ISPR Presence News

Monthly Archives: April 2016

Jobs: PhD student positions in VR, AR, Interactive Technologies at University of Arkansas at Little Rock

PhD Student positions in Virtual and Augmented Reality and Interactive Technologies
Emerging Analytics Center
University of Arkansas at Little Rock

The Emerging Analytics Center (EAC) at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) has multiple 3- and 4-year fully funded PhD student positions in the areas of virtual and augmented reality and interactive technologies.

We are seeking highly creative and motivated individual that would like to pursue a PhD degree in our center. These candidates need to have a strong background in interactive computer graphics or related fields (Gaming, HCI, virtual reality); good programming skills and experience in C++, Python, OpenGL; and, familiarity with visualization tools and game engines (ranging from tools such as Paraview, VMD, ArcGIS, to Unity and Unreal Engine). Candidates must have a strong level of spoken and written English and must be able to work both independently and in a team in a multidisciplinary environment. The positions have a great deal of flexibility for candidates to pursue research in areas of their interest. Candidates will also have the opportunity to define technology acquisitions at EAC in order to support research activities.

Academically these positions are under the department of Information Sciences, although based on the candidate’s background it could be possible to place the positions under other academic departments.

Candidates will work under the direction of Dr. Carolina Cruz-Neira and Dr. Dirk Reiners in a variety of applied research projects in virtual reality, augmented reality, visual analytics, modeling and simulation, and training. Read more on Jobs: PhD student positions in VR, AR, Interactive Technologies at University of Arkansas at Little Rock…

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First real-time VR surgery: Step in the operating room, wherever you are in the world

[It’s easy to be blasé about technology events, but this surgery experienced remotely in VR in real time by thousands of people around the world last week is pretty amazing. Our colleague Skip Rizzo is quoted extensively in this story from CNN, which features a photo gallery and a 1:00 minute interactive video. –Matthew]

Medical Realities virtual surgery

Step in the operating room, wherever you are in the world

By Meera Senthilingam, for CNN
Thursday April 21, 2016

(CNN) All you need is a headset and smartphone to enter a virtual world of gaming, movies, travel — and now surgery. Health care company Medical Realities is using virtual reality to transport people directly into an operating room to watch surgeons as they operate.

The first surgery of this kind took place last week at the Royal London Hospital, when Dr. Shafi Ahmed gave global access to his operating theater as he removed cancerous cells from a 70-year-old British man with colon cancer.

“People can see how the whole theater works,” said Ahmed, a consultant cancer surgeon at the Royal London Hospital and co-founder of Medical Realities. His company is stepping away from the usual realms of entertainment for VR and using it to develop training materials for medical students worldwide.

Nearly 55,000 people tuned in worldwide to watch the surgeon conduct the procedure, which lasted two hours and 40 minutes.

“Once you take away the wow factor, I see a teaching medium that can be used,” Ahmed said.

In 2014, Ahmed became the first doctor to use augmented reality during a live stream of his surgery. wearing Google Glass and communicating with the people viewing. He sees both forms of reality as means to educate people. “They have different ways to reach people,” said Ahmed.

VR is about full immersion, making direct communication more complicated, but Ahmed has set this as his next goal. “This scales up surgical training and education,” he said. Read more on First real-time VR surgery: Step in the operating room, wherever you are in the world…

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Call: Workshop on Ethics in the Design of Intelligent Agents (EDIA 2016)

To be held in conjunction with ECAI 2016, 29th to 30th of August 2016, The Hague, The Netherlands


The development of intelligent agents is experiencing a fruitful period of incredible progress and innovation. Nowadays, intelligent agents decide, act and interact in shared and dynamic environments under domain constraints, where they may interact with other agents and human beings to share tasks or execute tasks on behalf of others. Search engines, self-driving cars, electronic markets, smart homes, military technology, software for big data analysis, and care robots are just a few examples. As the scope of intelligent agents’ activities broadens, it is important to ensure that such socio-technical systems will not make irrelevant, counter-productive, or even dangerous decisions. Even if regulation and control mechanisms are designed to ensure sound and consistent behaviors at the agent, multi-agent, and human-agent level, ethical issues are likely to remain quite complex, implicating a wide variety of human values, moral questions, and ethical principles. To address these concerns, design approaches should envision and account for important human values, such as safety, privacy, accountability and sustainability, and designers will have to make value trade-offs and plan for moral conflicts.

This workshop focuses on two main questions: (1) what kind of formal organizations, norms, policy models, and logical frameworks can be proposed to deal with the control of agents’ autonomous behaviors in a moral way?; and (2) what does it mean to be responsible designers of intelligent agents?


The topics of interest include, but are not limited to: machine ethics, roboethics, machines and human dignity reasoning mechanisms, legal reasoning, ethical engine authority sharing, responsibility, delegating decision making to machines organizations, institutions, normative systems computational justice, social models trust and reputation models mutual intelligibility, explanations, accountability consistency, conflicts management, validation philosophy, sociology, law applications, use cases societal concerns, responsible innovation, privacy Issues individual ethics, collective ethics, ethics of personalization value sensitive design, human values, value theory

The workshop welcomes contributions from researchers in Artificial Intelligence, Multi-Agent Systems, Machine Learning, Case-based reasoning, Value-based argumentations, AI and Law, Ontologies, Human Computer Interaction, Ethics, Philosophy, and related fields. Read more on Call: Workshop on Ethics in the Design of Intelligent Agents (EDIA 2016)…

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VR Bangers and AuraVisor to offer adult VR content in hotel rooms

[This brief story from Venture Beat describes a novel application of presence; the fact that the content users experience is created in the same (or at least a similar) physical space may heighten the illusion. –Matthew]

Adult VR coming to Vegas hotels

VR Bangers and AuraVisor to offer adult virtual reality content in hotel rooms

Dean Takahashi
April 18, 2016

Virtual reality porn company VR Bangers has partnered with headset manufacturer AuraVisor to offer a headset preloaded with adult content in hotel rooms.

The headset will combine AuraVisor’s wireless VR headset technology with VR Banger’s “immersive porn.” It will initially be available in Las Vegas hotels, where it will be called the “VR Bangers Hotel Experience.” VR is expected to become a $30 billion business by 2020, according to Digi-Capital, and the companies are betting porn will be a big part of that.

The experience will cost $20, and you will be able to buy it using a credit card.

“You will then choose a girl or guy of your choice and see your hotel room replicated in the VR headset, making the experience much more realistic,” the company said in a statement. “Next you will hear a knock on the door — in the virtual reality world — and the girl or guy will come into your room in order to enjoy an erotic or sex experience with the viewer.”

Well, that sounds like the next best thing to … OK, we won’t go there. Read more on VR Bangers and AuraVisor to offer adult VR content in hotel rooms…

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Job: Researcher in Interactive Virtual and Augmented Reality at University of Bath

Vacancy: Researcher in Interactive Virtual and Augmented Reality

Applications are invited for a Research Associate in Interactive Virtual and Augmented Reality to work in a major new research centre at the University of Bath. We are seeking a talented and motivated researcher with excellent track record in human-computer interaction and/or 3D computer graphics. The post holder will work closely with computer vision and motion capture experts to research, develop and evaluate innovative 3D environments and interaction techniques for virtual and augmented reality.

The Centre for the Analysis of Motion, Entertainment Research and Applications (CAMERA) is an exciting EPSRC funded large-scale research collaboration between the Department of Computer Science, the Department for Health and external partners at the University of Bath. CAMERA has over £10m of initial research commitment, including around £4m from the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC), and an expectation for growth and long-term sustainability beyond the current 5-year funding. CAMERA aims to create impact in the areas of entertainment, human performance enhancement and assistive technologies. A central theme is the development and application of human motion capture, VR and AR in these areas. CAMERA has several world-class partners including BMT, The Imaginarium, The Foundry, Ministry of Defence, and British Skeleton.

CAMERA has a world-class motion capture studio, including a range of full body and facial capture systems, inertial sensing, multi-camera 4K arrays, and VR and AR technologies. CAMERA has several research strands. In the VR and AR strand, we aim to research and develop innovative techniques and experiences in which people can interact with other people and things in virtual and augmented environments. Using advances in motion capture, 3D modelling and rendering, and human-computer interaction, we aim to make these experiences more controllable, realistic and natural.

The principal aim of this post is to conduct research to enable these developments and to produce world leading publications and other appropriate outputs. In addition to these duties, the post holder will be involved in the supervision of PhD students and some teaching. Commercial activities through CAMERA are also possible. The post holder is expected to work closely with other CAMERA staff, especially with researchers working on related areas of VR and AR. Read more on Job: Researcher in Interactive Virtual and Augmented Reality at University of Bath…

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Ossic X 3D headphones create personalized presence for VR, games and music

[This story about the Ossic X 3D headphones includes first-person descriptions of the “real-life” sound the device produces; it’s from Tech Insider, where it includes more images. In coverage by Wareable, Ossic a quote from co-founder and CEO Jason Riggs explicitly refers to presence: “Accurate 3D sound is going to be key. You don’t want to break the sense of presence, or break the illusion. The sounds that are coming from outside your FOV (field-of-view), will make you turn and look at them – and when you do, you want to turn and know exactly what and where it is. That accuracy is going to help with the fundamental premise of VR which is teleporting you to another place. A completely immersive experience and believing you are there.” –Matthew]

Ossic X 3D headphones

I tried the next evolution of headphones and it sounded amazing

Antonio Villas-Boas
Apr. 9, 2016

Virtual reality is at the bleeding edge of consumer technology, but there’s one major component that’s stuck in the past.

Headphones as we know them are OK if you want to experience VR, but they’re not up to the task to reproduce the surround sound you need for the full experience.

Why do you need good surround sound?

For one, it’s key for the immersive experience you get with VR. Virtual reality developers are using sound as an important tool to lead you through a VR experience.

For example, there could be something creeping up behind you making noise, but you won’t know to turn around if you can’t hear where it’s coming from.

For the full effect, VR calls for a new kind of headphone, and a headphone startup called Ossic is stepping up to the plate. Read more on Ossic X 3D headphones create personalized presence for VR, games and music…

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Call: AIIDE-16, the Twelfth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment

The Twelfth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment
October 8­-12, 2016
San Francisco Bay Area, CA, USA

Submission deadlines:
May 15, 2016: Workshop proposals
May 27, 2016: Regular Paper & Demonstration Abstract Deadline
May 31, 2016: Regular Paper & Demonstration Submission Deadline
June 1, 2016: Late-Breaking Abstract Deadline
June 13, 2016: Late-Breaking Paper Deadline
June 30, 2016: Accept/Rejection Notification
August 3, 2016, 5pm PDT: Camera-ready Version Deadline

General Chair:
Nathan Sturtevant, University of Denver

Program Chair:
Brian Magerko, Georgia Tech

AIIDE-­16 – the Twelfth Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment – is intended to be the definitive point of interaction between entertainment software developers interested in AI and academic AI researchers. AIIDE-16 will include invited speakers, paper presentations, demonstrations, and a doctoral consortium. While AIIDE often focuses on commercial computer and video games, we invite researchers and developers to share their insights and cutting-edge results on topics at the intersection of all forms of entertainment and artificial intelligence, including entertainment robotics, AI-based art and literature, generative music, and beyond. AIIDE-16 is sponsored by the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI). Read more on Call: AIIDE-16, the Twelfth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment…

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IMAX launches IMAXShift, a virtual cycling studio

[This story from The Stack describes a new IMAX venture that combines its presence-evoking film presentation technology with the group cycling experience. The original story includes a 4:31 minute video report from the program CBS This Morning. More information is available from the press release and the IMAXShift website, which features this promotional text: “Let The IMAX Experience® change the way you think about fitness. Crystal clear audio surrounds you as sharp, hyperreal visuals suck you into the massive screen. A unique ride that leaves you breathless before you even break a sweat.” –Matthew]

IMAXShift -woman riding

IMAX launches IMAXShift, a virtual cycling studio

Nicky Cappella
18 Apr 2016

IMAX Corporation announced today that it is testing an immersive group cycling concept called IMAXShift, which will use IMAX technology to provide a state-of-the-art, immersive indoor cycling experience. The test studio will open in Brooklyn, NY on April 28.

IMAX built a cycling studio that can accommodate up to 50 riders at once. It hopes to reinvent indoor cycling by using IMAX technology to provide immersive, exciting experiences that could include cycling through the solar system, or over the coasts of Hawaii, all from the relative comfort of its Brooklyn studio. Cycling classes have been created to combine the act of cycling with music and IMAX visuals, modulating speed and intensity of the ride to match the audio and visual inputs of the studio. Read more on IMAX launches IMAXShift, a virtual cycling studio…

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Call: 9th International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling (ICIDS 2016)


ICIDS 2016
November 15 -18, 2016

The Institute for Creative Technologies
The University of Southern California
Los Angeles, USA

Dear colleague,

This year, the International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling (ICIDS 2016) will take place at the Institute for Creative Technologies, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA. It also features a collaboration with the ninth edition of Intelligent Narrative Technologies (INT9), a related series of gatherings that holds Artificial Intelligence as its focus.

ICIDS has its origin in a series of related international conferences that ran between 2001 and 2007 ( Since 2008, ICIDS became the premier annual venue that gathers researchers, developers, practitioners and theorists to present and share the latest innovations, insights and techniques in the expanding field of interactive storytelling and the technologies that support it. The field re-groups a highly dynamic and interdisciplinary community, in which narrative studies, computer science, interactive and immersive technologies, the arts, and creativity converge to develop new expressive forms in a myriad of domains that include artistic projects, interactive documentaries, cinematic games, serious games, assistive technologies, edutainment, pedagogy, museum science, advertisement and entertainment, to mention a few. The conference has a long-standing tradition of bringing together academia, industry, designers, developers and artists into an interdisciplinary dialogue through a mix of keynote lectures, long and short article presentations, posters, workshops, and very lively demo sessions.

We welcome contributions from a large range of fields and disciplines related to interactive storytelling, including computational narrative, narratology, computer science, human-computer interaction, media studies and media production, game studies, game design and development, semiotics, museum science, edutainment, virtual and augmented reality, cognitive science, digital humanities, interactive arts and transmedia studies. We encourage original contributions in the forms of research papers, position papers, posters and demonstrations, presenting new scientific results, innovative theories, novel technological implementations, case studies and creative artistic projects in the field of Interactive Digital Storytelling and its possible applications in different domains. We particularly welcome research on topics in the following five areas: Read more on Call: 9th International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling (ICIDS 2016)…

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The future is presence: Ang Lee’s 3D-4K-120fps film preview stuns viewers at NAB

[Even though most people won’t see Ang Lee’s new film in 3D, 4K resolution and 120 frames per second, this presentation is said to be historic and a glimpse into the possible future of cinema, and it clearly involves (tele)presence. As reported by Variety, the people who attended said it was “as though I was there,” it provided an “almost VR-like sense of presence,” “it was literally as if you were there,” and was “as immersive and involving an image play as I’ve ever seen.” Coverage in The Verge includes the assessment that “It truly was more like looking through an impossibly-clean window than watching a screen, with the 3D producing no eye strain whatsoever.” See additional coverage in The Hollywood Reporter. –Matthew]

Ang Lee

[Image: The Hollywood Reporter]

Ang Lee’s ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk’ First Footage Stuns Viewers at NAB Show

Advanced format leaves attendees praising both tech and the film itself

David S. Cohen, Senior Editor, Features
April 16, 2016

Any worries Ang Lee had about how the technologists at the Future of Cinema Conference would receive his presentation of footage from “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” were laid to rest on Saturday.

The presentation of an 11-minute sequence from the film in its native format (3D, at 4K resolution and 120 frames per second for each eye) electrified the conference in Las Vegas, leaving even experienced pros grasping for superlatives to convey what they had seen. Their praise wasn’t reserved for the technology, but for the film itself as well. Read more on The future is presence: Ang Lee’s 3D-4K-120fps film preview stuns viewers at NAB…

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