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Monthly Archives: January 2017

Call: Special Issue on Cognitive Assistants – International Journal of Human-Computer Studies

Call for Papers

Special Issue on Cognitive Assistants
International Journal of Human-Computer Studies
JCR Impact Factor: 1.476
SCImago Journal Rank (SJR): 0.815

Manuscript submissions due: April 30, 2017


Cognitive Assistants (CA) are a relatively new concept, advancing the Cognitive Orthotics concept that is only focused on direct assistance, to people with cognitive or physical disabilities, and expanding the area to include complex platforms that include sensors, actuators, monitoring abilities and decision processes. CA is an area containing technologies such as cognitive assistants, multi-agent systems, robotics and applications (such as e-health and e-learning), among others. Essentially, CA is focused on people and their disabilities, providing tools that best fit them using personalization methods. CA can range from a medication reminder to a messaging system that connects its users with their relatives. New developments like the IOT (Internet of Things) and the increasing amount of computing power in handheld devices have allowed the development of environments that were until now unavailable through embedded systems. Therefore, there are a lot of implementation options open for development on this area.

With this IJHCS special issue on Cognitive Assistants we intend to provide an overview of the research being carried out in the interdisciplinary area of cognitive assistants and cognitively inspired systems. To this end, we invite novel, high quality contributions that demonstrate a user-centered focus, and preferably (but not necessarily) present an engineering element in this area.


  • Agent & Multiagent Systems for Ambient Intelligence (AmI)
  • Ambient Assisted Living
  • Ambient Intelligence
  • Applications
  • Artificial Intelligence for AmI
  • Cognitive Assistants
  • Context Aware Computing
  • Data protection and privacy
  • Domotics (Home Automation)
  • Evaluation of Cognitive Assistants
  • Evolutionary Computation
  • Ethics and Legal Issues
  • Intelligent Systems
  • Knowledge Discovery and Acquisition
  • Memory Assistants
  • Mobile Computing
  • Robotics
  • Spatial Cognition and Computation
  • Ubiquitous Computing

Read more on Call: Special Issue on Cognitive Assistants – International Journal of Human-Computer Studies…

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Trump at 2AM: The new Oval Office in virtual reality

[You can observe the new U.S. president in an eerie up-close experience in the Oval Office in the new (free) virtual reality creation Wide Awake; this first person report on the experience is from TechStack247; for more information including images and videos, see the MacInnes Scott website. You can download Wide Awake from Viveport. –Matthew]

Trump at 2AM: The new Oval Office in virtual reality

By Temidayo — January 21, 2017

Donald Trump stands before me with a grim look on his face, lightly leaning against the Oval Office’s Resolute desk. Moonlight pours in through the office’s rear windows as a phone quietly rings. It’s 2am, and something has happened — and a new President holds the weight of the world on his shoulders. I’m looking at this surreal, frozen scene through the lens of an HTC Vive. It’s a free virtual reality experience called “Wide Awake,” and it tells a simple, concise story: no matter who Donald Trump was before or what you may have thought of him, he’s now the guy who answers the phone when shit hits the fan.

Staring at the President’s visage through virtual reality is a little like visiting a wax museum. Donald Trump stands unmoving, frozen in time — but his face looks like it could spring to life at any moment. The VR experience’s description boasts that virtual Trump is the “most photo-realistic human you will see in virtual reality today,” and he really is. Standing at the President’s official height of 6’3, virtual Trump towers over me, his face creased with intensity. His left knee bends slightly off the ground.

As the phone rings, it’s hard to tell if he’s sitting back in reflection, or preparing to spring off the desk into action. The ambiguity seems intentional. “We see Trump in VR as art,” co-creator John MacInnes explains. “A tableau vivant, in the American tradition of artists like Edward Hopper in painting, Gregory Crewdson and Cindy Sherman in photography.” Indeed, Wide Awake serves as a living picture — it’s as frozen as a painting, but a light in the player’s hand gives them some control over how the scene looks. And while the subject is frozen, the world around him isn’t. The ringing phone continues to add tension to the scene. Who is this new president? What is his reaction to a middle of the night emergency? Read more on Trump at 2AM: The new Oval Office in virtual reality…

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Call: Wearable Robotics for Assistance and Rehabilitation (WRAR) at CLAWAR 2017

Call for Papers

Wearable Robotics for Assistance and Rehabilitation (WRAR)
A Special Session within the coming
CLAWAR 2017 – 20th International Conference on Climbing and Walking Robots and the Support Technologies for Mobile Machines
Oporto, Portugal, September 11-13, 2017

Theme: Rehabilitation and assistive robotics

Submission deadline: 01 February 2017


The adoption of novel active wearable devices, either for daily assistance or clinical rehabilitation, requires new approaches to ultimately enable efficient treatments and better facilitation of movement for individuals who present loss of motor abilities. In particular, since these devices interact directly with humans there are major challenges that still need to be addressed such as acceptance, effectiveness, safety and functionality. Thus, there is a need to consider further the knowledge from complementary disciplines such as neuronal sciences, human-centered design, computer science, biomechanics, neuroscience, and psychology. This will enable to design the wearable devices as a natural extension of the human body, a fundamental feature for sustainability of such system.

The proposed session will bring talks to provide insights on these multiple challenges with perspectives from engineers and medical doctors while focusing on aspects of human-robot interaction and interface technologies. It will gather knowledge from these disciplines focusing on the development of human-oriented approaches to assist and rehabilitation gait function after neurological injuries. The intended list of speakers is expected to cover the above-mentioned fields.

This session is primarily addressed to young researchers (PhD and advanced Master students), researchers and professionals interested in Medical Robotics such as Assistive and Rehabilitation and in the new perspectives in this field. The workshop provides a unique opportunity for faculty, students, industry and the general public to come together and learn about the latest advances in these fields of medical robotics. The idea is to discuss current needs and future directions of human-robot interactive and rehabilitation systems from both the clinical and industrial point of view. The participants will get in touch with other colleagues in the field and they will have the opportunity to improve their knowledge through the presented talks.

Invited speakers will be announced soon.

SUBMISSION: Read more on Call: Wearable Robotics for Assistance and Rehabilitation (WRAR) at CLAWAR 2017…

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‘MasterpieceVR’ enables cross-platform real-time collaborative creativity

[Real-time collaborative virtual environments like ‘MasterpieceVR’ have exciting potential to evoke presence and enable creativity and other positive outcomes; this story from Upload VR features several more images and two videos; an update includes another image and video and notes that the software is “available for download on Steam — entirely for free for a limited time” and that “the player count will increase to 4 in the next few weeks and grow steadily over the life of the platform.” –Matthew]

‘MasterpieceVR’ Brings Cross-Platform Multiplayer Painting And Sculpting To Rift And Vive

By Danny Bittman
December 23rd, 2016

Creating art with several people at once can be a crowded experience. But not in MasterpieceVR.

MasterpieceVR from Brinx Software mends the gap between design applications, like Quill and Oculus Medium, by letting users 3D sculpt and 2D paint in environments like an apartment, or a floating island above the clouds. Friends can even talk on a beach if they’d like, because MasterpieceVR is the first cross-platform, multiplayer enabled, painting and sculpting experience for virtual reality. Read more on ‘MasterpieceVR’ enables cross-platform real-time collaborative creativity…

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Call: VISion Understanding and Machine intelligence – visum 2017 Summer School

VISion Understanding and Machine intelligence – visum 2017
7 – 14, July 2017
Porto, Portugal

Application deadline: 06 March 2017

VISion Understanding and Machine intelligence – visum 2017 is the fifth edition of the Summer School that aims to gather Ph.D. candidates, Post-Doctoral scholars and researchers from academia and industry with research interests in computer vision and machine intelligence.

visum is organized by INESC TEC in the scope of the FourEyes project. FourEyes aims to make critical and tangible advances in the digital media sector and transform the means by which multimedia content is created, distributed and consumed. It will provide the means for scientific, creative and industrial communities to understand how new forms of multimedia content in a symbiotic relation with intelligent processing can improve our way of life and can be used to produce innovation. Its long term vision is towards establishing a vibrant online network of multimedia content where all users can be content creators as well as consumers, or so called prosumers.

Considering the existing gap between the most fundamental concepts of computer vision and their application in real world scenarios, the realisation of visum school seeks to bridge these two key domains. By creating an expert multicultural environment, visum school aims to foster junior researchers’ awareness of computer vision topics, as well as to enhance all attendees’ knowledge regarding the state of the art, provided by leading international experts on the field. Being an area of great potential in industrial applications with a strong increase in the number of researchers in these last years, visum school will be an incredible opportunity to be on the edge of knowledge.

visum will comprise three main tracks: fundamental, industrial and application topics, each one with extensive practical `hands-on’ sessions. A poster session will be organized especially dedicated, but not exclusive, to Ph.D. candidates. With this, researchers can discuss their current research works, possibly leading to significant breakthroughs in the development of their theses. In the industrial track, national and international renowned institutions will present their case studies and knowingness to the attendees. visum will have a track dedicated to applications with the aim to bridge the gap between the fundamental and industrial topics, each year with a different subject.

This year the following topics will be covered:

  1. Deep Learning
  2. Computer Vision and Machine Learning
  3. Computer Graphics
  4. Motion Analysis
  5. Automatic Affect Recognition

Read more on Call: VISion Understanding and Machine intelligence – visum 2017 Summer School…

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Sex in VR is getting even more immersive in 2017

[Matt Jones and I have argued that sexuality represents an important context for studying presence experiences and this story from Upload VR (where it includes more images) provides a progress report that illustrates why. For example, one industry figure notes that current technology “brings us one step closer (essentially the closest) to feeling the person on the other end without actually being in the same physical space – a heightened level of intimacy” and another says “The adult industry is undergoing a seismic shift as we transition away from the traditional towards a more immersive experience that is delivering a heightened level of intimacy unlike anything before … This heightened experience will only continue to evolve and mimic real life interactions.” The story author concludes that “while fully immersive virtual sex might not be here just yet, it looks like we got a whole lot closer in 2016, and with the amount of money and interest at play, we’re likely to see a lot more interesting – and some downright wacky – stuff continuing to pop up 2017.” –Matthew]

Sex In Virtual Reality Is Getting Even More Immersive in 2017

by Alice Bonasio
January 21st, 2017

This year’s AVN Show – the world’s largest Adult Entertainment expo which took place in Las Vegas this week– focused a lot on VR, even adding two new dedicated categories (Best Virtual Reality Sex Scene and Best Virtual Reality Innovation/Site) to its 2017 industry awards. AVN’s CEO Tony Rios said in a recent interview that the response of the industry to VR has been phenomenal and that although the sector is still early in development, it is definitely here to stay. What remains to be seen, however, is how exactly monetization occurs going forward.

When I met Ian Paul – Chief Information Officer of Naughty America – in April last year, they had just launched Randy’s Roadstop, their first Virtual Reality Adult entertainment series. At that time he said VR hype was justified, as it was growing faster than any format they had ever tracked, but has that trend continued?

Yes, says Paul, who claims they’ve seen a steady stream of new customers flocking to VR experiences throughout 2016.

“New revenue attributable to VR is up 350% year over year, and this year we now plan to offer integrated support for smart services toys from companies such as Kiiroo that offer haptic feedback in sync to the video.”

Incorporating teledildonics into VR is something that several other companies are also launching in 2017. CAM4VR Co-founder Ela Darling says her company – which offers live streaming VR sex cameras – is planning to add integration with Kiiroo as well as voice-to-voice capabilities that allow users to chat directly with performers, making the experience much more up-close and personal.

“I’m excited about the implications because it brings us one step closer (essentially the closest) to feeling the person on the other end without actually being in the same physical space – a heightened level of intimacy,” she explains, adding that this physical connection has powerful psychological implications to how users experience adult content in VR. Read more on Sex in VR is getting even more immersive in 2017…

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Call: MICI 2017: Mixed-Initiative Creative Interfaces (CHI 2017 Workshop)


MICI 2017: Mixed-Initiative Creative Interfaces
Workshop at CHI 2017
May 7, 2017, Denver, CO

Submit by Jan 31, 2017

Enabled by artificial intelligence techniques, we are witnessing the rise of a new paradigm of computational creativity support: mixed-initiative creative interfaces (MICIs) put human and computer in a tight interactive loop where both take turns suggesting, producing, evaluating, modifying, selecting creative outputs. This paradigm could broaden and amplify creative capacity for all, but is today mostly developed and studied in game AI. This one-day workshop at CHI 2017 therefore convenes CHI and game researchers to advance mixed-initiative approaches to creativity support.


  • User experience and engagement in MICIs
  • Interaction, design and evaluation challenges of MICIs
  • Future scenarios of human-AI co-creativity and MICIs in and beyond creative practice
  • MICIs for accessibility, inclusion, participation, and user-generated content
  • MICIs and models of creativity and collaboration

We invite participants to submit 2-6pp. position papers in the CHI Extended Abstract format ( via EasyChair at We will review submissions and select 15-25 based on relevance, quality, and diversity of inputs. At least one author of each accepted paper needs to register for the workshop and for one or more days of the conference. We expressly invite participants to bring system demos to the event. Read more on Call: MICI 2017: Mixed-Initiative Creative Interfaces (CHI 2017 Workshop)…

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Mobile ads with haptic feedback increase viewer engagement with ad and brand

[Simple haptic cues increase presence and a variety of effects sought by advertisers; this story (which I’ve lightly edited for typos) is from MediaPost, where it includes the short video mentioned; for more information see the press release from Immersion Corporation via Business Wire (also excerpted below). –Matthew]

[Image: Source: Immersion Corporation]

Interpublic Tests Ads That Reach Out And Touch Someone, Finds Lift

by Joe Mandese
January 25, 2017

Sight, sound and motion have long been the Holy Trinity of Madison Avenue’s sensory perception — and of TV’s and video’s dominance of advertising formats — but new research from Interpublic’s Media Lab and Magna units touches on a fourth sense that may be an even more effective and engaging one: touch.

The research, which was based on tests of a series of “touch-enabled” video ads — ads that produced tactile haptic feedback enabling users to literally feel them — found that they generated a 50% lift among consumers for the brands participating in the study. Read more on Mobile ads with haptic feedback increase viewer engagement with ad and brand…

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Call: HRI 2017: 3rd Workshop on Child-Robot Interaction

Call for Submissions to HRI 2017: 3rd Workshop on Child-Robot Interaction

Growing-Up Hand in Hand with Robots: Designing and Evaluating Child-Robot Interaction from a Developmental Perspective
06 March 2017, Vienna, Austria

Read more on Call: HRI 2017: 3rd Workshop on Child-Robot Interaction…

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Google’s Virtual Reality short film earns an Academy Award nomination

[Even though it’s the 2D version that’s been nominated, this is big news for VR; this short story is from Adweek and you can watch the short film by following the first link in it below. For more details about Pearl see earlier coverage in Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and especially USA Today. –Matthew]

Google’s Virtual Reality Short Film Earns an Academy Award Nomination

First VR film ever to be up for an Oscar

By Marty Swant
January 24, 2017

Google is now competing with the Ryan Goslings and Emma Stones of Hollywood.

Today, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences named Pearl, an animated short created by the tech company, among its nominees for best animated short film of 2016. But Pearl isn’t just any animated short—it was created for virtual reality, making it the first of its kind to be considered for an Oscar. Read more on Google’s Virtual Reality short film earns an Academy Award nomination…

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