ISPR Presence News

Monthly Archives: May 2016

Call: MuseumNext 2016

Call for papers – MuseumNext 2016
New York City, November 14-15

Proposals due: 30 June 2016

MuseumNext is a global conference series on the future of museums, taking place in the world’s cultural capitals since 2009.

MuseumNext is a catalyst for innovation, transformation and collaboration in museums, galleries and heritage sites, with more than 800 individuals from 32 countries joining us in 2015.

Our next conference will take place in Tribeca, Manhattan on November 14 – 15 2016, and we are now inviting proposals on the theme of transformation. We are specifically interested in opinions, case studies and discussions on the following subjects:

Transforming Lives – How can museums have a positive social impact on the communities that they serve, changing lives, improving cities and acting as catalysts for change.

Transforming Practices – How is best practice evolving to better meet the needs of a rapidly changing world, we are interested in examples of innovative practice from across the museum.

Transforming Places – How are museums transforming their spaces to meet the needs of their audiences and how are they working with their audiences and external experts to achieve this.

If you feel that you have something to contribute on this theme, we invite you to make a proposal to speak at our conference in New York City. MuseumNext follows a fast paced format of twenty-minute presentations with the focus very much on practice rather than theory. Read more on Call: MuseumNext 2016…

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IMAX plans foray into virtual reality

[IMAX is entering the out-of-home consumer VR market; this story is from The Wall Street Journal; the IMAX press release is available from PRNewswire, and Outer Places has details on the IMAX-Google VR camera. –Matthew]

Starbreeze VR headset at Cannes

[Image: Starbreeze showed its virtual-reality headset at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this month. IMAX, in partnership with the Swedish technology developer, plans to launch VR experiences in locations such as multiplexes and malls. Photo: Alexander Sandvoss/DPA/Zuma Press]

IMAX Plans Foray Into Virtual Reality

IMAX and Google are to develop a camera that will capture 360-degree images to be experienced on VR headsets

By Ben Fritz
May 19, 2016

IMAX Corp., best known for extra-large movie screens, is now betting on a far more intimate viewing format: virtual reality.

The company, later this year, will begin launching VR experiences in locations such as multiplexes and malls, using its connections with movie theaters and Hollywood talent along with new partnerships in the tech community to build the new business.

The plan comes as IMAX and Alphabet Inc.’s Google on Thursday announced plans to collaborate on a camera that will capture 360-degree images made to be experienced on virtual-reality headsets. The camera is expected to be ready for commercial use in roughly 18 months. Read more on IMAX plans foray into virtual reality…

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Call: The Art and Science of Large-Scale Immersive Environments: Merging Cyberspace with Real Spaces – LA ACM SIGGRAPH event

The Art and Science of Large-Scale Immersive Environments: Merging Cyberspace with Real Spaces

Come join LA SIGGRAPH and the LA Video Artists Wednesday, June 1, at the Vortex Dome at the Los Angeles Center Studios.


The explosion of consumer virtual reality is driving a new wave of innovation in 360 video and real-time interactive environments. Video artists can project these environments into physical spaces using spatial augmented reality techniques. This special evening event, produced by LA’s ACM SIGGRAPH chapter in cooperation with LAVA (Los Angeles Video Artists), focuses on large-scale video art including 360 video, projection mapping and real-time group interactive environments. The event will be held in the Vortex Dome, a 360 full-dome projection studio in downtown Los Angeles, and will include live demos from the speakers and other area artists.

Online reservations required Read more on Call: The Art and Science of Large-Scale Immersive Environments: Merging Cyberspace with Real Spaces – LA ACM SIGGRAPH event…

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Hyper Reality: New short film explores a presence-saturated future

[The new short film Hyper Reality explores a possible future when presence via augmented reality has saturated our lives; the information below about the entertaining and thought-provoking film is from, where you can find many more screenshot images and watch the film via Vimeo. Highly recommended. –Matthew]

Hyper Reality screenshot

Hyper-Reality By Keiichi Matsuda

Hyper-Reality (total runtime approx 6 minutes) is a concept film by Keiichi Matsuda. It presents a provocative and kaleidoscopic new vision of the future, where physical and virtual realities have merged, and the city is saturated in media. It is the latest work in an ongoing research-by-design project by Keiichi Matsuda; previous works include Domestic Robocop, Augmented City 3D and Keiichi’s Masters thesis Domesti/city. If you are interested in supporting the project, sponsoring the next work or would like to find out more, please send a hello to


Our physical and virtual realities are becoming increasingly intertwined. Technologies such as VR, augmented reality, wearables, and the internet of things are pointing to a world where technology will envelop every aspect of our lives. It will be the glue between every interaction and experience, offering amazing possibilities, while also controlling the way we understand the world. Hyper-Reality attempts to explore this exciting but dangerous trajectory. It was crowdfunded, and shot on location in Medellín, Colombia. Read more on Hyper Reality: New short film explores a presence-saturated future…

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Call: UbiComp 2016 Workshop on Autonomous Everyday Objects: Exploring Actuation in Ubiquitous Devices

Call for Papers
Workshop on Autonomous Everyday Objects: Exploring Actuation in Ubiquitous Devices
At the 2016 ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing (UbiComp 2016)
Heidelberg, Germany, September 12-16,

Deadline: June 7, 2016 for papers that will be included in the ACM DL
Deadline: June 21, 2016 for papers that will not be included in the ACM DL

This one-day workshop will be held as part of the 2016 ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing (Ubicomp) in Heidelberg, Germany from Sep. 12-16, 2016.

Since the earliest explorations of mechanical devices, technologists have used movement to both fascinate and intrigue observers and to give the impression of intelligence. Equally, classic visions of future homes present environments suffused with actuated devices, moving and responding in response to their inhabitants. As sensors and actuators have become more ubiquitous, our potential to develop low-cost actuated devices, which employ interactive movements, has increased. In this workshop, we wish to critically unpack a design space around autonomous behaviours and smart environments, asking how the objects and devices we use might come to appear more “intelligent” through interaction and movement. We aim to explore how intelligence in such everyday objects is seen and enacted and how physical movement of interfaces can be leveraged for ubicomp and HCI.

We invite submissions of 2-4 page position papers (in ACM Ext. Abstr. format) on the theme of machine intelligence, autonomy and movement in interactive devices. We are looking forward to people from all kinds of fields with and without experience in (autonomous) technologies. In particular, we welcome papers that explore or discuss people’s perception of autonomous and moving ubicomp systems. We are also interested in new design ideas, concepts and frameworks. How can we design for autonomy in ubicomp technology? Furthermore of interest are technical challenges and solutions related to the implementation of such systems. What are the risks and what are the potentials? Finally we invite submission regarding evaluation strategies of autonomous ubicomp devices but also discussions on ethical issues that arise with their use. The workshop will see the presentation and discussion of these ideas, followed by practical sessions in which participants respond to design briefs investigating actuation of ubicomp devices. No expertise is required, as a prototyping kit is provided, which is easily accessible even for non-technical attendees. Through this workshop we aim to open up opportunities to understand human perception of intelligent behaviours and a design space around autonomously actuated interfaces. Submissions should be sent in pdf format to Position papers will be selected on the basis of relevance to the workshop themes, quality of presentation, and potential to stimulate discussion.

For more information, please visit: Read more on Call: UbiComp 2016 Workshop on Autonomous Everyday Objects: Exploring Actuation in Ubiquitous Devices…

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Google announces presence-related technologies

[Google just announced a series of presence-related technologies, including a voice-control virtual assistant incorporated into new products and services; the developments seem likely to move us closer to being able to interact with information, people and companies more naturally and easily, but this story from Slate’s Future Tense blog points to some important dangers too. See also “Google Is Blurring the Line Between Humans and Software” in Inc. And for more of the Google presence news, see the story in Wired about the incorporation of VR into the Android OS and the story in  The Verge about how the new app “Google Duo makes mobile video calls fast and simple.” –Matthew]

Google Home

The Google Home Is Like the Amazon Echo, Only Smarter. And Maybe Creepier.

By Will Oremus
May 18, 2016

For more than a year now, there has been a popular tech gadget that is the only one of its kind on the market. The Amazon Echo, a “smart speaker” that you control by voice, was the company’s end run around the smartphone industry, which it failed to break into with the Fire Phone. Widely viewed as quixotic upon release, the Echo gradually won over many of its critics, and a surprising number of consumers, with its dead-simple interface and just enough practical use cases to insinuate itself into one’s daily routines. It was only a matter of time before one of the other big companies copied it. And now Google has.

At its annual developer conference Wednesday, the company announced Google Home, a “smart speaker” that—well, I probably don’t need to repeat it. It does basically the same stuff the Echo does, plus or minus a few features. It’s also very similar in design, if perhaps a little friendlier-looking. It bears some resemblance to an air freshener, or perhaps a modernist salt shaker.

Usually when big tech companies copy each other’s ideas, they put up some pretense of originality. Google, to its credit, barely bothered to pass off Home as its own innovation. In fact, in a moment of honesty and magnanimity that is nearly unheard of in the world of tech product launches, Google CEO Sundar Pichai explicitly cited the Echo’s success, saying, “Credit to the team at Amazon for creating a lot of excitement in this space.”

I can think of a reason, beyond politeness or human decency, why Pichai might feel comfortable offering this sort of credit to a rival product before extolling the virtues of his own. It’s that he’s supremely confident that Google can beat Amazon at its own game.

Yes, Amazon has a head start in the “smart speaker” space, and the Echo offers more integrations with services like Spotify and Domino’s and 1-800-Flowers than the Google Home will at launch.

But what Google knows is that “speaker” isn’t the operative word here, and the Echo isn’t the real product. The operative word is “smart,” and the real product is the voice-control virtual-assistant software that animates the speaker. In Amazon’s case, that’s Alexa. In Google’s case, it’s the newly rebranded “Google assistant,” which builds on the company’s already successful Google Now software. Read more on Google announces presence-related technologies…

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Call: Disruptions and Genealogies of the Digital in Architecture – International Journal of Digital Art History

International Journal for Digital Art History
Issue 3: Disruptions and Genealogies of the Digital in Architecture

Submission deadline: August, 15

In the realm of Digital Art History, architecture represents a broad field in which the use of various computational methods provide extraordinary tools not only for architects but also for art historians and information scientists. Art historians use computers to reconstruct historical architecture through 3D renderings and to document listed buildings and structures using video drones to gather visual data for research and conservation. Architects, on the other hand, look back on a long history of integrating software into their day-to-day work to generate and process digital images of architecture. Computer-aided-design (CAD) has fundamentally changed architecture and its possibilities.

Not only have digital methods shaped current design thinking and aesthetics, but they have also led to a complete rethink of the theoretical foundation of architecture and what defines it. In this regard, the role of IT specialists in architectural processes has to be given more attention. For example, planning and design software allow certain innovative architectural forms but at the same time exclude other design possibilities. Hence the question arises to what extent programmers are co-authors of architecture.

Ultimately, a discussion has to unfold on how the relationship of architects and information scientists should be cultivated. What should interdisciplinary curricula look like and what is the current approach to the issue at universities around the world? Can the impact of the digital be defined as the ultimate paradigm shift in architecture, or can we trace genealogies through its history and see analogies to other developments in media culture?

These questions and others will be in the forefront of the third issue of the DAH-Journal, which will outline a broad overview of new theoretical approaches in digital architecture history. We welcome articles from art historians, architects, information scientists, and authors from other related disciplines who are concerned with questions and projects around this topic, e.g.: historical construction research, use of gaming platforms for spatial simulation and theory, visualization software for teaching, the role of the digital image in architecture. Read more on Call: Disruptions and Genealogies of the Digital in Architecture – International Journal of Digital Art History…

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Our fictional friends: Parasocial interaction and relationships in an evolving media world

[I have long thought parasocial interaction and relationships are one of the most interesting, and also most common, presence phenomena; this story from New York Magazine provides a useful updated discussion of the topic. Going a step further, how will vivid, interactive virtual and mixed reality fiction affect these experiences?  –Matthew]

The Gilmore Girls, Rory and Lorelai

It’s Okay to Think of the Gilmore Girls As Your Real Friends

By Cari Romm
April 19, 2016

Like roughly a zillion other mother-daughter pairs in the early 2000s, my mom and I were deeply devoted to Gilmore Girls, the television show chronicling the close relationship between 30-something Lorelai and her teenage daughter, Rory. We sang along to the opening credits, gleefully discussing the fact that I was more of a Rory (shy, studious), and she was more of a Lorelai (chatty, confident). We reveled in the tidiness of it, the neat symmetry between our lives and theirs — even though, in truth, there really wasn’t much of a resemblance there at all. (We didn’t live in a tiny, quirky Connecticut town; our nuclear family was bigger than just us two; our lexicon of snappy cultural references was sorely lacking.)

When we learned that Netflix was working on a four-episode revival of Gilmore Girls, a decade after the series had ended, we sent a lot of emails that consisted mostly of exclamation points. “It’s back!” we e-shouted at each other, knowing that it referred to that cozy feeling of specialness we got from watching the show as much as it did to the show itself.

That’s the striking thing about the show’s return: It feels personal, even though it’s the least personal thing in the world. As my mom and I were having our own little celebration over the show’s return, mothers and daughters across the country were doing exactly the same thing. Moms and daughters across the country have, for that matter, built the same connections to the characters of Gilmore Girls, and watched with the same devotion. But still, our reaction to its return felt like one that only we could have — like we were welcoming back something that was uniquely ours.

What turns fictional characters into such important touchstones of our real lives? Psychologists have been digging into this question for at least half a century — and as the way we consume stories continues to change, their answers do, too. Read more on Our fictional friends: Parasocial interaction and relationships in an evolving media world…

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Call: Designing Interactive Systems for Work Engagement – Special issue of Human Technology

Call for papers to a Special Issue of Human Technology: Designing Interactive Systems for Work Engagement

Deadline: 31st May 2016

Today, experiential aspects are considered when designing ICT based solutions for consumer markets. Surprisingly, however, when interactive solutions and tools for work contexts are being designed, the experiential aspects often are not considered in the design process (Lu & Roto, 2015). Work tools, which are used to accomplish work-related tasks, can contribute to work satisfaction and work engagement, as well as to general well-being on the job. Similarly, interactive technologies and solutions beyond work tools that support well-being at work can facilitate work engagement.

Work engagement refers to a positive work-related state of fulfillment. It is characterized by descriptive attributes such as vigor, dedication, and absorption (Schaufeli et al., 2002). The majority of research on work engagement has focused on evaluating the above specific qualities. Less research focuses on how to design interactive systems and work tools that support, facilitate, and improve work engagement as a complex phenomenon.

This thematic issue of Human Technology: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Humans in ICT Environments focuses on designing interactive technologies and work tools for work engagement. We seek submissions with theoretical, methodological, analytical, or empirical contributions. The work contexts addressed in the papers can vary from industrial plants and factories or warehouses to mobile and office work, and reflect both traditional and nontraditional work environments.

The contributions to this thematic issue can address themes related to designing interactive technologies and work tools for work engagement in the following areas: Read more on Call: Designing Interactive Systems for Work Engagement – Special issue of Human Technology…

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Oculus launches “VR for Good” initiative to build a better reality

[This is a smart and welcome move by Oculus to encourage positive uses of presence. The story is from Digital Trends. –Matthew]

VR for good - a man and woman work on VR

Oculus VR aims to do some good with virtual reality through new social initiative

By Kevin Parrish — May 16, 2016

Facebook-owned Oculus VR on Monday launched a new initiative called “VR for Good.” It’s a platform that seeks to build a better reality through the use of VR, and starts with two pilot VR film programs that the company hopes will inspire the next generation of VR content creators. With these programs, Oculus VR is targeting high school students, rising VR filmmakers, and nonprofit organizations. Read more on Oculus launches “VR for Good” initiative to build a better reality…

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