ISPR Presence News

Monthly Archives: May 2015

Call: Social Believability in Games Workshop (SBG 2015) at AIIDE 2015

[See also the Call for Papers for AIIDE 2015, with fast approaching deadlines. –Matthew]

1st Call for Papers to the Social Believability in Games Workshop 2015 @ AIIDE

Paper and demo submission: July 3, 2015

The Social Believability in Games Workshop of 2015 (SBG2015) is organised in cooperation with the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment (AIIDE’15).

The workshop will be held on the 15th of November 2015 at the University of California Santa Cruz, California.

The Social Believability in Games Workshop intends to be a point of interaction for researchers and game developers interested in different aspects of modeling, discussing, and developing believable social agents and Non-Player Characters (NPC). This can include discussions around behavior based on social and behavioral science theories and models, social affordances when interacting with game worlds and more. We invite participants from a multitude of disciplines in order to create a broad spectrum of approaches to the area.

From the beginning of digital games, AI has been part of the main idea of games containing acting entities, which is to provide the player with “worthy” opponents (NPCs). The development of multiplayer games has increased the demands put on the NPCs as believable characters, especially if they are to cooperate with human players. However, the social aspect of intelligent behavior has been neglected compared to the development and use AI for other domains (e.g. route planning). In particular, the interplay between intelligent behavior that is task-related, the emotions that may be attached to the events in the game world, and the social positioning and interaction of deliberating entities is underdeveloped. This workshop aims to address this deficiency by putting forward demonstrations of work in the integration of these three aspects of intelligent behavior, as well as models and theories that can be used for the emotional and social aspects, and for the integration between the three aspects.

For this workshop, we invite participants to bring both their research questions, research results, and the demonstrations or initial prototypes built to address them. Additionally, we welcome contributions from research on social ontology, social simulation, the social impact of believable agents, intelligent virtual agents, and other related areas. The day will be dedicated to demonstration and discussion, with ample time for collaboration and comparison of theory, method, practice, and results. Read more on Call: Social Believability in Games Workshop (SBG 2015) at AIIDE 2015…

Posted in Calls | Leave a comment

Dive into ‘infinity’ with dizzying, interactive 360 panoramas of Vietnam’s Son Doong cave

[Another amazing place most of us will never see in person but that we can now ‘visit’ via presence technology. The National Geographic story includes a 1:15 minute video and the high resolution interactive 360 panoramas. –Matthew]

Son Doong 360 graphic

Dive Into ‘Infinity’ With Dizzying Views of A Colossal Cave

A series of 360° panoramas allows anyone with an internet connection to experience Vietnam’s Son Doong cave, one of the planet’s biggest.

By Jane J. Lee
Interactive and photographs by Martin Edström
Published May 20, 2015

Son Doong is one of the world’s largest caves, with enormous chambers that can comfortably fit a 747 airplane or an entire New York City block full of 40-story buildings. Its mammoth chambers extend so far that explorers have called Son Doong an “infinite cave.” And with an amazing new digital tour, you can plunge below ground to see it yourself without ever leaving the country.

Pictures have offered stunning peeks into the cave, which is located in central Vietnam’s Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, since explorers discovered it in 2009 with the help of a local guide. But the attention of curious sightseers is a double-edged sword; planned construction projects to make the cave more accessible to tourists could harm the formation’s unique environment.

Photojournalist Martin Edström hopes to bring the cave to as many people as possible. He also wanted to document Son Doong in its relatively untouched state, just in case those construction plans go through. So he set out with a team in January 2015 to build a virtual tour of this roughly 2.5-mile-long (four kilometers) cave.

Digital “tourists” can mouse through 360° panoramic views of key sections of Son Doong on a smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer. Some of the largest passageways are about 300 feet (91.4 meters) wide and over 600 feet (182.9 meters) high.

Edström, whose work has been supported by the National Geographic Society’s Global Exploration Fund, discusses the challenges of taking on such an enormous subject for his photography. Read more on Dive into ‘infinity’ with dizzying, interactive 360 panoramas of Vietnam’s Son Doong cave…

Posted in Presence in the News | Leave a comment

Job: Design Researcher – Interaction & Games Lab at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

Design Researcher (0.6 fte) at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (HvA) for a position within the Media, Creation and Information Knowledge Centre.

Hours: 24.0 hours per week
Salary: maximum € 4365
Education: Doctorate

Apply for this job within 19 days


The research project is part of the Amsterdam Creative Industries Network programme at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, and more specifically at the Interaction & Games Lab. The Play and Civic Media lectureship, under which this position falls, focuses on research into digital and nondigital play and urban interaction design that optimizes the user experience.

The most important question addressed by this research is how design thinking, strategies, tools and software can be implemented to increase the effectiveness of game, play and other forms of urban interaction and self organisation. This can cover learning goals within educational processes, behavioural change in health care, or attitudinal change with regard to all kinds of societal issues. The findings of this research are of great importance to the Dutch gaming industry.

Researchers working within the lectureship and at the Lab are expected to be actively involved in networking and maintaining contacts within the industry, formulating relevant research questions and providing feedback on the results. Incorporating new insights within the university curriculum is also part of the role. The researcher will conduct research independently, supervise other researchers, and play an active role in projects that are conducted as part of the lectureship at the Lab. He or she is responsible for securing external funding for new projects, and is able to define, control and structure his or her own research projects.


A researcher with a PhD in Design Research (such as Game Design, Interaction Design or User Experience Design). He or she has a close affinity with playful interaction and can translate research ideas into prototypes. Design qualities are important, as is an ability to work with software and electronics. The researcher is a good team player, can think ‘out of the box’, and is willing to teach game design occasionally. Read more on Job: Design Researcher – Interaction & Games Lab at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences…

Posted in Jobs | Leave a comment

The whispery world of ASMR enters virtual reality

[Even without the jump to VR, the ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) phenomenon has links to flow, synesthesia, and presence; this story from Boing Boing includes a 12:13 minute video and the link to the 17:18 minute interactive 360° ASMR video available from Littlestar. If nothing else, read the last sentence of the story below, and for more background, see an earlier piece in Boing Boing and a recent story about the early evidence regarding ASMR in New York Magazine. –Matthew]

The K3YS 360 ASMR Experience graphic

The whispery world of ASMR enters virtual reality

For the first time, ASMR experiences are pioneering beyond simple soft talk.

By Laura Hudson
May 27, 2015

Several years ago, a small number people on internet message boards started bonding around a shared experience: how the sound of whispering, crinkling or tapping produced a relaxing, even euphoric tingling sensation in their bodies. Dubbed ASMR—autonomous sensory meridian response—the phenomenon has sparked a thriving subculture of whispery video creators on Youtube, and now, the first ASMR experience created specifically for virtual reality.

The K3ys is a collaboration between three of the most popular ASMR creators: Ally Maque of ASMRrequests, Heather Feather and Maria of Gentle Whispering. Although the 17-minute video is best experienced is best viewed through a VR headset like the Oculus Rift, you can watch a two-dimensional version of The K3ys in your browser, and navigate using keyboard or mouse. Read more on The whispery world of ASMR enters virtual reality…

Posted in Presence in the News | Leave a comment

Call: International Journal of Human-Computer Studies: Special Issue on Animal-Computer Interaction

[Members of the presence community have often commented on the ability of animals to experience spatial and social presence; note especially the second bullet point below…  -Matthew]

Call for Contributions:

International Journal of Human-Computer Studies: Special Issue on Animal-Computer Interaction

Manuscript should be prepared according to the IJHCS Guide for authors. Please select SI: ACI when you reach the “Article Type” step in the submission process at

Submission Deadline: 30 June 2015
Final Paper Due: 31 December 2015

Clara Mancini, The Open University,
Oskar Juhlin, Stockholm University,
Adrian David Cheock, City University London,
Shaun Lawson, University of Lincoln,

Animals have interacted with technology for a long time. Already in the ’60s, bears were wearing tracking devices within conservation research; while mice and pigeons were working with operant chambers in task-driven behavioral experiments. In the ’80s, great apes were using early touch-screen computers to learn human language in comparative cognition studies, followed in the ’90s by dolphins using underwater keyboards for similar communication tasks. Meantime, cows were being introduced to early robotic milking systems thanks to the latest advances in agricultural engineering. Until recently, the development of these technologies has been driven by disciplines other than Interaction Design; consequently, questions pertaining to the usability and experience of such technologies from the perspective or animal users, to the design processes that inform animal-computer interactions, or to the articulations between animals’ physiology, psychology, sociality and interaction design, were not explicitly addressed.

However, since the early ’00s, the HCI community has begun to take an interest in the interaction between animals and technology, and to tackle the challenges involved in extending user-centered design solutions and practices beyond the human species. As a result, an increasing body of work is shaping the emerging discipline of Animal-Computer Interaction (ACI) whose aims encompass:

  • studying and theorizing the interaction between animals and technology in naturalistic settings, with regards to specific animal activities or interspecies relations (e.g. influence of robotic milking systems on cows’ social dynamics; effects of quantifying technology on human-dog relations; impact of wearable biotelemetry on wildlife)
  • developing user-centered technology that can: improve animals’ welfare by enabling the fulfillment of their needs (e.g. environmental control and interactive stimulation for captive animals); support animals in tasks humans might ask of them (e.g. specialized interfaces for working dogs); foster interspecies relationships (e.g. human-animal interfaces for co-located or remote interaction)
  • informing user-centered approaches to the design of technology intended for animals, by systematically exploring, adapting and evaluating theoretical and methodological frameworks and protocols derived from both HCI and animal science (e.g. rapid prototyping and agile iteration; preference testing).

As a discipline, ACI could yield benefits that go well beyond animal wellbeing and the improvement of human-animal relations. Indeed, far from being a niche research area, ACI could strengthen HCI as a discipline and contribute to the pursuit of the HCI community’s aspirations. For example, the development of multispecies research practices and design frameworks could enable designers to better account for the cognitive and ergonomic diversity of their prospective users. ACI could also broaden participation in interaction design, providing inclusive technology to support multispecies communities, and lead to the development of more sustainable forms of technologically supported living. In the longer term, by bringing more-than-human voices to the design table, ACI could help us revisit anthropocentric biases in human activity and interspecies interaction, and contribute to the exploration of alternative models that can better support biodiversity and foster environmental restoration.

With this IJHCS special issue on Animal-Computer Interaction, we want to capitalize on the momentum that ACI research has been gaining in recent years, make a decisive step forward towards its academic establishment, and further support its development. To this end, we invite novel, high quality contributions that demonstrate a user-centered focus, and preferably (but not necessarily) present an engineering element, around any of the following questions: Read more on Call: International Journal of Human-Computer Studies: Special Issue on Animal-Computer Interaction…

Posted in Calls | Leave a comment

The future of remote work feels like teleportation

[A vision of the future of presence in the context of work; this is from The Wall Street Journal, where the story includes a 2:22 minute video. –Mathew]


[Image: Students at The University of Pennsylvania have created DORA, a robot that both mimics the movements of and sends visual information to a virtual reality headset. Their goal is to give users the experience of actually inhabiting the robot’s body, even if it’s halfway around the world. Photo: Drew Evans/The Wall Street Journal]

The Future of Remote Work Feels Like Teleportation

Virtual-reality headsets, 3-D cameras help make videoconferencing immersive

By Christopher Mims
May 10, 2015

I have experienced the future of remote work, and it feels a lot like teleportation. Whether I was in a conference room studded with monitors, on a video-chat system that leverages 3-D cameras, or strapped into a virtual-reality headset inhabiting the body of a robot, I kept having the same feeling over and over again: I was there—where collaboration needed to happen.

While they might facilitate communication, telephone calls, chat rooms and even video conferences all emphasize the distance between you and your conversation partner. It is something I hadn’t noticed until I got the chance to play with more advanced technologies. And now I am convinced that the future of remote work—that is, the future of most work—is devices few people have been privileged to try, but won’t want to abandon once they do. Read more on The future of remote work feels like teleportation…

Posted in Presence in the News | Leave a comment

Call: Virtual Environments and Advanced Interfaces (VEAI’2015)

​Call for Papers

“Virtual Environments and Advanced Interfaces” (VEAI’2015)
Workshop within the 14th IEEE International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing and Communications (IUCC-2015)
Liverpool, 26-28 October 2015


The workshop on “Virtual Environments and Advanced Interfaces” within the 14th IEEE International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing and Communications (IUCC-2015) that will be held on 26-28 October 2015 in Liverpool, UK aims to promote the discussion about ways of enhancing human computer interaction and communication in Immersive Virtual Environments. To address relevant challenges, VR software and hardware need to be adopted in embedded environments to allow intuitive interaction between users and/or agents. It will provide an opportunity for researchers and practitioners to present their latest work on evaluating the impact of advanced interfaces on human interaction and communication and will highlight innovative applications and research outcomes.

We invite original papers (full/short papers, industrial case studies) that discuss the topic in term of concepts, pilots, state of the art, research, standards, implementations, running experiments, applications, and industrial case studies. Submissions should not be under consideration of other conferences or journals. The topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Interaction & interface design & evaluation
  • Agents and human interaction
  • Social aspects of human-computer interaction
  • Computer games and gaming
  • Human Interaction in Virtual Reality Games
  • Human-computer interaction in education and training
  • Principles, theories, and models
  • Sound synthesis and design for virtual environments
  • Sound spatialisation
  • Multimodal interaction in Virtual Reality
  • Personalisation and customisation of virtual reality environments

Read more on Call: Virtual Environments and Advanced Interfaces (VEAI’2015)…

Posted in Calls | Leave a comment

Retinad to bring pre-roll ads and analytics to VR

[If there have to be ads in VR, this may be a promising way to do it, and as the author of this piece in Road to VR notes, the analytics may be useful to (presence) designers. –Matthew]

Retinad pre-roll VR ad

[Image: Here a pre-roll screenshot of another VR game is shown before another VR experience. Floating gaze-based menu options allow users to skip or interact with the ad.]

Retinad’s Promising VR Ad and Analytics System is Now Backed with a $500,000 Investment

By Ben Lang – May 20, 2015

Retinad, a company working to bring immersive advertising and analytics to virtual reality, has just closed a $500,000 early-stage round to bring their solution to market. Avoiding the worst case banner-in-your-face approach, the company is jumping feet first into VR, bringing immersive (but not invasive) pre-roll ads and useful analytics tools that could be a hit with developers and advertisers alike.

Regardless of your stance on ad monetization, it’s an important revenue generator that funds the continued creation of content that otherwise wouldn’t exist. Fortunately, Retinad is smartly adapting ads for the medium of VR itself, rather than just plastering banners between users and their content.

The company is primarily pitching a ‘pre-roll’ approach which presents users with an immersive advertisement at the start of the VR game or experience. That ad can be a 360 video or photo, and it includes gaze-based action-points for user interaction like Skip, Like, and More Info.

Retinad co-founders Samuel Poirier and Anthony Guay tell me that the VR app itself can load in the background while the user is experiencing the immersive pre-roll ad. Pre-roll placement is suggested to take advantage of latent loading time, but they say that developers can choose to place these ‘ad sessions’ at any point in their game, such as between levels. Read more on Retinad to bring pre-roll ads and analytics to VR…

Posted in Presence in the News | Leave a comment

Call: “Image Embodiment: New Perspectives of the Sensory Turn” for Yearbook of Moving Image Studies

Call for Papers

Yearbook of Moving Image Studies:
Image Embodiment: New Perspectives of the Sensory Turn

Deadline for Abstracts: August 1, 2015
Deadline for Articles: January 11, 2016

The double-blind peer-reviewed Yearbook of Moving Image Studies (YoMIS) is now accepting articles from scientists, scholars, artists and film makers for the second issue entitled “Image Embodiment: New Perspectives of the Sensory Turn.” YoMIS will be enriched by disciplines like media and film studies, image science, (film) philosophy, art history, game studies and other research areas related to the moving image in general.

Theories addressing the embodiment of the human mind discuss the relationship between subject and environment. Especially the international discourse in philosophy and cognitive psychology reflects the topics of embodied cognition (see Lakoff & Johnson 1980; Clark 1997; Gallagher 2005), extended or embedded mind (Haugeland 1995; Clark & Chalmers 1998), multimodality of perception (vgl. Nanay 2013) and enactivism (see Varela/Thompson/Rosch 1991; Noë 2004).

Recent evolution of media technologies, like interactive and immersive media, VR displays, AR applications, natural interfaces or embodied interaction, emphasise the role of the lived body in theoretical and applied areas. Different studies indicate that the analysis of the processing of mediated sensory data need to involve the crucial functions of the lived body interweaved with the structure of the human mind.

Therefore “Image Embodiment: New Perspectives of the Sensory Turn” addresses the broad field within the relation of perception and reception of media images and the somatic, neural and mental processes that are embodied in the corporeal human dimension. Hence contributions for the recent issue of the Yearbook of Moving Image Studies, referring to the broad field of embodiment theory and image science, should concentrate explicitly on images and visual artefacts, not media technologies or material interfaces. Topics should focus on (but are not necessarily limited to) images as perceptual or cognitive extension or prostheses (in terms of extended or embedded cognition), pictorial (re)embodiment and avatarial embodiment (understanding the avatar as pictorial and bodily representation), the relation of perception and sensorimotor interaction, graphic interfaces and embodied interaction and the lived body and interactive immersive or hyper realistic images. Read more on Call: “Image Embodiment: New Perspectives of the Sensory Turn” for Yearbook of Moving Image Studies…

Posted in Calls | Leave a comment

Study: 3D movies good for brain, more like ‘watching real-life’

[The key phrase in this report from BT (which features more pictures and two videos) is that the study’s results “[add] to the argument that 3D movies are more like watching real-life”; more details are in coverage by Forbes. –Matthew]

3D film study

How watching 3D movies could be good for your brain

A scientific experiment has shown 3D movies to have a positive impact on brain activity.

Last updated: 22 May 2015

If you’ve been to a 3D movie in the last couple of years, you can probably appreciate that it creates a more immersive experience.

However, a group of scientists and neuroscientists believe it can do more than just that – they say it heightens brain activity in such a way that it could actually be used to slow decline in cognitive function.

The experiment was carried out by a partnership between neuroscientist Patrick Fagan, and science group Thrill Laboratory. They gave a group of participants a brain-training, IQ-style test before showing them a segment from Disney movie Big Hero 6 in either 2D or 3D. They then had to take the test again, with the results being compared to provide the data. Read more on Study: 3D movies good for brain, more like ‘watching real-life’…

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