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Monthly Archives: May 2017

Call: 2017 Workshop on Hybrid Human-Machine Computing (HHMC 2017)

Call for (Extended) Abstracts

2017 Workshop on Hybrid Human-Machine Computing (HHMC 2017):
From Human Computation to Social Computing and Beyond
20-21 September, 2017
University of Surrey, Guildford, UK


Abstract Deadline: 31 May 2017 (extended from 21 May 2017)
Author Notification: 23 June 2017
Early Registration: 17 July 2017 (presenters) / 4 September 2017 (non-presenters)


The 2017 Workshop on Hybrid Human-Machine Computing (HHMC 2017) is 2-day workshop, to be held at the University of Surrey, Guildford, UK, on 20 and 21 September, 2017. It is a workshop co-funded by University of Surrey’s Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS), a number of other organizations and related research projects.

When we talk about “computing” we often mean computers do something (for humans), but due to the more and more blurred boundary between humans and computers, this old paradigm of “computing” has changed drastically, e.g., in human computation humans do all or part of the computing (for machines), in computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW) humans are working together with assistance from computers to conduct cooperative work, in social computing and computer-mediated communication people’s social behaviours are intermingled with computer systems so computing happens with humans and computers at the same time while humans are using computers to live their lives, and for cyborgs we are talking about human-robot hybrids or robot-human hybrids where the boundary between humans and machines becomes even more blurred. To some extent we see more and more a hybrid human-machine computing (HHMC) world where both humans and machines are working with and for each other.

The main goals of the workshop include 1) to bring researchers working in different disciplines but with common research interests on HHMC together for exchanging research ideas, and 2) to promote interdisciplinary collaborations and experience sharing between different subjects.

The workshop will also be used as an event to discuss medium- and long-term activities in the UK and internationally on HHMC related research, such as the possibility to set up a UK- and/or a European-wide research network funded by UK and/or EU funders. If successful, the workshop may be continued in future years as a pan-Europe or an international event.

At the workshop participants will be able to present their research work and ideas as oral presentations and posters. To encourage participations, the workshop will call for extended abstracts (up to 800 words) rather than full papers, and there will be a light-weighted peer review process conducted by the workshop’s technical program committee to ensure quality of presented work while encouraging less mature work to be discussed among participants. Different types of work can be presented: original research, position papers, surveys, work in progress, research projects and networks, etc. Work already published elsewhere is also encouraged to be presented as posters and/or short (elevator pitch type) talks.

The workshop will also include several invited keynote talks given by renowned UK and international researchers working on different topics of HHMC. There will also be a panel discussion focusing on how to develop the HHMC research community further after the workshop ends.


We welcome submissions addressing research problems in the following (but not limited to these) topics related to Hybrid Human-Machine Computing (HHMC):

  • Human computation (crowdsourcing, games with a purpose, human interactive proofs, CAPTCHA, mobile sensing, etc.)
  • Social computing
  • Social media analytics
  • Computational social science
  • Social simulation
  • Computer-mediated communication
  • Human-in-the-loop computing (modelling, simulation, optimization, machine learning, data mining, sensing, etc.)
  • Human-agent collectives
  • Humans as (part of digital / physical) sensors
  • Computer-assisted arts
  • Human-assisted computer arts
  • Computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW)
  • Collective intelligence
  • Social search (e.g., collaborative filtering)
  • Cognitive computing, cognitive psychology and cognitive science in general
  • Computational behavioral science
  • Human-centric computing / Human-oriented computing
  • Interactive information visualization / Visual analytics
  • Interactive multimedia systems / quality of user experience / joint subjective-objective quality assessment
  • Human-like computing
  • Citizen science
  • Brain-computer interface
  • Human-robot hybrids / Robot-human hybrids / Cybernetic organisms / Cyborgs
  • Humanoid / humanoid robots / androids
  • Biological robots / biots
  • Social robots
  • Related theoretical computer science topics such as Turing tests
  • Related philosophical aspects such as definition of intelligence and essential differences between humans and machines
  • Ethical issues about HHMC
  • Legal aspects of HHMC
  • Business opportunities around HHMC
  • Industrial innovations around HHMC
  • Applications of HHMC in different fields such as physical sciences, engineering, medical sciences, social sciences, humanities

Read more on Call: 2017 Workshop on Hybrid Human-Machine Computing (HHMC 2017)…

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Presence for the past: Technology delivers nostalgia on demand

[This story from The Atlantic is about how a variety of technologies will increasingly allow us to reproduce vivid memories; note the important comments near the end about some of the ethical implications of these developments (some of which echo concerns about telepresence after death). The original story includes an infographic titled “The Machinery of Memory: A Timeline.” –Matthew]

[Image: Credit: Alvaro Dominguez]

The End of Forgetting

Technology delivers nostalgia on demand.

Ben Rowen
June 2017 Issue

When Uncle Joshua, a character in Peter De Vries’s 1959 novel, The Tents of Wickedness, says that nostalgia “ain’t what it used to be,” the line is played for humor: To those stuck in the past, nothing—not even memory itself—survives the test of time. And yet Uncle Joshua’s words have themselves aged pretty well (despite being widely misattributed to Yogi Berra): Technology, though ceaselessly striving toward the future, has continually revised how we view the past.

Nostalgia—generally defined as a sentimental longing for bygone times—underwent a particularly significant metamorphosis in 1888, when Kodak released the first commercially successful camera for amateurs. Ads soon positioned it as a necessary instrument for preserving recollections of children and family celebrations. According to Nancy Martha West, the author of Kodak and the Lens of Nostalgia, the camera “allowed people … to arrange their lives in such a way that painful or unpleasant aspects were systematically erased.”

Technology is poised to once again revolutionize the way we recall the past. Not so long ago, nostalgia’s triggers were mostly spontaneous: catching your prom’s slow-dance song on the radio, riffling through photo albums while you were home for the holidays. Today, thanks to our devices, we can experience nostalgia on demand. The Nostalgia Machine website plays songs from your “favorite music year”; another app, Sundial, replays the songs you were listening to exactly a year ago. The Timehop app and Facebook’s On This Day feature shower you with photos and social-media updates from a given date in history. The Museum of Endangered Sounds website plays the noises of discontinued products (the chime of a Bell phone, the chirping of a Eurosignal pager). Retro Site Ninja lets you revisit web pages from the ’90s.

This is just the beginning: While these apps and websites let us glimpse the past, other technologies could place us more squarely inside it. But although psychologists believe nostalgia is crucial for finding meaning in life and for combatting loneliness, we don’t yet know whether too much of it will have negative, even dystopian, effects. As technology gives us unprecedented access to our memories, might we yearn for the good old days when we forgot things? Read more on Presence for the past: Technology delivers nostalgia on demand…

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Call: 11th International Workshop on Multi-Agent Systems and Simulation (MAS&S 2017)


11th International Workshop on Multi-Agent Systems and Simulation (MAS&S 2017)
Prague, Czech Republic, 3 – 6 September, 2017
WWW: and

Position paper submission: May 31, 2017

We would like to cordially invite you to consider contributing a position paper to MAS&S 2017 – held as a part of the Federated Conference on Computer Science and Information Systems (FedCSIS 2017).

Multi-Agent Systems (MASs) provide powerful models for representing both real-world systems and applications with an appropriate degree of complexity and dynamics. Several research and industrial experiences have already shown that the use of MASs offers advantages in a wide range of application domains (e.g. financial, economic, social, logistic, chemical, engineering, Internet of Things). When MASs represent software applications to be effectively delivered, they need to be validated and evaluated before their deployment and execution, thus methodologies that support validation and evaluation through simulation of the MAS under development are highly required. MASs are designed for representing systems at different levels of complexity through the use of autonomous, goal-driven and interacting entities organized into societies which exhibit emergent properties The agent-based model of a system can then be executed to simulate the behavior of the complete system so that knowledge of the behaviors of the entities (micro-level) produce an understanding of the overall outcome at the system-level (macro-level). In both cases (MASs as software applications and MASs as models for the analysis of complex systems), simulation plays a crucial role that needs to be further investigated.


MAS&S’17 aims at providing a forum for discussing recent advances in Engineering Complex Systems by exploiting Agent-Based Modeling and Simulation. In particular, the areas of interest are the following (although this list should not be considered as exclusive):

  • Agent-based simulation techniques and methodologies
  • Discrete-event simulation of Multi-Agent Systems
  • Simulation as validation tool for the development process of MAS
  • Agent-oriented methodologies incorporating simulation tools
  • MAS simulation driven by formal models
  • MAS simulation toolkits and frameworks
  • Testing vs. simulation of MAS
  • Industrial case studies based on MAS and simulation/testing
  • Agent-based Modeling and Simulation (ABMS)
  • Agent-based Ambient Systems
  • Agent Computational Economics (ACE)
  • Agent Computational Finance (ACF)
  • Agent-based simulation for energy systems
  • Agent-based simulation of networked systems
  • Scalability in agent-based simulation
  • Agent-based modeling of intelligent social phenomena

PAPER SUBMISSION AND PUBLICATION Read more on Call: 11th International Workshop on Multi-Agent Systems and Simulation (MAS&S 2017)…

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VR, art, re-enactment hybrid ‘Carne y Arena’ simulates a harrowing border trek

[This story from The New York Times describes a presence experience with the potential to alter opinions on a timely social issue, addresses some of the challenges of designing experiences in emerging media, and comments on the role of artists in determining the future success of those media (see the last paragraph in particular). The original story includes an additional image. –Matthew]

Iñárritu’s ‘Carne y Arena’ Virtual Reality Simulates a Harrowing Border Trek

By Jason Farago
May 17, 2017

CANNES, France – After weeks in the desert, dehydrated and afraid, refugees and migrants who are apprehended crossing the United States-Mexico border are regularly locked in what are called las hieleras: the freezers. They are meant to be short-term holding cells — they have no beds — but they also exact a kind of extrajudicial punishment. As revealed by a Freedom of Information Act request in 2015, migrants are trapped there for nearly two days on average. Children are separated from their families; detainees are deprived of food. Sometimes their lips split. Sometimes their skin turns blue.

The cold of the hieleras is the first thing you feel in “Carne y Arena” (“Flesh and Sand”), a groundbreaking hybrid of art exhibition, virtual reality simulation and historical re-enactment by the Mexican film director Alejandro G. Iñárritu on view here ahead of its art-world debut in June at the Prada Foundation in Milan. You enter a cold-storage chamber, spare but for a few industrial benches, and are instructed to remove your shoes and socks. Dusty slippers and sneakers, recovered from the border zone, litter the floor. Barefoot, you exit the cold room and enter a larger one, its floor covered with sand. Attendants equip you with an Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset, headphones — and a backpack. The darkness gives way, and you find yourself on the border, and in danger. Read more on VR, art, re-enactment hybrid ‘Carne y Arena’ simulates a harrowing border trek…

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Call: Technology, Consciousness and Experience – 20th BPS CEP Annual Conference


British Psychological Society (BPS)
Consciousness & Experiential Psychology (CEP) Section
20th Annual Conference: Technology, Consciousness and Experience
7-9th September 2017
Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey TW20 0EX, UK

First submission deadline: 2 July 2017

Technology pervades modern life. Most of us are dependent on ICT and relate to others through it. Digital life appears to be changing experience. This conference explores the impact of the digital world on consciousness and experience. Themes include but are not limited to: the impact of immersion in digital technologies on ways of being, questions around advancing AI and robotics, how people navigate the digital world, use of digital media in applied psychology, education, clinical and health settings, and the role of digital technologies in helping further understanding of human behaviour. We welcome psychologists, philosophers, neuroscientists and others interested in this area. Further details are available on the CEP website ( under the Events tab, at and on the BPS events list.


We invite submissions on any topic related to the conference theme including oral papers, symposia, workshops, case studies, short (haiku deck) presentations and poster submissions and are open to other forms of presentation (e.g. debate). See Submission guidelines downloadable from under Events. Submissions (maximum 300 word abstract) via Questback submission system at Papers will normally be allocated 25-45 minutes for presentation and discussion. Symposia and workshops will normally be allocated an hour and a half. Presenters will need to register for the conference. Read more on Call: Technology, Consciousness and Experience – 20th BPS CEP Annual Conference…

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The evolution of presence tech: Inside Google’s slow-mo VR moonshot

[This long piece from Backchannel provides an optimistic but realistic status report on the evolution of presence technologies, including details on Google’s new stand-alone VR headset; the original version of the story includes more images. –Matthew]

Inside Google’s Slow-Mo VR Moonshot

Clay Bavor knows immersive computing is a long-term project. Here’s what he’s doing to make it happen faster.

Steven Levy, Editor of Backchannel
May 17, 2017

No one in Silicon Valley loves virtual reality or believes in its future as much as Clay Bavor. As vice president of VR and AR for Google, he’s a passionate advocate for the technology, with which he has been obsessed since he was a teenager. In Bavor’s three years of involvement with the company’s efforts in artificial realities, he has taken a populist approach, introducing accessible mobile phone-based products such as the dirt-cheap Cardboard viewer and the more recent $79 Daydream viewer.

Today, at Google’s big I/O developer conference, he’s announcing new moves that edge the company away from the VR dollar store—if not quite into the high-rent district. The splashiest of this bunch is an instant-on, standalone headset — think of it as a Daydream viewer with the phone built in, optimized for VR. Google has built a prototype “reference model” of this headset with Qualcomm’s help, and in the coming months Lenovo and HTC VIVE will release sleek commercial versions. The price is expected to fall in the mid-hundreds range—similar to the higher-end VR rigs sold by Oculus and HTC, but without the $1,200 or so supercharged computer that those products require.

Yes, you get what you pay for. The computation in these new devices is more akin to that of the phone than the supercomputer. But Google will announce at an I/O session tomorrow that it has come up with a scheme — codenamed Seurat, after the painter — to produce graphics that look as good as those from much higher-priced systems.

Google has other news: an augmented-reality version of its Expeditions classroom application, and advances in its Tango phone-based navigation system.

But just as significant, and maybe more so, is something that Bavor isn’t introducing in his presentation. It’s… an essay. Bavor plans to publish it the moment he hits the I/O stage to introduce Google’s new advances. Though it reflects his optimism about the field, it deals frankly with a problem that resonates throughout the entire bespoke-reality business: The hype about VR might be driving unrealistic expectations. Read more on The evolution of presence tech: Inside Google’s slow-mo VR moonshot…

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Call: The International Conference on Futures of Media

Call for Papers

The International Conference on Futures of Media
“Futurisms – Media, Arts & Sciences”
10-11 October 2017
Colombo, Sri Lanka

Hosting Partner – Xi’an Jiaotong Liverpool University, China

Abstract submission deadline:  10th July 2017

Possible areas of enquiry are:

  • What is the relationship between art and science, and especially media theory? What are their possible areas of con-/divergence in the digital world?
  • Is the so-called “third culture” – the fusion of art and science – an ideal or reality? How poetic is science today – which kinds of work does it produce and in what way do artists reflect their own production processes? How scientific is art today?
  • How does contemporary art reveal re-conceptualizations of the self and the world that break with traditional media perspectives? Which contemporary forms of self-expression has art generated, and how are these mirrored in self art (as for instance in ‘selfies’)?
  • How do the present digital conditions affect the work of art, and how are our modes of perception affected? Can – as Walter Benjamin once hoped – our media research on how art envisions and embodies the future today contribute to politics and activism?
  • How do contemporary artists shape the relationship between reality and virtuality, fact and fiction? Which blurred boundaries and new trends can be observed? Can hacking be observed as art? Which new genres or programs can be identified?

View more at Read more on Call: The International Conference on Futures of Media…

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Enormous hands rise from a Venice canal to highlight climate change

[Today’s story is about the use of the technology of modern sculpture to create a presence illusion, this one with an important message. The original story in Mashable includes more images and two videos; more information is available via the project’s website and press release, My Modern Met, as well as Open Culture, where the author writes that “nobody who visits Venice during the Biennale could fail to pause before Support, a work whose visual drama demands a reaction that temperature charts or data-filled studies can’t hope to provoke by themselves. And even apart from the issue at hand, as it were, Quinn’s sculpture reminds us that art, even in as deeply historical a setting as Venice, can also keep us thinking about the future.” For more unusual examples of presence, join the ISPR Presence Community public Facebook group. –Matthew]

[Image: Source: Hyperbeast]

Enormous hands rise from a Venice canal to highlight climate change

By Maria Gallucci
May 16, 2017

Italy’s famed city of Venice has grappled with flooding and encroaching waters since the Middle Ages. But as global warming speeds up sea level rise, the charming destination is steadily slipping underwater.

Italian artist Lorenzo Quinn calls attention to this threat with his arresting, larger-than-life sculpture in the sinking city. Support features two 5,000-pound hands bursting out of the Grand Canal and grasping the walls of the historic Ca’ Sagredo Hotel.

“I have three children, and I’m thinking about their generation and what world we’re going to pass on to them,” Quinn said in an interview. “I’m worried, I’m very worried.”

Yet the sculpture, which was unveiled on May 13, is also a call for action — a plea to scientists, policymakers, and citizens alike to address human-caused climate change and its many impacts on communities and the environment.

“Something has to be done,” the 51-year-old artist said. Read more on Enormous hands rise from a Venice canal to highlight climate change…

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Call: ‘Gamification’ at 51st Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS)

Call for Papers

Part of the “Decision Analytics, Mobile Services, and Service Science” Track
51st annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences
January 3-6, 2018 | Hilton Waikoloa Village, Big Island

June 15:  Submissions deadline
August 17:  Notification sent to authors
September 4:  Revision deadline
September 10:  Final acceptance notifications sent to authors
September 22:  Deadline for authors to submit the final manuscript (camera ready)
October 1:  Registration deadline
January 3-6, 2018:  Conference
February 15, 2018 (date subject to change) (Optional): Submission deadline for extended versions of selected papers for Gamification special issue in the Journal of Business Research

During the last decade, games have become an established vein of entertainment, consumer culture, and essentially, a common part of people’s daily lives (36). In the United States alone 59% of the population plays computer games while revenues of the computer games industry exceed US $15 billion (4). However, in addition to the increased penetration of games, the ways in which people play and employ games have also become more varied. There are more different kinds of games available for a multitude of different platforms, mediated through different technologies that cater for differing gaming needs (15,20,24,41) for widening audiences (8,9,10,26,36,40) and which use a wide variety of business models (1,2,13,14,25,27,28,29).

As a result, our reality and lives are increasingly game-like, not only because video games have become a pervasive part of our lives, but perhaps most prominently also because activities, systems and services that are not traditionally perceived as game-like are increasingly gamified. Gamification refers to designing products, services and organizational practices in order to afford similar experiences to games, and consequently, to attempt to create value and affect people’s behavior (3,16,21,30,39). In recent years, the popularity of gamification has skyrocketed and is manifested in growing numbers of gamified applications, as well as a rapidly increasing amount of research (See e.g. 17,18,33).

However, beyond intentional gamification, gamification also refers to the general ludic transformation of our reality, culture and everyday lives (35,39). For example, recently we have witnessed the popular emergence of augmented reality games (32) and virtual reality technologies that enable a more seamless integration of games into our physical reality. Moreover, recent emerging phenomenon such as eSports (19,38) and streaming (37) have also penetrated the cultural membrane allowing games to seep into domains hitherto dominated by traditional media.

We encourage a wide range of submissions: empirical and conceptual research papers, case studies, and reviews in addition to practitioner reports related to gamification, games, information systems, commerce and users/players as well as the area between them.

Accepted papers will be included in the Conference Proceedings published by the IEEE Computer Society and maintained in the IEEE Digital Library. HICSS publications account for the top 2% downloads of all IEEE conferences, and have been consistently ranked as the most cited papers in top journal publications. Extended versions of selected papers will be invited to be submitted to a Gamification special issue in the Journal of Business Research ( The tentative deadline is February 15, 2018.

Relevant topics include (not limited to):

  • Impact of games and gamification
    • Individual impact
      • Behaviour
      • Psychological states
      • Well-being
    • Organizational impacts
    • Business benefits
    • Societal impacts
  • Areas of ludification of culture
    • eSports
    • Streaming
  • Conceptual improvements
    • Definitions
    • Frameworks
    • Affordances / mechanics
  • Game business
    • Free-to-play
    • Virtual goods
    • Player retention
    • Game design as marketing
  • Motivations and players
    • Player typologies
    • Motivations / gratifications
    • Demographic differences
    • Adoption and continued use
  • Technology and design
    • Virtual Reality (VR)
    • Augmented reality (AR)
    • Mixed reality (MR)
    • Mobile and web applications
    • Gamification in enterprise
    • Health applications
    • Education technology (serious games, game-based learning)
    • (Action) Design research

Read more on Call: ‘Gamification’ at 51st Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS)…

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The planetarium as presence-evoking medium

[Planetariums are too often overlooked as a media technology capable of creating several types of presence, including social presence. Our colleague Tom Kwasnitschka makes the case in this story from Nature. For complimentary evidence, see coverage by Creators (including videos) of the recent Obscura Digital presentation ‘Chrysalis,’ the largest projection inside a geodesic dome, at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival. –Matthew]

[Image: Source: Creators]

Planetariums — not just for kids

Planetariums are not just for education, or even astronomy: they could display all sorts of data, if only scientists thought to use them, says Tom Kwasnitschka.

25 April 2017

Most researchers think of planetariums, if they think of them at all, as a place to take schoolchildren for whizzy trips through the stars, with nothing to offer serious scientists. But the truth is quite the contrary.

In March, the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan held a joint workshop with the International Planetarium Society (IPS) in Tokyo. The goal? To visualize the most complex astronomical data sets gathered so far and thus explore ideas about the distribution of galaxies, exoplanets and the make-up of comets. And planetariums can display more than astronomical data. In the past five years, I have been immersed in visualizations of neuronal activity, Hurricane Katrina, particle collisions from the Large Hadron Collider, marine food webs along the US Northwestern Pacific coast, and the magma chamber under the Yellowstone Plateau in Wyoming.

With rich detail and dynamic configurations, these visualizations are often works of art. They inspire both wonder and scientific insight.

Rather than chasing grants for immersive- visualization infrastructure, researchers should use what is already available. With up to 20 high-performance video projectors linked to advanced graphics computers, digital dome planetariums host some of the most sophisticated and flexible systems for scientific visualization. The IPS estimates that there are around 1,300 digital domes in operation globally, each measuring between 3 and 30 metres across, and that one is available within easy reach of most academic facilities. What’s more, busy researchers can rely on planetarium staff to handle most of the underlying logistics.

Dome software can run on any sort of computer, from a laptop to a graphics cluster. It produces seamless, real-time images at a resolution near the limit of what the human eye can discern. A module made to display stars can be easily rewritten to show the global pattern of earthquakes. With a simple Excel spreadsheet of bird-migration routes plotted on a digital globe, I can ‘fly’ to virtual locations and adjust the spreadsheet in real time.

Virtual-reality headsets and other technologies designed for individual viewers have improved markedly, but they lack the communal experience of ‘mixed reality’. My research on deep-ocean volcanoes relies on an inverted dome — imagine a gigantic salad bowl with researchers standing in the middle — that I designed on the basis of experience and contacts from working in planetariums since my teenage days as a guide. When my colleagues and I are immersed in this visual environment, we can really communicate about our data. We see the same things and point them out to each other. We discuss hypotheses face to face as humans, not as avatars. There are no clunky goggles to isolate us and stifle conversation.

I’m not a planetary scientist, but research in the deep ocean is similar to studying Mars: because we cannot go there ourselves, we need elaborate robotics to do our exploration. A huge limitation is our inability to see the sea floor with our own eyes, and to gain the sense of presence that field geologists can work from. The displays we created showed us that ocean-floor surveying had not caught up with our visualization capabilities; this led us to develop deep-sea camera technology to enable photorealistic models of the sea floor. (In fact, as I write this, I am on a boat that’s scanning the floor of the Mediterranean Sea.) Read more on The planetarium as presence-evoking medium…

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