ISPR Presence News

Monthly Archives: August 2014

Job: SFI Professorship in HCI at University College Cork, Ireland

University College Cork, Ireland
SFI Professorship in Human Computer Interaction (HCI)

Job Posted:  31 Jul 2014
Closing Date for Applications:  22 Sep 2014
Contract Type:  Permanent Whole-Time

Full details available:

UCC seeks to recruit a Research Professor in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) to drive and expand the university’s commitment to human-centred design of digital futures, with a particular focus on health and wellbeing. The pivotal position of user experience in understanding the current use of health and wellbeing-related technologies and in imagining future uses is widely acknowledged in research and in commercial application. This Professorship will provide strategic leadership in developing the scientific and design knowledge and practice required to realize technologies that are sensitive to user experience. Read more on Job: SFI Professorship in HCI at University College Cork, Ireland…

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Diagnosing cognitive defects using Virtual Environment Human Navigation System (VE-HuNT)

[From the University of California, San Diego; a 4:39 minute video is available on YouTube]

VE-HuNT screenshot

New Virtual Reality Navigation System to Help Diagnose Cognitive Defects

August 18, 2014 | By Tiffany Fox

Note: This is the first in a three-part series about Qualcomm Institute research projects that have a direct impact on aging. All three projects are funded through the Calit2 Strategic Research Opportunities program. The Qualcomm Institute is the University of California, San Diego division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2).

Experts agree that the ability to navigate a neighborhood or built space is one of the first faculties to suffer at the onset of cognitive decline. They also agree that early intervention is crucial for stemming the further ravages of dementia.

But catching adults ‘in the act’ of getting lost or disoriented is a challenging and expensive research problem — one that a new low-cost, virtual-reality based tool being developed at the University of California, San Diego’s Qualcomm Institute hopes to address.

The VE-HuNT System (Virtual Environment Human Navigation Task) is a research endeavor of UC San Diego Biological Sciences Professor Eduardo Macagno. It’s a combination of hardware and software that will immerse test subjects in a human-scale, interactive, virtual-reality-based ‘room.’ Users use a computer interface device akin to a steering wheel and gas pedal to navigate the room, which is created in 3D in a portable, office-sized version of the Qualcomm Institute’s NexCAVE or StarCAVE environments. The subjects are asked to perform a series of increasingly difficult navigational tasks, such as finding a colored tile on the floor with and without navigational cues. Read more on Diagnosing cognitive defects using Virtual Environment Human Navigation System (VE-HuNT)…

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Call: AAAI Symposium on Turn–taking and Coordination in Human-Machine Interaction

AAAI Symposium on Turn-taking and Coordination in Human-Machine Interaction
March 23-25th, 2015
Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA

The AAAI Symposium on Turn-taking and Coordination in Human-Machine Interaction will bring together researchers across multiple disciplines–including multimodal systems, human-robot interaction, embodied conversational agents, and spoken dialogue systems–to address a topic of common interest: the modeling, realization, and evaluation of turn-taking and real-time action coordination between humans and artificial interactive systems. This symposium will serve to build common ground for researchers from these disparate backgrounds to share their perspectives, methodologies, and results from their own investigations into the problem of multimodal coordination. Read more on Call: AAAI Symposium on Turn–taking and Coordination in Human-Machine Interaction…

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Oculix = Netflix in VR

[From Business Insider; for more see the Netflix Hack Day 2014 web page]

Oculix screenshot

Netflix Paired With The Oculus Rift Headset Could Transform Your Home Into A Movie Theater

Steven Tweedie
Aug. 20, 2014

Netflix recently unveiled several experimental projects that were created during one of its “Hack Days,” where employees can tinker and dream up new versions of the popular streaming service.

One of the coolest projects is called Oculix, and it combines the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset with the Netflix experience. Read more on Oculix = Netflix in VR…

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Call: “Closed Systems / Open Worlds” (book chapters)

Call for Chapters:
Closed Systems / Open Worlds


Deadline for précis:  15 September 2014 (extended)

Edited by:  Jeremy Hunsinger (Wilfrid Laurier University), Jason Nolan (Ryerson University) & Melanie McBride (York University)

This book will consist of explorations at the boundaries of virtual worlds as enclosed but encouraging spaces for exploration, learning, and enculturation. Game/worlds like Second Life, OpenSim, Minecraft, and Cloud Party are providing spaces for the construction of alternatives and reimaginings, though frequently they end up more as reproductions. We seek to challenge those spaces and their creativities and imaginings.

These worlds exist as both code and conduct. Code is a modulating multiple signifier, in that the interpreters of the code vary from human to machine and that our understanding of the signifier changes the worldliness in itself. The conduct of both participants and administrators of these spaces influences how they flourish and then fade. As such the worlds and their anima/animus are socially constructed fictions where authors/creators/users, both above and below the actions are sometimes in concert, yet often in conflict with the space and intentions of the originators.

This book seeks critically engaged scholars who want to risk the possibility of change in the face of closed systems. We are looking for critical or speculative essays that must be theoretically, empirically and/or contextually grounded chapters of 5000-6500 words plus apparatus. Doctoral students and non-tenure faculty members will be afforded blind peer review upon request.

We are aiming for 12 -14 chapters that define the boundaries and thus likely futures of research on virtual worlds. Read more on Call: “Closed Systems / Open Worlds” (book chapters)…

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Swimarium: The virtual reality swimming pool

[From Gizmag, where the story includes a 27 image picture gallery]

Swimarium concept art

Swimarium: The virtual reality swimming pool

By Stu Robarts
August 13, 2014

If you’ve ever fancied scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef but can’t afford it, this idea from OVA Studio might provide a solution. The Swimarium is a design concept in which LED screens are placed all around a pool to create an immersive virtual swimming experience that would let you dive anywhere in the world. Read more on Swimarium: The virtual reality swimming pool…

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Call: “Usability testing of video games: Multidisciplinary case studies” (Chapter proposals)


Usability Testing of Video Games: Multidisciplinary Case Studies

A book edited by Dr. Miguel A. Garcia-Ruiz, Algoma University, Canada
To be published by CRC Press/Taylor & Francis:


Usability Testing of Video Games: Multidisciplinary Case Studies will present case studies describing academic research and practicing hands-on experience on usability testing methodologies and techniques, with the aim of improving the human-computer interfaces of video games and players’ user experience (UX). The usability experiences will be presented as comprehensive case studies to be used as learning and teaching materials in video game design and development, usability, human-computer interaction, software engineering, and related undergraduate and graduate courses. The case studies can also be used by scholars and practitioners from the video game industry interested in the topic.

Writing case studies on usability should require the “coming together” of science, technology and social knowledge in an interdisciplinary fashion, since the field of usability is supported by a number of knowledge areas. This book will include new perspectives from academics and practitioners around the world on how and why usability can support the design and development of video games. Usability Testing of Video Games: Multidisciplinary Case Studies will be a comprehensive-yet specialized compendium of usability case studies using state-of-the-art approaches. Read more on Call: “Usability testing of video games: Multidisciplinary case studies” (Chapter proposals)…

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New military jets so powerful pilots must be trained in VR

[From Motherboard]

F-22 Raptor - Red Flag July 2014

New Military Jets Are So Powerful, Pilots Must Be Trained in Virtual Reality

Written by Jordan Pearson
August 11, 2014

The latest generation of US Air Force fighter jets are smarter, stealthier, and more lethal than their predecessors, but they present an unexpected hurdle: The new jets are too powerful to unleash their full potential during training exercises. One general believes that training pilots in virtual reality is the solution.

Fifth generation jets like the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II boast weaponized high technology like supersonically launched guided missiles and a wealth of sensors that provide full situational awareness to the pilot, simplify decision-making, and allow for advancements like automated targeting. In short, they’re pretty scary and lethal as hell.

It sounds like it would be a military honcho’s dream, but General Mike Hostage has a few complaints, as Air Force Times first reported. Namely, he can’t let them loose during Red Flag training, which prepares roughly 27,000 pilots and engineers for combat every year.

“The fifth generation brought us capabilities and lethalities that are straining my abilities at Red Flag to produce that same realistic combat environment,” Hostage said in an Air Force Association speech last month, “I can’t turn on every bell and whistle on my new fifth-generation platforms because a) they’re too destructive, and b) I don’t want the bad guys to know what I’m able to do.”

To overcome this limitation, the Air Force is using virtual reality to train its pilots in every facet of fifth generation fighter jet technology. They’re getting quite good at it. By doing the first leg of their training in a simulated environment before they get into the real thing, pilots are able to try out the cutting-edge weapons systems that they wouldn’t get to test otherwise. Read more on New military jets so powerful pilots must be trained in VR…

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Call: Theories/Applications of Social Science for Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces (at ITS 2014)


Social ITS: Tutorial and Workshop on Theories and Applications of Social Science for Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces

In conjunction with ACM ITS 2014
Dresden, Germany
November 16, 2014

Important Dates

  • Submission Deadline:  September 5, 2014, 5pm PDT
  • Notification to Authors:  September 23, 2014
  • NEW EVENT FORMAT:  Tutorial (½ day) + Workshop (½ day):  November 16, 2014

Social ITS Tutorial + Workshop Theme

There is an increasing trend in the human-computer interaction (HCI) and interactive tabletop and surfaces (ITS) communities towards the application of social theories describing human and social behaviour into our technology designs. For example, social theories that describe how people utilize different spatial distances to engage in different types of interactions with others, how collaborative and communication practices are employed in face-to-face environments, have been appropriated by ITS researchers to create new forms of interactive surface interactions in a variety of contexts.

In this combined tutorial and workshop venue, we review and discuss social science theories relevant to the design of interactive surfaces. We aim to facilitate knowledge exchange on the inherent challenges of applying social theories to build systems, and to establish a community of practice to help develop effective strategies for successfully applying social theories to the design of Interactive Surfaces. Read more on Call: Theories/Applications of Social Science for Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces (at ITS 2014)…

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CEEDs: Making sense of big data with VR and the unconscious mind

[From Forbes, where the story includes two videos; much more information is available at the CEEDs Project web site]

CEEDs demo

[Image: Source]

Making Sense of Big Data With Virtual Reality And The Unconscious Mind

Federico Guerrini

A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic, is a well-known quote – often mistakingly attributed to Stalin. Regardless of the author, the sentence is interesting because it can be read in at least two ways: in one, it relates with compassion fatigue, our inability of feeling outrage when the horror surpasses a certain threshold. But it might also be seen as pointing to our inability to visualize and grasp the meaning of huge data amounts.

When numbers are too high, the mind struggles to make sense of them. If, instead of a single number, you deal with large datasets, it’s difficult to find meaningful patterns that characterize them. It’s what’s happening now, in all kind of disciplines, from astronomy to neuroscience, archaeology, history or economics: every single minute, the world generates 1.7 million billion bytes of data, equal to 360,000 DVDs. How can we make sense of it? In fact, we largely don’t. Our mind alone, even with the help of computers is simply not equipped to take this challenge.

Or when it is, it would take too much time to do so. But what if we could present the data in a way that’s more “empathic”, closer to the way in which we usually address the world? That’s exactly what scientists at the CEEDs (which stands for Collective Experience of Empathic Data Systems) project, a consortium of 16 partners in 9 European countries, are trying to do.

Using the eXperience Induction Machine (XIM), an immersive multi-modal environment located at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, they are trying to use virtual reality to enable users to ‘step inside’ large datasets. Since, as they say, an image is worth a thousand words, you may want to have a look at the video [here], to see how it works. Read more on CEEDs: Making sense of big data with VR and the unconscious mind…

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