ISPR Presence News

Monthly Archives: August 2015

Call: First International Workshop on Educational Robots (WONDER)

First International Workshop on Educational Robots (WONDER)
Paris, 26th October 2015

Satellite event of the International Conference on Social Robotics (ICSR)

Social robots are increasingly being studied as companions supporting and helping humans in different applications (e.g., home, healthcare, work spaces, public spaces, education, etc.). The study of robots acting as educational agents is an emerging field of social robotics. The last few years have seen the emergence, worldwide, of collaborative projects studying the role of robots in educational applications, for example, robots acting as tutors to support teachers and students, tools for therapy of children with autism, instructors in the factory, and learning companions in healthcare applications.

This workshop will bring together for the first time researchers interested in the design, development and evaluation of robots acting as educational agents. We anticipate the main outcome of the workshop to be the identification and investigation of open issues for educational robots, ranging from usability and personalization to long-term autonomy in real world environments.

Topics include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Robots acting as educational agents
  • Instructional robots
  • Personalised robotic tutors
  • Perception-action loops in educational robots
  • Frameworks for adaptive, real-time HRI
  • User engagement with educational robots
  • Design methodologies for educational robots
  • Evaluation of educational robots
  • Metrics of success for educational robots
  • Effects of embodiment/robotic platforms on learning
  • Affect, social bonding and learning
  • Robot ethics in educational/instructional applications

Read more on Call: First International Workshop on Educational Robots (WONDER)…

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Vidal Sassoon AR app lets you try different hair color shades virtually

[VS Shades and other ModiFace apps that let users experiment with changing their appearance demonstrate the presence-evoking potential of augmented reality; this is from the PSFK blog, which features more images. –Matthew]

VS Shades app screenshots

Give Any Hair Color a Virtual Try

With the VS Shades app, you can try on Vidal Sassoon Hair Colors without the commitment and potentially bad decisions

Leo Lutero
14 august 2015

A new app will let consumers try on Vidal Sassoon Hair Colors before getting them in real life. Through a virtual try before buy, the VS Shades app [Android; IOS] illustrates how augmented reality can help shoppers in the cosmetics section.

The Vidal Sassoon name has always been associated with cutting edge and the move to use augmented reality to market its products comes naturally. The new app from the brand allows people to try on their hair color shades with a few simple taps. From a panel below, users can change their hair shades to any of the 24 featured in the app. With social media integration, users can even share their photos and ask friends to pitch in thoughts. Each color in the pallet links to how-tos and product information so users can turn their virtual hairstyles into actual ones using VS products. Read more on Vidal Sassoon AR app lets you try different hair color shades virtually…

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Job: Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in HCI at University of Bath

Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Human-Computer Interaction
University of Bath, Department of Computer Science

Salary: Starting from £38,511, rising to £45,954

Closing Date: Friday 16 October 2015

The Department of Computer Science at the University of Bath wishes to appoint an academic with an excellent track record, a strongly interdisciplinary outlook, and the clearly demonstrated potential to be an international leader in the field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI).

The Department’s research is structured in four groups: HCI, Computer Vision & Graphics, Intelligent Systems, and Mathematical Foundations. The HCI group at Bath is highly regarded internationally, very successful in research publication and grant capture, and collaborates extensively across the University and beyond. The post holder will be expected to conduct excellent research within the HCI group and to strengthen and develop the HCI group’s links to our other groups. Read more on Job: Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in HCI at University of Bath…

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MTV rolls out VMA red carpet in your house with 360-degree VR

[You can ‘be there’ on the red carpet as stars arrive for the MTV Video Music Awards this Sunday. This story is from Fast Company’s Co.Create, where it features more images and a video; the VMA website is here. –Matthew]

Miley Cyrus hosts MTV's Video Music Awards 2015

MTV Rolls Out The VMA Red Carpet In Your House With 360-Degree Virtual Reality

The star-studded pre-show may never be the same.

By Lydia Dishman
August 27, 2015

For some music fans, seeing a red carpet parade of celebrities and artists is almost as important as the awards show their favorites are there to attend.

MTV’s long been offering dedicated viewers a pre-show lead-in to its Video Music Awards (VMAs), replete with up-close coverage of fashion hits and misses designed to be memorable (hello, Dennis Rodman in a sparkly crop top in 1995, and Gaga decked out in sirloin strips in 2010).

But what’s it like to actually be on the carpet surrounded by thousands of screaming fans? That’s an experience that Colin Helms, MTV’s senior vice president of Connected Content says the network wanted to bring to viewers for this year’s award show. The challenge, he tells Co.Create, was how to make it immersive as well as unique. The solution: virtual reality. Read more on MTV rolls out VMA red carpet in your house with 360-degree VR…

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Call: Ageing Playfully: Advancing Research on Games for Older Adults Beyond Accessibility and Health Benefits (at CHI PLAY 2015)

Call for workshop submissions
Ageing Playfully: Advancing Research on Games for Older Adults Beyond Accessibility and Health Benefits
Half-day Workshop at CHI PLAY 2015

Submission deadline August 31st 2015

Workshop to be held October 4th 2015 in London, UK

This workshop aims to shift perspectives on games for older adults beyond benefits they provide, exploring challenges and opportunities in the design and development of games for older adults that primarily focus on entertainment to provide empowering and engaging experiences.

Submissions are available in two categories. We would like to invite participants with a background in human-computer interaction, game design, and/or games research, who are encouraged to submit two-page position papers in SIGCHI Extended Abstracts format addressing at least one of the following questions:

  • What picture of older adults is currently propagated in games research, what are the challenges, and what are the opportunities? How can we create realistic profiles of older adult players?
  • What can we learn from previous game design projects addressing older adults, what were the strengths and weaknesses in their design?
  • How can we create games that encourage older players to take ownership of their gaming experience, empowering them to actively shape the way they interact with games rather than taking the role of passive consumers?
  • How can we balance design efforts that aim to deliver benefits of games with a purpose beyond entertainment to older adults, and consolidate this approach with the idea of playing games purely for entertainment?
  • And finally, how should the field prepare itself for the upcoming generations of older adults, which include many individuals who had access to games in their formative years?

Furthermore, we encourage researchers and practitioners with a background in ageing to submit a maximum of five presentation slides outlining challenges that need to be met by the games research community for games to become a meaningful part of older adults’ daily lives. Read more on Call: Ageing Playfully: Advancing Research on Games for Older Adults Beyond Accessibility and Health Benefits (at CHI PLAY 2015)…

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Modern Sensorama: Combining VR with elements of the physical world

[This story about an interesting approach to mixed reality being taken by a startup company doesn’t mention the key concept but the main page of Wild’s website prominently features the heading “Experience Presence”; the story is from MIT Technology Review. –Matthew]

Wild's mixed reality

[Image: Startup Wild combines virtual reality with real objects. This composite shot shows the view from inside a Gear VR headset and in the real world.]

When Virtual Reality Collides with Reality, It’s Surreal

A Portland startup called Wild is combining virtual reality with elements of the physical world.

By Rachel Metz on August 26, 2015

In 1962, cinematographer Morton Heilig patented his Sensorama Stimulator—a bulky virtual-reality machine that showed 3-D films on a personal display while pumping in smells, sounds, and the sensation of wind.

Heilig was never able to popularize the sensory-immersive Sensorama; it remains a curious footnote in the history of virtual reality. But a small startup based in a Portland, Oregon, garage could have better luck.

Since March, Wild has been building an experience that combines virtual reality with elements of real life. Visitors wear a virtual-reality headset and headphones, so they’re surrounded by 3-D virtual images and accompanying sound effects and music. But the 3-D scenes include instructions to do things like reach out to turn a doorknob and open a door, and when you do, you find it’s not just a digital rendering of a door but a real door and doorknob that you must open and walk through to navigate from one virtual room to another.

“We like the idea of combining the physical space with virtual reality because it grounds the user in the experience more than just floating through the ether,” explains Wild founder Gabe Paez.

Wild hopes companies will want it to build these kinds of mixed-reality experiences for trade shows or events, and can imagine it working as a sort of theme-park ride, too. Read more on Modern Sensorama: Combining VR with elements of the physical world…

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Call: HRI 2016 -11th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction

Call For Papers
11th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI 2016)

Conference: March 7-10, 2016, Christchurch, New Zealand
Submission Deadline: October 2, 2015.

The 11th Annual ACM/IEEE HRI Conference theme is “Natural Interaction.” The conference seeks contributions from a broad set of perspectives, including technical, design, methodological, behavioral, and theoretical, that advance fundamental and applied knowledge and methods in human-robot interaction. Full papers and Tutorial/Workshop abstracts will be archived in the ACM Digital Library and IEEE Xplore Digital Library. Full details of the submission types is provided on


Full papers are eight camera-ready pages, including figures. Accepted full papers will be published in the conference proceedings and be presented in an oral session.

To facilitate quality interdisciplinary reviewing, authors will be required to select a theme for their full paper submission. These themes represent different types of contributions to human-robot interaction and thus involve different criteria for evaluating what constitutes a significant contribution to the field. For a full description of themes and examples of prior contributions see

Studies of Human-Robot Interaction theme includes naturalistic and experimental studies of how humans and robots interact in real-world settings or in experimental scenarios to establish new understanding, principles, and design recommendations for human-robot interaction.

Theme Chairs: Takayuki Kanda (ATR, Japan), Tony Belpaeme (Plymouth Univ., UK)

Technical Advances in Human-Robot Interaction include contributions that describe new robot systems, algorithms, and computational methods that enable robots to better understand, interact with, and collaborate with their users.

Theme Chair: Siddhartha Srinivasa (Carnegie Mellon Univ., USA)

Human-Robot Interaction Design involves research related to robot design from a broad spectrum of design practices, including form, interaction, and service design.

Theme Chair: Guy Hoffman (IDC Herzliya, Israel)

Theory and Methods in Human-Robot Interaction theme includes contributions that provide novel ways of understanding and studying human interactions, needs, and environments that will inform the development of robot technologies, systems, and applications.

Theme Chair: Kerstin Fischer (Univ. of S. Denmark, Denmark)

Authors are encouraged to review the extended call for papers on the conference website ( for more information regarding the themes, including theme specific program-committee, examples of past publications, and evaluation criteria. Read more on Call: HRI 2016 -11th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction…

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Closer to the Holodeck: Unreal Engine brings realism to VR room

[Photorealism certainly isn’t essential to evoke presence, but there’s a new space to study how much and when it might help. This is a press release from the University of Michigan’s UM3D Lab; follow the link for more images and a 2:09 minute video. –Matthew]

Person in UM3D Lab experiencing VR

Unreal Engine in Stereoscopic Virtual Reality

August 24, 2015

Up until now, the Oculus Rift has been the go-to system for gamers seeking the ultimate immersive experience, offering immersive stereo compatibility with game engines like Unreal and Unity 3D. Recently, the UM3D Lab was able to push this experience even further, with Graphics Programmer Sean Petty adapting the Unreal Engine to work within the 3D Lab’s M.I.D.E.N – a fully immersive, stereoscopic 3D virtual reality experience. Read more on Closer to the Holodeck: Unreal Engine brings realism to VR room…

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Call: Game Studies, Culture, Play, and Practice Area at Southwest Popular/American Culture Association (SWPACA) 2016 Conference

Call for Papers: Game Studies, Culture, Play, and Practice Area
37th Annual Southwest Popular / American Culture Association (SWPACA) Conference
February 10-13, 2016
Hyatt Regency Hotel and Conference Center
Albuquerque, NM

Submission deadline: November 1, 2015

The Game Studies, Culture, Play, and Practice Area welcomes papers, panels, and other proposals on games (digital and otherwise) and their study and development. The Area is also offering a three hour workshop titled “Making the Makerspace: A Look Into the Creation of the iSpace” on the first day of the conference.


Possible topics include (but are in no way limited to):

  • Advertising (both in-game and out)
  • Alternative reality games
  • Archiving and artifactual preservation
  • Competitive/clan gaming
  • Design and development
  • Economic and industrial histories and studies
  • Educational games and their pedagogies
  • Foreign language games and culture
  • Game art/game-based art (including game sound)
  • Game streaming
  • Haptics and interface studies
  • Histories of games
  • Localization
  • Machinima
  • MOGs, MMOGs, and other forms of online/networked gaming
  • Performance
  • Pornographic games
  • Religion and games
  • Representations of race and gender
  • Representations of space and place
  • The rhetoric of games and game systems
  • Serious games
  • Strategy games
  • Table-top games and gaming
  • Technological, aesthetic, economic, and ideological convergence
  • Theories of play
  • Wireless and mobile gaming

For paper proposals: Please submit a 250 word abstract and brief biographical sketch to the conference event management site: Make sure to select the Game Studies, Culture, Play, and Practice topic area. The submission deadline is 11/1/2015. Read more on Call: Game Studies, Culture, Play, and Practice Area at Southwest Popular/American Culture Association (SWPACA) 2016 Conference…

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Robot swans patrol Singapore’s reservoirs, hunting pollution

[Another unusual example of presence, even if the term isn’t used: How many people who see these swans will perceive them accurately as technology? This story is from Fast Company, where it includes a photo gallery; more information, images and a 2:19 minute video are available from Channel News Asia’s coverage. –Matthew]

Robot swans patrol Singapore's reservoirs

Robot Swans Patrol Singapore’s Reservoirs, Hunting Pollution

If you’re going to fill your water with robot sensors, why not make them fit in?

Charlie Sorrel
July 17, 2015

The NUSwan might sound like a bio-engineered creature from Blade Runner, but it has more in common with the Roomba that sweeps your home. The robot swans have been deployed by the National University of Singapore to swim around water reservoirs and keep an eye on water quality.

Right now, monitoring Singapore’s reservoirs is done by humans in boats, which is impractical, slow and not very scaleable. The NUSwan can swim tirelessly, continually testing pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity (cloudiness) and chlorophyll. The results are transmitted wirelessly back to researchers, the GPS-equipped swans sweep the lake without duplicating any already-tested spots, and they automatically return to base for recharging when batteries run low.

The whole thing is a bit Las Vegas-y, where artifice is regularly swapped in for the real thing, but if you’re going to build a water-roving robot, why not build it into a swan? Read more on Robot swans patrol Singapore’s reservoirs, hunting pollution…

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