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Monthly Archives: April 2015

Call: 5th International Workshop on Pervasive Eye Tracking and Mobile Eye-Based Interaction (PETMEI 2015)

Call for Papers

5th International Workshop on Pervasive Eye Tracking and Mobile Eye-Based Interaction (PETMEI 2015)
September 7, 2015 in Osaka, Japan, in conjunction with the 2015 ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing (UbiComp 2015)

Submission Deadline: June 5, 2015

Eye tracking technology is becoming increasingly available for mobile and pervasive settings. The availability of eye tracking beyond the desktop calls for new interaction concepts, novel applications, and an understanding of the broader implications of pervasive eye tracking on humans. PETMEI 2015 focuses on pervasive eye tracking as a trailblazer for mobile eye-based interaction. The goal of the workshop is to bring together members in the ubiquitous computing, context-aware computing, computer vision, machine learning and eye tracking community to exchange ideas and to discuss different techniques and applications for pervasive eye tracking.

PETMEI 2015 will be a one-day workshop featuring presentations, interactive demos, and group discussions. We solicit papers describing original research related to, or visionary of, pervasive eye tracking research addressing computational methods, new applications and use cases, as well as technology for pervasive eye tracking and mobile eye-based interaction.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to: Read more on Call: 5th International Workshop on Pervasive Eye Tracking and Mobile Eye-Based Interaction (PETMEI 2015)…

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Amazon Dash: Tech’s chance to be more Mary Poppins and less Minority Report

[An advertising executive in charge of innovation asks how digital designers will respond to the expansion of multi-touch, always-connected, internet-of-things technology. This is from The Guardian, where the column includes links to related stories. For more on the Amazon Dash button, see coverage in USA Today. –Matthew]

Amazon Dash button

[Image: The Amazon dash button is a small, branded tab that lets you order stuff by pressing a stick-on button. Photograph: Amazon]

Amazon dash: Tech’s chance to be more Mary Poppins and less Minority Report

In digital, we often underestimate the importance of real, tangible experiences. But as everyday objects connect to the web, we have a chance to make the world feel a little more magical

David Cox
Chief innovation officer at M&C Saatchi
Thursday 23 April 2015

Get up, get out of bed, strap a virtual reality (VR) headset across your head. Then go back to bed because frankly your room, flat, trip to work, work, trip home from work, dinner, TV and the weather are all rubbish. Well, compared to VR they are. Or at least they will be soon.

If every tube carriage has every pair of eyes glued to a small rectangle of light now, can you imagine what it will be like when we can be anywhere imaginable via the pieces of tech we carry around with us at all times? Flying through the solar system, the galaxy, even eating a Galaxy. We will like it, we will be addicted to it and at any given moment it will seem slightly better than reality – or R as we might call it. We will think it’s brilliant, but it will make us sad.

Because, mundane though it is, the chocolate Galaxy option is probably not actually on the near horizon. Our eyes and ears are good ways of getting stuff into our brains so, while we have screens and headphones, flying through space is no problem. But the feeling of eating a humble chocolate bar – the taste, the texture and the release of happy chemicals to our brains – is way off. In digital, we often underestimate the importance of real, tangible experiences and how much we humans long to interact with the world through all of our senses.

The Amazon dash button is a small, branded tab that lets you order stuff like washing powder just by pressing a gaudy stick-on button in your kitchen. And this isn’t just the beginning of brands turning us into nothing but obedient lab rats pressing a consume button for that small spurt of endorphins that will get us through the next 20 seconds of being alive. It’s about the fact that it’s actually quite refreshing to see a real, chunky, physical button. Something you can actually feel. Read more on Amazon Dash: Tech’s chance to be more Mary Poppins and less Minority Report…

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Call: Audio Mostly 2015 – Sound, Semantics and Social Interaction

Audio Mostly 2015
7 – 9 October 2015, Thessaloniki, Greece

Call for Papers

Sound prevails in most aspects of contemporary human communication, interaction, experience and expressiveness. Nowadays, audio is a basic ingredient of multimodal content that is massively interchanged through interacting producers and users within the Web2.0 environment and beyond.

This explosion in the use of audio has been mainly motivated and fueled by the exponential growth of the social media, the vast expansion of user-generated content, and the domination of smartphones, tablets and other mobile and wearable technologies. Sound can engage, inform, narrate, dramatize, shape the atmosphere, stimulate emotions, attract attention and create adventure. Audio modalities are part of infotainment services, interactive documentaries and non-linear stories, e-learning environments, TV-series, movies, games and all kinds of multimedia projects and installations. They are also encountered in more demanding pervasive and semantically enhanced computing services engaging context and location awareness, as well as in virtual and augmented reality human-machine interaction. While sound in all of its forms holds tremendous potential for interaction design and associated implementations, still, the interfacing abilities of contemporary audio have not been fully explored and deployed. Undoubtedly, audio holds a key role in the upcoming trends and services towards the transition to the semantic web i.e. Web3.0, validating once again an old saying deriving from the sound design and film industry: ‘sound is more than half of the picture’.

Nonetheless, interdisciplinary studies of auditory experience open up new areas for scientific and artistic fields, crucial to our understanding of the world, ourselves and everyday life. The hegemony of vision has come to an end and our contemporary noisy life has changed irrevocably current auditory cultures. The development of sound, as an artistic medium beyond the traditional music frameworks, also illustrates new approaches to art, architecture and contemporary culture engaged with a plethora of new methodologies and practices.

During the last decade, the Audio Mostly Conference has annually brought together audio professionals, scientists and researchers, artists, theorists, content creators, interaction designers, web and social media experts, gaming and mobile application developers, behavioral researchers and others. The conference constitutes an important event for sharing, promoting and disseminating knowledge associated with the untapped potential of audio interaction.

The area of interests covers a variety of novel audio designs; interactive processing and interfacing applications in various environments and computing terminals, ranging from screens and keyboards, audio and general multimedia peripherals to smart phone and sensory and other mobile devices; essays on interactive sound, listening experience, auditory culture and sound art installations.

These innovative Human Machine Interaction (HMI) interfaces can be engaged either solely in pure audio applications or in combination with other modalities, thus promoting multimodal mediated communication and interaction. This technological and scientific area implies cognitive research and applied psychology, social media engagement and semantic interaction issues, design methodology and practice, as well as technological innovations in audio analysis, processing and rendering. The aim is to both describe and push the boundaries of sound-based interaction in various domains, such as industry, mobile applications, computer games, education, entertainment, virtual reality, content semantic analysis and conceptualization, auditory cultures, auditory experience, sound and digital art.


This theme aims at confronting issues related to audio design, semantic processing and interaction that can be part of enhanced multimodal HMI in the social media landscape. It also attempts to investigate their role and involvement in the deployment of innovative web and multimedia semantic services as part of the transition to the Web3.0 era. A representative theme example that can be drawn here is that audio content production, music clips recording, editing, and sound design processes can be collaboratively applied within the social media networking context, while registering content shares and tagging with user feedback for semantically enhanced interaction. Moreover, besides technology-oriented approaches to the conference theme, submissions that refer to interdisciplinary work in this domain are strongly encouraged, including i) psychological research on the influence of auditory cues in shaping human multimodal perception, semantic processing, emotional affect, and social interaction within rich context environments, and ii) presentation of new practices of using sound as a medium for enhancing social interaction in new media artworks, and soundscapes.

TOPICS OF INTEREST: Read more on Call: Audio Mostly 2015 – Sound, Semantics and Social Interaction…

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How a spinning chair made virtual reality feel more real

[Roto is a new device that lets users orient their mediated point of view in a natural way; the story is from Engadget and features a photo gallery. For a more radical kind of chair for VR see PCR’s coverage of MMOne’s 360 degree motion chair (with videos). –Matthew]

The Roto chair

How a spinning chair made virtual reality feel more real

by Jamie Rigg
March 5th 2015

When donning a VR headset, it’s easy to be awestruck by whatever 3D world you find yourself in. It’s a whole new medium that simply can’t be replicated on a TV. Still, there are reasons the likes of Oculus and Sony aren’t selling headsets to the masses just yet. While Samsung’s Gear VR and other smartphone-powered headwear are filling the void, headsets that tap into the processing might of PCs and consoles will ultimately deliver the most immersive experiences. But, the technology isn’t quite there yet. Stereoscopic 3D can be jarring, with complicated worlds often appearing slightly out of focus. Then there are issues like nausea that can strike when moving through virtual surroundings. Also, how we interact with virtual spaces will continue to evolve, moving beyond the gamepad and keyboard to more natural and hopefully intuitive methods of control.

Headset hardware can only do so much to address these limitations, which is why several companies are developing peripherals intended to enhance the VR experience. Roto is one of these supplemental gadgets. Simply put, it’s a motorized chair platform with a footplate controller you twist to control the direction and speed of the spinning seat. Describing it in so few words doesn’t really do the Roto justice, however, as it’s much more than an overcomplicated alternative to a mouse or joystick. Sure, it essentially performs the same function, but there’s something about moving in time with your virtual avatar that brings a whole new dimension of realism to the VR world. Read more on How a spinning chair made virtual reality feel more real…

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Call: “Making Places: Visualization, Interaction and Experience in Urban Space” in Interaction Design and Architecture(s) Journal (IxD&A)

Focus Section, N.25, on
“Making Places: Visualization, Interaction and Experience in Urban Space”

to be published at the
Interaction Design and Architecture(s) Journal (IxD&A)
(ISSN 1826-9745, eISSN 2283-2998)


  • Paula Trigueiros, Universidade do Minho, Portugal
  • Michael Smyth, School of Computing, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • Ingi Helgason, School of Computing, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • Sarah Gallacher, Intel Collaborative Research Institute on Sustainable and Connected Cities (ICRI-Cities) University College London, London, United Kingdom

Important dates:

  • Deadline: 15 May, 2015

Other important dates:

  • Notification to the authors: 20 June, 2015
  • Deadline for submission of the final camera ready version of accepted papers: 20 July, 2015
  • Publication of the special issue: end of August 2015


“Cities are exciting”. People continue to be drawn to urban areas because of the choices that cities offer. Large-scale sensor networks and pervasive computing technologies are transforming our city environments as they become augmented with increasingly powerful networked technologies and media. This raises the question of how these technologies can play a part in improving the use of the spaces that already exist in the urban environment and, critically, what roles information visualization and interaction design have in this endeavor. In the context of so-called future or smart cities, visualizations are especially relevant as they are the tangible outcomes of these systems, while interaction design is the enabler for citizens to engage with this urban data. Emerging technologies are providing new ways of experiencing information in urban space and, consequently, creating a fertile area for cross-disciplinary research, bringing together computer sciences, social sciences, design, art and music, among others. But it is through human activities, that urban spaces become “places”. How people experience and conceptualize “place” is formed by the scope and range of what happens in that space and those that inhabit it.

Our aim is to explore how interactive technology can be used to maximise the use of space within urban areas for positive outcomes, to enhance the experience of city living that so many of us would like to enjoy. As people’s expectations grow, along with the amount of information to communicate, creating multi-sensory information systems is becoming an increasingly challenging task. It requires creative and collaborative approaches to generate outputs ranging from sophisticated digital interventions to more low-tech solutions. In this context, we encourage inter-disciplinary contributions from areas, including but not limited to HCI, computer sciences, design, psychology, social sciences, digital games, music and arts to gain deeper insights into the roles of visualization, interaction and experience in urban space and place making.

TOPICS OF INTERESTS Read more on Call: “Making Places: Visualization, Interaction and Experience in Urban Space” in Interaction Design and Architecture(s) Journal (IxD&A)…

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The student and teacher experience of using a telepresence robot in high school

[The power of telepresence robots in the education setting, with perceptions of both teachers and students; this is from Slate, where the story includes another picture. –Matthew]

Telepresence robot at Nexus Academy of Columbus

[Image: The telepresence robot at the Nexus Academy of Columbus is an option for virtual teachers at the school. It allows them to log on and motor around the school. Photo by Nichole Dobo]

What It’s Like to Have a Robot for a Teacher

A telepresence robot, that is.

By Nichole Dobo
March 9 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio—Thomas Hatch noticed something unusual in a reflection on his laptop screen as he worked on a lesson one day in his pod at high school.

The teenager turned around. He was face to face with a teacher of an online course. Well, sort of. The teacher’s face was encased in a small video screen. His body was a 4-foot-tall plastic tower on wheels. He maneuvered the telepresence robot around the classroom and spoke to students using controls on his computer from a remote location.

“It was, um, different—definitely different,” Hatch said of his first encounter with the robot last year, when he was a junior at the Nexus Academy of Columbus.

The public high school in central Ohio blends online and in-person instruction in an open, office-style building located in a small industrial park. The school has some in-the-flesh teachers, but many teachers never set foot in the building, because they teach only online courses—some from locations quite far away. Most of the time, the remote teachers interact with their students through a computer screen or phone call. The new telepresence robot provides another means of communication with students and staff in the building.

“I was excited about it,” said Thomas Fech, a social studies teacher who logged on from his home in Arizona last year to use the robot to maneuver around the Ohio school. “I was so far away, but with the help of this body I could walk around the building.” Read more on The student and teacher experience of using a telepresence robot in high school…

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Call: 2015 ACM SIGGRAPH Conference on Motion in Games 2015 (MIG)


The 2015 ACM SIGGRAPH Conference on Motion in Games 2015 (MIG)

November 16-18, 2015, Paris, France
Submission Deadline: July 7, 2015

The 8th International Conference on Motion in Games will take place in Paris, France from November 16-18, 2015 and be hosted by Telecom ParisTech. Discussions regarding ACM SIGGRAPH and Eurographics sponsorship are underway.

Conference mission: Games have become a very important medium for education, therapy and entertainment. Motion plays a crucial role in computer games. Characters move around, objects are manipulated or move due to physical constraints, entities are animated, and the camera moves through the scene. Even the motion of the player is used as input to games. Motion is currently studied in many different areas of research, including graphics and animation, game technology, robotics, simulation, computer vision, and also physics, psychology, and urban studies. Cross-fertilization between these communities can considerably advance the state-of- the-art in the area. The goal of the Motion in Games conference is to bring together researchers from this variety of fields to present their most recent results, to initiate collaborations, and to contribute to the establishment of the research area. The conference will consist of regular paper sessions, poster presentations, as well as presentations by a selection of established researchers in areas related to games and simulation. The conference program will also include cultural and social events that foster casual and friendly interactions among the participants. MIG provides an intimate forum for researchers and practitioners in to present their research results, inspire new ideas, and promote cross-disciplinary collaborations.

We have an exciting program planned for 2015 with keynote speakers that are at the forefront of research in character animation, games, and artificial intelligence.

NEW this year! We are excited to introduce a “Games meets Academia” panel whose aim is to stimulate an active debate between practitioners and researchers alike, in an effort to bridge the gap between advanced research and development in computer games, and fundamental research in interactive computer animation. Read more on Call: 2015 ACM SIGGRAPH Conference on Motion in Games 2015 (MIG)…

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Mediated romantic intimacy via Apple Watch and other wearables

[Will this bring haptic-based mediated romantic intimacy to the mainstream? The story is from Fast Company and features two more images. –Matthew]

Apple Watch offers user a mediated kiss

Bringing Romance To The Apple Watch

Chris Wetherell, founder of Avocado, the romantic social network, tells us why being in the age of wearables might be better than ever.

John Brownlee
April 7, 2015

Every designer I have spoken to about designing for the Apple Watch says the same thing: 99% of all possible app features are going to be better on your iPhone than on your wrist. But for apps like Avocado, the social network for romantic partners, the Apple Watch and other wearables represents an exciting new frontier of design. For the first time ever, apps can let people in love feel each other’s touch. And the possibilities of that could lead to something profound. Read more on Mediated romantic intimacy via Apple Watch and other wearables…

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Call: Digital Memory and Techno-nostalgia: Remembering / Dismembering Performance (at TaPRA 2015)

Digital Memory and Techno-nostalgia: Remembering / Dismembering Performance

Performance and New Technologies Working Group at TaPRA (Theatre and Performance Research Association) 2015 Conference
University of Worcester, 8th to 10th September 2015.

Call Deadline (abstracts): 17 April 2015

The ephemeral nature of live performance has always forced practitioners, critics and notaries to consider ways of committing performance to memory. The act of remembering itself was first expressed through theatrical means by Giulio Camillo and his memory theatre – giving birth to a performative technology, a mnemo-technic reliant on the theatrical frame. The commitment of the ephemeral act to memory most often happens through technological means, which in the digital era produce audio-visual traces that can appear to lend some objectivity in the act of remembrance. If technology defines how we remember live performance, then performances are re-membered –and thus reconstructed– through the lens of those technologies dominant at their times. The digital times we inhabit entail an inevitable commitment of ephemeral acts to the im/materialities of the digital; but how do our ever-prolific digital memories alter the ways we remember performance? And what new technologies affect memory, either as mnemonic, or as the means by which to adapt, extend or develop the way we recollect and what is re-membered?

The past is a place for both recollection and re-imagination with no same version of the past evident. Nevertheless, until recently, records of live performances would more often be linear narratives, canonical in viewpoint, and restricted to archival use. Digital technologies and mobile networks allow immediate and wide access to technologies of recording, storage and retrieval, which enable participation in the creation of individual and shared memories, and challenge the canonicity of performance records. For this reason, digital encounters with the past tend to intersect recollection with story-telling, often relating the same events and circumstances through multi-voiced narratives that offer supplementary or competing perspectives. We invite participants to reflect on emergent digital story-telling techniques and intermedial modes of narration as practices of performance documentation. When everyone becomes a potential archivist of performance acts, performance documents cease to be linear, authorial narratives; instead, they become the micro-documents of multiple, fragmented experiences. How can we, individually and collectively, remember, narrate and re-enact performance through its digital detritus? How can we tap into the richness of multiplicity afforded by ‘heritage from below’ practices (Robertson, 2012) without ‘dismembering’ the actual performance act?

Furthermore, as digital technologies become ever more dominant in our daily lives facilitating and complicating them in equal measure, there is an increasing trend to look back to technologies of the past with some nostalgia. Nostalgia, from the Greek nostoV (nostos, return home) and algoV (algos, pain), denotes the yearning to return to an experience of place or community that has been lost. A ‘homesickness of sorts’, it suggests ‘an attempt by actors in the present to return to a comfortable and ideal setting.’ (Pinch and Reinecke in Bjisterveld and van Dijck, 2009:166) Recently, technonostalgia is being expressed through looking back at analogue technologies as objects and processes of desire, through ‘excursions into vintage gear’ (ibid). The nostalgic return is bound by horizons of melancholy, sentiment, menace, and emotion. We ask, what is the affective potential of mnemonic devices– digitised photographs, social networks, sounds, music, video, graphics, words, and somas – and of ‘excursions’ into old media? What new combinations bring about shifts in the emotional temperature of our search for times lost, and how do those affect performance memories?

This Call invites contributors to consider how we remember both performance and technology, as well as performance through technology, in a digital era. Proposals might consider the following issues, though these are not exclusive: Read more on Call: Digital Memory and Techno-nostalgia: Remembering / Dismembering Performance (at TaPRA 2015)…

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Gallery uses augmented reality to exhibit modern art

[According to this story in Hyperallergic (which includes three more images), augmented reality has the potential to let people experience perfect 3D facsimiles of art, including pieces they otherwise never could see. –Matthew]

Viewing Jean-MIchel Basquiat's art via AR

[Image: Jean-Michel Basquiat, “Untitled” (1981), oil stick on paper, 20 x 15.9 inches]

Gallery Uses Augmented Reality to Exhibit Modern Art

by Matt Stromberg on April 16, 2015

LOS ANGELES — At galleries and museums, art is increasingly competing for attention with the needy screens of visitors’ cell phones, but at the Echo Park storefront gallery Smart Objects, staring at your cell phone is the only way to appreciate the art. Their current show “Armory Captures” is an experiment in using free technology to broaden and democratize the art-viewing experience. Read more on Gallery uses augmented reality to exhibit modern art…

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