebrate innovative applications of AI to all aspects of games and game development. EXAG solicits submissions of position papers arguing for new roles of AI in games, prototypes or works-in-progress of experimental applications of AI in games and game creation, and descriptions of new kinds of games and interactive experiences made possible with AI.

Broadly, EXAG is interested in:

  • Fostering development of new games systems enabled by AI, like visualizing AI logic in Moonshot Games’ Third Eye Crime
  • Cross-pollination from AI subfields not traditionally used in games, like computational linguistics or machine vision
  • Employing traditional AI techniques in new ways that break genre conventions, like Left 4 Dead‘s drama management, or Black And White‘s learning creatures
  • Better living through AI – improving game development and design through new and interesting applications of AI, from intelligent design tools to automated QA

The EXAG workshop will focus on presenting and discussing new directions and problems for AI in games and game creation. Submissions can and should support their positions or directions using forms of evidence including initial prototypes, thought experiments, and/or developed arguments. EXAG is running a demonstration track alongside its main track for games or tools which may be of interest to EXAG attendees.

EXAG will be held on October 4 (final date pending) and be co-located with the Artificial Intelligence in Interactive Digital Entertainment (AIIDE) 2014 conference located in Raleigh, North Carolina.

EXAG will also include the DAGGER event following the workshop. DAGGER is an evening event where local game developers and AIIDE attendees meet up to play and share their games and demos with each other, eat some food, and get to know each other. Submissions to the demonstration track will automatically be considered for inclusion in the DAGGER lineup – for other submissions or questions about demonstrating at DAGGER, contact Michael Cook – Read more on Call: Experimental AI in Games Workshop (EXAG 2014) at AIIDE 2014…

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Engineers rebuild D-Day relics you can view in virtual reality

[From VentureBeat, where the story includes more images and a 1:26 minute video]

D-Day recreation: Mulberry Harbor

[Image: A 3D recreation of the Mulberry Harbor built after D-Day. Image Credit: Dassault Systemes.]

Engineers build D-Day relics that you can view in virtual reality with Oculus Rift

May 26, 2014
Dean Takahashi

Engineers have rebuilt D-Day relics in virtual reality using blueprints for the devices that were used the storming of Normandy seventy years ago.

History buffs will be able to view these 3D animated visuals with the Oculus Rift virtual reality goggles. D-Day veterans have seen it and been amazed by it, and Nova (a science show on PBS) has included the animations in a documentary, D-Day: Sunken Secrets. This debuts later this week in advance of the seventieth anniversary of the invasion of Western Europe by the Allies on June 6, 1944, at the turning point of World War II. Read more on Engineers rebuild D-Day relics you can view in virtual reality…

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Call: AI-2014


AI-2014: Cambridge, UK, December 9th-11th 2014

Organised by BCS SGAI: The British Computer Society Specialist Group on Artificial Intelligence (an ECCAI Member Society)

The leading series of UK-based international conferences on Artificial Intelligence and one of the longest running AI conference series in Europe.


AI-2014 is the thirty-fourth SGAI International Conference on Innovative Techniques and Applications of Artificial Intelligence.

The scope of the conference comprises the whole range of AI technologies and application areas. AI-2014 reviews recent technical advances in AI technologies and shows how these advances have been applied to solve business problems. Key features are: Read more on Call: AI-2014…

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Metaio’s thermal touch prototype provides intuitive interface for augmented reality

[From The Creators Project, where the story includes several more images and a 2:12 minute video; more coverage is available from Geek]

Playing chess with Metaio's thermal touch AR

New Augmented Reality Prototype Can Make Any Object A Touch-Sensitive Visual Display

By DJ Pangburn — May 27 2014

From music apps to Oculus Rift developments, it’s no question that augmented reality is continuously forcing its way into popular consciousness. Yet one of the technological questions to be answered about the increasingly-omnipresent format is the range and scope of how humans will interact with the innovation. Whether it’s smart glasses or other tech products, voice command has proven to be one of the more popular system preferences for AR-human interaction, but what other alternatives are out there?

Enter startup Metaio: a company that is invested in the fusion of augmented reality and thermal technology. Metaio has recently created augmented reality tech with a set-up called Thermal Touch technology, a thermal imaging-driven user interface that could turn any surface into a touch screen with visual effects. The company claims they can [make] “any physical object around you a touchable object, so the world becomes a touch screen.” Read more on Metaio’s thermal touch prototype provides intuitive interface for augmented reality…

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Job: Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in HCI at Bristol University

The Department of Computer Science at the University of Bristol is seeking to appoint a Lecturer/Senior Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in HCI. The appointment is part of a strategic plan to grow the Bristol Interaction and Graphics (BIG) Laboratory. The laboratory is internationally recognised for its innovative research in interaction devices and techniques, publishing regularly in the top international conferences and attracting extensive funding from the European Union and UK government and Industry. Read more on Job: Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in HCI at Bristol University…

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Why online games turn players into psychopaths

[From Wired, where the story includes more images and two videos. Key quote: “Are our actions in a virtual world tantamount to imagining those things we could do in real life but never would? Or are we merely behaving as we would in real life if there were no consequences for our actions?”]

Screenshot from Rust

[Image: Screenshot from Rust by Cat-Slaeder via Steam Community]

Why Online Games Turn Players Into Psychopaths

By Ryan Rigney

Three men stand on a deserted street, their hands in the air. One wears a green T-shirt and a motorcycle helmet. The others wear bright yellow down jackets. They are surrounded by four armed men.

“Gentlemen,” a man called Klyka says, “we are going to play a very interesting game.”

He commands the hostages to drop their axes, then continues.

“This is DayZ,” he says. “Someone always has to die when players meet. But we’re going to make this interesting.”

He directs the men in yellow to sit cross-legged, 20 yards from each other, axes midway between them. There can be only one yellow jacket in this group, he says. The two men consider what he says. Klyka goes on. “When I shoot in the air you guys will run for your axes, and you’ll try to grab them.” The last man standing, he says, will be released.

DayZ is an online PC game set in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. Surviving the undead hordes is difficult, but at least the zombies are predictable. The bigger threat comes from your fellow players, who are just as likely to help you as kill you.

Dying in DayZ isn’t like dying in other videogames. The game, developed by Bohemia Interactive, has “configured death with an extreme level of consequentiality not found in other online first-person-shooters,” researchers at the University of Melbourne wrote last year. “Unlike other FPS games, in which death is a minor 2-10 second setback before rematerialization, death in DayZ involves the permanent death of this character, and loss of all items and advancement.”

In other words, death is about as real as it can be in a digital realm. You die, and it’s literally game over. This, the authors write, has the effect of “intensifying social interactions, raising a player’s perceived level of investment and invoking moral dilemmas.” More than that, though, it raises an interesting question about how and why we behave as we do in a game like DayZ, and what that says about us.

Klyka doesn’t appear the slightest bit morally distraught. He’s quite obviously having fun. Having laid out the rules for his deadly game, he begins counting down. Three. Two. One.


One yellow jacket sprints toward his axe. The other turns and sprints down the road. One of Klyka’s men—who had been filming the scene for YouTube—calmly lowers his camera, raises his rifle and peers through the scope. He fires a single shot to the man’s head. Klyka and his crew laugh.

If this were real, you’d think they were psychopaths. And what about DayZ, and games like it, makes them behave as if they are? Read more on Why online games turn players into psychopaths…

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Call: International Conference on Agents and Artificial Intelligence – ICAART 2015


7th International Conference on Agents and Artificial Intelligence – ICAART 2015
January 10 – 12, 2015
Lisbon, Portugal


Regular Papers:
Paper Submission:  July 29, 2014
Authors Notification:  November 3, 2014
Camera Ready and Registration:  November 17, 2014

Position Papers:
Paper Submission:  September 30, 2014
Authors Notification:  November 6, 2014
Camera Ready and Registration:  November 17, 2014

Doctoral Consortium:
Paper Submission:  November 5, 2014
Authors Notification:  November 18, 2014
Camera Ready and Registration:  November 28, 2014

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

INSTICC is Member of:
FIPA – The Foundation for Intelligent Physical Agents
WfMC – Workflow Management Coalition
OMG – Object Management Group

Logistics Partner:
SCITEVENTS – Science and Technology Events

In Cooperation with:
AAAI –Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence

The purpose of the 7th International Conference on Agents and Artificial Intelligence (ICAART) is to bring together researchers, engineers and practitioners interested in the theory and applications in the areas of Agents and Artificial Intelligence. Two simultaneous related tracks will be held, covering both applications and current research work.

In the area of Agents, Multi-Agent Systems and Software Platforms, Distributed Problem Solving and Distributed AI in general, including web applications are concerned.

In the area of artificial intelligence, Knowledge Representation, Planning, Learning, Scheduling, Perception Reactive AI Systems, Evolutionary Computing and other topics related to intelligent systems and Computational Intelligence are concerned. Read more on Call: International Conference on Agents and Artificial Intelligence – ICAART 2015…

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The iPad’s next killer app: Osmo connects iOS kids’ games with the real world

[From Gigaom, where the story includes several more images and a 1:52 minute video]

Osmo: Tangram puzzle game

[Image: Osmo’s camera mirror allows the iPad to recognize objects placed in front of it, extending game play into the real world.]

The iPad’s next killer app: Osmo connects iOS kids’ games with the real world

Summary: Osmo is combining simple but elegant hardware with clever computer vision technology to turn Tangram shapes, letter cards and everyday objects into iPad game controllers.

By Janko Roettgers
May 22, 2014

“Everything we are doing here is magic.” I’m not usually someone who embraces Silicon Valley’s tendency to paint every little product iteration as magical and revolutionary. But when Tangible Play co-founder and CEO Pramod Sharma uttered those words while demonstrating his company’s Osmo gaming device at our office, I couldn’t help but agree, and I couldn’t really stop smiling either.

That’s because Osmo, which debuted on with a self-hosted crowdfunding campaign Thursday, truly is magical, and has the potential to redefine how kids play and learn with mobile devices. Read more on The iPad’s next killer app: Osmo connects iOS kids’ games with the real world…

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