ISPR Presence News

Monthly Archives: October 2015

Job: Open-rank faculty position in Visual Narrative at North Carolina State University

Cluster Hire in Visual Narrative (Assistant/Associate/Full professor)

As part of the Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program, the Department of Computer Science at North Carolina State University (NCSU) seeks to fill an open-rank tenure track faculty position to provide key leadership in computer games research. We seek innovative and transformative academic leaders whose scholarship will advance NC State’s position as one of the premier universities of its kind. The successful candidate will build on a nationally leading, campus-wide strength in games research and will establish a vigorous research and teaching program in the science of computer games, emphasizing applications relevant to the generation or analysis of game play supporting the broad context of narrative and its visual presentation. The successful senior candidate is expected to be recognized as a pioneering leader in the development of new approaches to game-related technologies within the broad framework of visual narrative. The successful junior candidate will demonstrate strong potential for such leadership.

The Visual Narrative cluster aims to push the shared frontiers of engineering and humanistic research to set a new agenda for advanced multimodal scholarship, opening research pathways in image analytics, historical visualization, immersive experience, and computer games. Collectively, the cluster merges its research into new critical narratives about visuality and its digital transformations. It aims to broadly impact our notions of media through its interdisciplinary work and to prepare innovative applications of visual narrative for the emerging challenges of research and human communication in our mediated world. Additional information about the Visual Narrative Initiative at NC State can be found at Read more on Job: Open-rank faculty position in Visual Narrative at North Carolina State University…

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“In the Eyes of the Animal” VR experience lets you become a mystical forest creature

[Presence experiences don’t have to involve experiencing the world as yourself or even another human; check out the 1:57 minute video and the other screenshots in this story from The Creators Project blog. –Matthew]

In the Eyes of the Animal screenshot

Finally, Virtual Reality Lets You Become a Mystical Forest Creature

By Kevin Holmes
Sep 22 2015

In previous eras if you wanted to experience the world through the eyes of an animal you’d have to be some kind of next level shaman, but now we have virtual reality. In the Eyes of the Animal, the latest project from Marshmallow Laser Feast—Robin McNicholas, Barney Steel, and Adam Doherty—does exactly that. Set in the sculpture-laden Grizedale forest in the Lake District in the north of England, the 360° therianthropic VR experience let users see the forest through the eyes of its inhabitants. Read more on “In the Eyes of the Animal” VR experience lets you become a mystical forest creature…

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Call: User Interface Design in the 21st Century – Special issue of Computer

Call for Papers
Special issue of Computer on User Interface Design in the 21st Century

Full paper submission deadline: 1 January 2016
Publication date: July 2016

Computer plans a July 2016 issue on user-interface (UI) design.

UI design poses a significant challenge in many emerging technology areas, including wearable computers, machine intelligence, big data, and the Internet of Things (IoT). Contemporary UI design techniques and methods were developed primarily in the era of the PC, the Web, and the mobile device. Now, though, UIs are designed for use in increasingly challenging contexts such as embedded computers and social media. The guest editor hopes this special issue will attract radical UI-design contributions that address 21st century challenges.

The issue will focus primarily on methods and approaches, but case studies are also acceptable if their findings can be applied in a range of contexts. Articles can address any emerging UI category, but those with a significant existing or potential user base are preferred. Appropriate topics include but are not limited to UIs dealing with emerging frontiers of computing such as: Read more on Call: User Interface Design in the 21st Century – Special issue of Computer…

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L.A. Philharmonic’s Van Beethoven takes VR for a classical spin

[Here’s another interesting application of VR and presence; as so often happens, this story from The Los Angeles Times includes many descriptions of presence but not the term itself. -Matthew]

Man experiences LA Philharmnic in VR

[Image: Neal Taylor watches and listens a Los Angeles Philharmonic performance via a virtual reality headset in the orchestra’s Van Beethoven. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)]

L.A. Philharmonic’s Van Beethoven takes virtual reality for a classical spin

September 24, 2015
David Ng

Can the technology that set the video gaming world abuzz create classical music fanboys and girls?

The Los Angeles Philharmonic has launched a virtual reality project in which people don VR goggles and Samsung headsets that give them a 3-D, 360-degree experience of four minutes of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, performed by the orchestra at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

The VR goggles and other equipment were put aboard a bus, dubbed Van Beethoven, and sent out to tour the county through October. Read more on L.A. Philharmonic’s Van Beethoven takes VR for a classical spin…

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Call: Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS) 2016 Conference

15th International Conference on
Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS 2016)

Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel
9-13th of May, 2016


Abstract Submission: 13th of November, 2015 (23:59 UTC-12)
Full Paper Submission: 17th of November, 2015 (23:59 UTC-12)
Rebuttal Phase: 11-12th of January, 2016 (23:59 UTC-12)
Author Notification: 26th of January, 2016


AAMAS is the leading scientific conference for research in autonomous agents and multiagent systems. The AAMAS conference series was initiated in 2002 by merging three highly respected meetings: the International Conference on Multi-Agent Systems (ICMAS); the International Workshop on Agent Theories, Architectures, and Languages (ATAL); and the International Conference on Autonomous Agents (AA). The aim of the joint conference is to provide a single, high-profile, internationally respected archival forum for scientific research in the theory and practice of autonomous agents and multiagent systems.


AAMAS 2016 encourages the submission of analytical, empirical, methodological, technological, and perspective papers. Analytical and empirical papers should make clear the significance and relevance of their results to the AAMAS community. Similarly, methodological and technological papers should make clear their scientific and technical contributions, and are expected to demonstrate a thorough evaluation of their strengths and weaknesses in practice. It is strongly encouraged that papers focusing on specific agent capabilities evaluate their techniques in the context of autonomous agent architectures or multiagent systems. A thorough evaluation, conducted from a theoretical or applied basis, is considered an essential component of any submission. Authors are also requested to pay particular attention to discussing how their work relates to the state of the art in autonomous agents and multiagent systems research as evidenced in, for example, previous AAMAS and related conferences. All submissions will be rigorously peer reviewed and evaluated on the basis of the overall quality of their technical contribution, including criteria such as originality, soundness, relevance, significance, quality of presentation, and understanding of the state of the art.

AAMAS 2016, the fifteenth conference in the AAMAS series, seeks the submission of high-quality papers limited to 8 pages in length, with a 9th page being allowed *provided it only contains bibliographic references*. Reviews will be double blind; authors must avoid including anything in their papers that can be used to identify them. Please note that submitting an abstract is required to submit a full paper. However, the abstracts will not be reviewed and full (8-page) papers must be submitted for the review process to begin. All work must be original, i.e., it must not have appeared in a conference proceedings, book, or journal and may not be under review for another archival conference. In addition to submissions in the main track, AAMAS 2016 will be soliciting papers in special tracks. The review process for the special tracks will be similar to the main track, but with programme committee members specially selected for each track. All accepted papers for the special tracks will be included in the proceedings.

JAAMAS Submissions

Finally, AAMAS 2016 will also accept papers for presentation that have appeared in the Journal of Autonomous Agents and Multi-agent Systems (JAAMAS) in the 12 months period preceding the AAMAS notification date. These articles also have the option to publish an extended abstract (maximum two pages) in the AAMAS proceedings. The articles must be original and not previously published as a full paper in an archival conference. For details on JAAMAS, visit –


The conference solicits papers addressing original research on autonomous agents and their interaction. Topics of interest include (but are not limited to) the following: Read more on Call: Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS) 2016 Conference…

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Microsoft’s Project Comradre: Multi-person augmented reality

[Shared augmented reality is more difficult than shared VR, with all kinds of interesting potential uses; this story, which features some of our presence colleagues, is from MIT Technology Review; btw, as the CNET coverage notes, the headsets are called “Reality Mashers.” –Matthew]

Andrea Won using Microsoft Comradre

[Image: One of Lanier’s students, Andrea Stevenson Won, wears a headset developed in his lab at Microsoft.]

Microsoft Researchers Are Working on Multi-Person Virtual Reality

Researchers in Jaron Lanier’s lab at Microsoft are exploring ways for people to share the experience of mixed reality.

By Will Knight on October 12, 2015

Augmented or mixed reality, which renders virtual images in a view of the real world, can be spectacular to experience. But it may be even more fun when you bring a friend.

Researchers in the Microsoft lab of Jaron Lanier are experimenting with multi-person augmented reality, and the results of their work could help shape the way the technology is commercialized and used. Lanier was a pioneer of virtual and augmented, or mixed, reality in the 1980s. Read more on Microsoft’s Project Comradre: Multi-person augmented reality…

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Job: Faculty position in Computer Vision, Graphics and/or HCI at University of Bath

Faculty position in Computer Vision, Graphics and/or HCI at University of Bath

The Department of Computer Science at the University of Bath wishes to appoint an academic with a strong interdisciplinary outlook and the clearly demonstrated potential to be internationally leading in one or more of Computer Vision, Graphics and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI).

The post holder will join the Vision and Graphics group or the HCI group, depending on the research focus of the successful candidate. In either case, the post holder will be expected to strengthen existing and create new links between the groups. The Vision and Graphics group at Bath has broad interests bound together by the contemporary movement of vision and graphics convergence. The HCI group is similarly broad, covering the spectrum of HCI research. Both groups are very active, regularly publishing in leading venues, holding large grants and with outstanding links to industry.

The post holder will work closely with colleagues in the £5 million EPSRC Centre for the Analysis of Motion, Entertainment Research and Applications (CAMERA). CAMERA is recruiting a large number of post-doctoral researchers and PhD students to tackle challenges in motion analysis across entertainment, sport and rehabilitation. CAMERA is an excellent example of the effective collaborations between the Department’s Vision & Graphics and HCI groups, with colleagues in Health and Sports Science, and with industry. Partners include leading companies such as The Imaginarium, The Foundry and BMT. For an introduction to CAMERA, see:

The post holder will also engage with the Centre for Digital Entertainment, in which Engineering Doctorate students are co-supervised by world-leading companies. Read more on Job: Faculty position in Computer Vision, Graphics and/or HCI at University of Bath…

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MIT’s EyeNetra could lead to prescription virtual-reality screens

[Note: Apologies for the lack of posts Monday, due to computer server problems beyond our control]

[Aside from all the good this invention can do in testing vision, as someone with reduced vision (due to congenital nystagmus) and of course interested in VR and presence, I find its potential for personalized prescription VR screens particularly interesting; the story is from MIT Press. –Matthew]

MIT's EyeNetra

[Image: Ramesh Raskar holding the Netra device. Credit: John Werner/Camera Culture Group]

Smarter lenses

Newly launched mobile eye-test device could lead to prescription virtual-reality screens

Rob Matheson | MIT News Office
October 19, 2015

After five years of development and about 40,000 tests worldwide, the mobile eye-test device developed by MIT spinout EyeNetra is coming to hospitals, optometric clinics, optical stores, and even homes nationwide.

But on the heels of its commercial release, EyeNetra says it’s been courting offers from virtual-reality companies seeking to use the technology to develop “vision-corrected” virtual-reality displays.

“As much as we want to solve the prescription glasses market, we could also [help] bring virtual reality to the masses,” says EyeNetra co-founder Ramesh Raskar, an associate professor of media arts and sciences at the MIT Media Lab who co-invented the device. Read more on MIT’s EyeNetra could lead to prescription virtual-reality screens…

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Call: The Fantastic Now: Research in the Fantastic in the 21st Century Conference

Seventh annual conference of the Association for Research in the Fantastic

University of Münster
September 22-24, 2016

There is hardly any subject in contemporary literary, cultural, and media studies that is discussed and researched with as much controversy as “the fantastic”. Since theoretical debate on the subject was initiated in the second half of the 20th century, largely by Tzvetan Todorov and Roger Callois, research on the fantastic has become a globally relevant, interdisciplinary, and rapidly developing field of scholarship. The field’s significance is reflected in numerous scholarly journals, associations, organizations, research projects and institutions which have focused on the fantastic.

Yet, ever since the formation of the field, there has been active disagreement on how to define and delineate the subject of research, an issue which has become ever more important not least due to the current breadth and diversity of the research. The central question, “What is the fantastic?”, evokes a broad spectrum of answers. They range from outright dismissal of the subject as trivial, to narrow, minimalist definitions in the tradition of Todorov, and then to extremely broad and inclusive definitions that understand and conceptualize the fantastic as any kind of cultural product which juxtaposes an empirically verifiable world to another, fantastic one, and which thereby becomes formative for genres such as fairy tales, legends, science fiction, magical realism, and gothic. Both recent and long-term developments in cultural and literary theory (such as transnational, transcultural and transmedial approaches) contribute to the field’s growing heterogeneity, revealing clearly how significant a place the fantastic has in contemporary culture. At the same time, this proliferation and diversification of “the fantastic” necessitates a survey and a taking stock of the contemporary landscape of research in the fantastic, of its approaches, its interests, its foci, and its findings.

The seventh annual conference of the Association for Research in the Fantastic aims to take on this task under the title The Fantastic Now: Research in the Fantastic in the 21st Century. It is our goal to include the greatest possible number of diverse voices and perspectives in this endeavor, in order to do justice to the multiplicity and interdisciplinarity of the field, and to discuss its societal and cultural implications. Possible topics and leading questions in the fields of literary and cultural studies, sociology, philosophy and political science could include, but are not limited to:

  • What is “the fantastic”?
  • What are/should be the aims of research in the fantastic today?
  • Genres of the fantastic (and their theoretical implications): horror and gothic, utopias and dystopias, science fiction, fantasy, magical realism, speculative fiction, fairy tales, fables, myths, etc.
  • Fantastic media (and their theoretical implications): The fantastic in literature, art, theatre, film, comics, computer games, Web 2.0, etc.
  • The transmedial fantastic
  • The neo-fantastic
  • Gender, race, class, disability in/and the fantastic
  • Aesthetics of the fantastic
  • Individual motifs, groups of motifs, or histories of motifs

Read more on Call: The Fantastic Now: Research in the Fantastic in the 21st Century Conference…

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Landmark Entertainment is building a Virtual Reality World’s Fair

[Here’s an ambitious plan for a 21st century virtual World’s Fair; this story is from Variety and there’s more coverage in Fortune; the Landmark press release is available via PR Newswire, and an earlier story in ISPR Presence News describes the company’s plans for mixed reality theme parks. –Matthew]

Landmark Virtual World's Fair postcard - PassPortal

Landmark Entertainment Is Building A Virtual Reality World’s Fair

October 15, 2015
Janko Roettgers, Senior Silicon Valley Correspondent

Landmark Entertainment President and CEO Tony Christopher thinks it’s about time that the world joined virtual reality: Landmark is unveiling plans to build what it calls a Virtual world’s fair, which could eventually house hundreds of pavilions and become a space for millions of consumers to meet, enjoy entertainment, shop and even take civic action. “It’s the world coming together to celebrate the world,” Christopher said during a recent interview. Read more on Landmark Entertainment is building a Virtual Reality World’s Fair…

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