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Monthly Archives: July 2015

Call: NEUROTECHNIX 2015 – 3rd International Congress on Neurotechnology, Electronics and Informatics

Call for Papers

NEUROTECHNIX 2015 – 3rd International Congress on Neurotechnology, Electronics and Informatics
16-17 November, 2015
Lisbon, Portugal

NEUROTECHNIX is sponsored by INSTICC – Institute for Systems and Technologies of Information, Control and Communication


The first research works on neurotechnology can be dated back nearly half a century, but it is in the XXI century that most significant advances are being witnessed. Neurotechnology shows a very high potential of enhancing human activities, involving technologies such as neural rehabilitation, neural prosthesis, neuromodulation, neurosensing and diagnosis, and other combinations of neurological and biomedical knowledge with engineering technologies.

This congress will be a meeting point of multidisciplinary teams, of both biomedical and engineering professionals, academics and practitioners. It will promote translational discussions on how technology can meet the needs of both clinical practitioners and persons with neurological disorders. Neurotechnix will emphasize research and application of neurotechnologies to different neurological disorders, such as: Neuromuscular diseases, Parkinson disease, Developmental disorders, Dementia , Epilepsy, Sleep disorders, Multiple Sclerosis, Neuroinfections, Brain Tumors, Stroke, Traumatic brain injuries, Cerebral Palsy, Spinal Cord Injury, Vision and Hearing disorders, among others.

Authors are invited to submit innovative research work that highlights new advancements of neurotechnology either in general or regarding a particular case, application or pathology. New ideas on how to approach neurotechnology challenges and issues will arise from the congress. Engineering, clinical and biomedical viewpoints are expected. Papers describing case studies, advanced prototypes, systems, tools and techniques and general survey papers indicating future directions are encouraged. Papers should describe original work in any of the topics listed below.


Each of these topic areas is expanded below but the sub-topics list is not exhaustive. Papers may address one or more of the listed sub-topics, although authors should not feel limited by them. Unlisted but related sub-topics are also acceptable, provided they fit in one of the following main topic areas:


Read more on Call: NEUROTECHNIX 2015 – 3rd International Congress on Neurotechnology, Electronics and Informatics…

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TV show fans create photos that merge real and fictional worlds

[Some fans of television programs go to filming locations and take photos that include photos of characters and scenes from the show, apparently attempting to form (presence) connections to the places and people in the fictional world. As a fan of Orphan Black, I favor the ones by arcsloth on that program’s Tumblr; an example is below, followed by a story from The Huffington Post about (and featuring many examples of) the same phenomenon for Orange Is The New Black. -Matthew]

Orphan Black set photo

Orange Is The New Black set photo

Teen Trespasses On Abandoned ‘OITNB’ Set, Show Has Great Response

By Taylor Pittman
Posted: 07/06/2015; Updated: 07/08/2015

A Netflix binge just wasn’t enough for this “Orange Is The New Black” fan.

Samantha Gardella from Monroe, N.Y., wanted something more, so she visited the set of the Netflix original series. The idea came after Samantha noticed a tweet from a local radio station explaining that scenes for the show’s fourth season would be filmed at the abandoned Rockland Children’s Psychiatric Center. According to, the location is a “stand-in for the fictional prison where the show takes place.” It also happens to be about 30 minutes from Samantha’s house. Since realizing the set was so close to her, she’s visited three times and has taken home some creative souvenirs.

The 19-year-old film student took screenshots from the show and matched them up with the actual locations. She took inspiration from a similar photo she discovered that lined up with a scene from “The Walking Dead.” Read more on TV show fans create photos that merge real and fictional worlds…

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Job: Postdoctoral Research Associate at Playable Innovative Technologies (PLAIT) Lab at Northeastern University

[From Dr. Sebastian Deterding, Northeastern University]

If you are or know someone who might want to work with me and the fab faculty at the Northeastern University on game design, gameful design, embarrassment, motivation, and all that fun stuff: I have a postdoc position open immediately. Of course, if you have any questions, feel free to ask.


Position Title: Postdoctoral Research Associate
Requisition Number: STFR002325
Division/College: College of Arts, Media and Design
Location: Boston Main Campus
Full-time/Part-time: Full Time
Posting Date: 07/13/2015
Link: Read more on Job: Postdoctoral Research Associate at Playable Innovative Technologies (PLAIT) Lab at Northeastern University…

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Presence and politics: How VR will influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election

[I like that this article about the various uses of VR and presence (it even uses the term) in politics points out both the benefits and dangers; it’s from Upload and includes more images and two videos. For details on Bernie Sanders’ use of VR (mentioned at the end) see coverage in Variety. –Matthew]

VR election graphic

How Virtual Reality Will Influence the 2016 Presidential Election

For better or worse.

by Will Mason
July 19, 2015

Virtual reality is on the precipice of transforming our world in many ways. From the way we entertain ourselves, to the way we interact with one another, to the way we work – there are few facets of our lives that virtual reality won’t touch in the upcoming years. With Oculus, HTC and Sony all planning to release consumer grade virtual reality headsets on the market in the next eight months and sales expected to climb into the millions, virtual reality very well may be the year’s defining technology – and in many more ways than just gaming. Outside of the virtual reality bubble, there is another event in 2016 that also will shape the world we live in: The US Presidential Election.

In the previous Presidential election cycle, big data analytics played a major role in how the candidates shaped their campaigns. Wired magazine went as far as dubbing it the “nerdiest election ever,” and Obama’s campaign manager Jim Messina credits their data analytics strategies as one of the biggest advantages their camp had over Mitt Romney’s. This year’s election figures to be even more heavily reliant on data analytics than ever before. Using a combination of social and big data, this year’s candidates will be figuring out how best to spend their massive campaign coffers (the 2012 election saw $7 billion spent by candidates and interested parties). But with everyone already relying on metrics from regular online data, where will this year’s candidates find that new edge over the competition? The answer may very well lie in virtual reality. How? Read on. Read more on Presence and politics: How VR will influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election…

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Call: Contributions to book series on the Future of Humanity and its Successors

Palgrave Studies in the Future of Humanity and its Successors

Series editors
Calvin Mercer (Professor of Religion, East Carolina University)
Steve Fuller (Professor of Sociology, University of Warwick, UK)

Humanity is at a crossroads in its history, precariously poised between mastery and extinction. The fast-developing array of human enhancement therapies and technologies (e.g., genetic engineering, information technology, regenerative medicine, robotics, and nanotechnology) are increasingly impacting our lives and our future. The most ardent advocates believe that some of these developments could permit humans to take control of their own evolution and alter human nature and the human condition in fundamental ways, perhaps to an extent that we arrive at the “posthuman”, the “successor” of humanity.

This series brings together research from a variety of fields to consider the economic, ethical, legal, political, psychological, religious, social, and other implications of cutting-edge science and technology. The series as a whole does not advocate any particular position on these matters. Rather, it provides a forum for experts to wrestle with the far-reaching implications of the enhancement technologies of our day. The time is ripe for forwarding this conversation among academics, public policy experts, and the general public. Read more on Call: Contributions to book series on the Future of Humanity and its Successors…

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RealDolls add AI and VR to become companions

[Shades of Lars and the Real Girl, Ex Machina and other films: The founder of RealDoll has some intriguing things to say here about the future of presence interactions that go way beyond physical intimacy; the story is from PSFK and includes seven additional vivid images. –Matthew]

RealDoll head

Sex Dolls with Artificial Intelligence to Ease Your Loneliness (and Maybe Shoot You a Text)

We talked to RealDoll CEO Matt Mullen about the company’s latest project: making robotic sex dolls that talk, text, and email back

Laura Yan
8 July 2015

Abyss Creations, the company beyond Realdoll (life-sized, silicone sex dolls), wants to start making robotic sex dolls that talk back, flirt and interact with the customer. The project, called Realbotix, is the company’s first venture into the world of artificial intelligence. It involves an AI-powered animatronic head that can be fitted onto preexisting doll bodies, a pocket-pet doll accessible through an app and a version of the doll in virtual reality.

We spoke with CEO Matt McMullen about the company’s latest endeavor and how, with the help of AI, sex dolls can become more than just sex dolls—they can become companions. Read more on RealDolls add AI and VR to become companions…

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Call: BBC looking to fund VR experiences and more

[This item is both news and a call for proposals that may be of interest; it’s from VRFocus. –Matthew]

BBC Looking to Fund VR Experiences and More

July 27, 2015
Jamie Feltham

Read more on Call: BBC looking to fund VR experiences and more…

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In Honda’s Dream Drive, real car takes you on trippy virtual journey

[Here’s a vivid first-hand report about an interesting experimental use of VR to evoke presence; it’s from PCWorld, where the story includes two more images. –Matthew]

Dream Drive: Oculus Rift in Honda car

Oculus Rift took me for a ride in a real car during Honda’s trippy Dream Drive

They drove, and I watched VR that synced to the motion of the car. I was on a racetrack. In a space station. Trippy indeed.

Martyn Williams, IDG News Service
July 24, 2015

As I climbed into the car, I didn’t have high hopes.

I was trying out Honda’s Dream Drive, a prototype technology that pairs an Oculus Rift headset with data about the car’s movements to produce a virtual reality simulation.

The car (an Acura MDX from Honda’s luxury line) was going to drive around the parking lot at Honda’s new R&D center here in Mountain View, California, and the headset would let me gaze into another world as we drove along. Read more on In Honda’s Dream Drive, real car takes you on trippy virtual journey…

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Call: Hear The Music, Play The Game: Music And Game Design: Interplays And Perspectives (GAME theme issue)

GAME – Games as Art, Media, Entertainment

Call for Papers – n. 6/2016
Hear The Music, Play The Game
Music And Game Design: Interplays And Perspectives

Edited by Hillegonda C. Rietveld and Marco Benoît Carbone

Music composition and sound design in video games are important dimensions in the experience of play, gaining increased acknowledgement and attention within the game industry. The growing relevance and success of several kinds of music-based games, and their codification in novel genres and sub-genres, illustrates one tendency in this shift of focus towards the aural in relation to the usually visual dominance of the medium. This calls for an attempt to reconsider the often-overlooked impact of music and its role in defining games. Arguably, a distinction can be made between games in which music functions in the background, and games in which music is an integral part of the game mechanics. For example, attention to game music demands a reconsideration of the importance of sonic content in past productions, and to look at practices like the revival of chip music, associated with early arcade, console, and home computer games. Meanwhile, the music industry has recognized the importance of game music, as demonstrated by the growing amount of releases of game sound tracks as well as occasional in-game music sales in and across new and different markets. Composers and sound designers have too often been regarded as contributors to the final phases of game development, despite the central affective power of music production in game design and the experience of play.

So far, academic research has focused mostly on general aspects of sound design. There seems to exist a vastly unexplored area of analysis for thinking about how technological change, market differentiations, and evolving social contexts of media consumption have affected game-music interactions over the past decades. With this call for papers, we encourage research on music as a multi-faceted creative and professional practice, of importance to the development and understanding of video games. Through a focus on music in relation to the overall game architecture we wish to emphasize the aural as a crucial dimension. Encouraging contributions from video game and music scholars, including musicologists, semioticians and media researchers, we are interested in papers exploring the intersections, interaction, and growing reciprocal influences between these fields.

We are particularly interested in analyses that focus on aspects and issues at the intersection of game and music studies that include, but not are limited to, the following themes: Read more on Call: Hear The Music, Play The Game: Music And Game Design: Interplays And Perspectives (GAME theme issue)…

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Emotional pictures show lonely man’s trips out with life-size doll daughter

[This is an unusual example of presence involving perceiving a medium as a social actor; it’s from RocketNews24, where the story includes 13 additional images (via Sina News via Zaeega) (side note: when I accessed DesignTAXI’s coverage of the same story, an advertisement appeared for The Ashton-Drake Galleries Online’s sale of the “Waltraud Hanl ‘Sweet Butterfly Kisses’ ‘So Truly Real’ ’Touch Activated’ Interactive Baby Doll). –Matthew]

Song Bo with Xiao Die at IMAX

[Image: Song Bo takes his “daughter” Xiao Die to an IMAX film.]

Emotional pictures show lonely man’s trips out with “love doll” daughter [Photos]

Fran Wrigley
May 6, 2015

Two years ago, Song Bo was diagnosed with a serious illness which gave him constant headaches and brought upon depression. Convinced he would never marry or have children, Song was browsing the internet one day when he stumbled upon a listing on China’s online shopping site Taobao that was to give him new hope.

Song bought a child-sized love doll, just 145cm tall (4’10”), and now takes her everywhere with him. The doll may be pint-sized, but as this tender photo series shows, she seems to have changed his life.

The photo series shows the two enjoying days out together at the cinema or in cafes. Song takes her on the subway around Tianjin and carries her tenderly across busy roads. He enjoys taking photos with her, such as these shots that were uploaded to Chinese social networking site Weibo. Read more on Emotional pictures show lonely man’s trips out with life-size doll daughter…

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