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Monthly Archives: June 2017

Call: ACM Symposium on Spatial User Interaction (SUI) 2017

ACM SUI 2017
ACM Symposium on Spatial User Interaction
October 16-17, 2017
Brighton, UK
Twitter: @ACM_SUI
FB: SpatialUserInteraction

Full and Short papers deadline: June 30th 2017

We have some exciting news for SUI 2017. The best full and short papers will be granted the possibility to present again at ACM Interactive Surfaces and Spaces 2017 (ISS), which will be held immediately after SUI (also in Brighton).

This year, Alex Schwartz, CEO of Owlchemy Labs, of Job Simulator fame, will give a keynote titled “Intuitive Spatial Interactions in VR”. More info at:

We invite you to participate in the ACM Symposium on Spatial User Interaction 2017 (SUI) in Brighton, UK. We seek unpublished papers documenting original research contributions, practice and experience, or novel applications, from all areas of spatial user interaction. User interface evaluations are strongly encouraged for every publication in this venue. Specific topics of interest include:

  • Spatial interaction techniques
  • Spatial user interface metaphors
  • Spatial input devices and technology
  • Interaction on spatial, stereoscopic, and 3D displays
  • Evaluation methods for spatial user interaction
  • Collaborative interaction in 3D space
  • Design and user experience (UX) for spatial user interaction
  • Applications of human spatial perception to interaction
  • Adaptive and perceptual-inspired spatial user interaction
  • Applications of spatial UIs, such as games, entertainment, CAD, education
  • Gesture-based spatial interaction
  • Tangible spatial user interaction
  • Multi-touch technologies for spatial user interaction
  • Desktop interfaces for spatial interaction
  • Multisensory and other novel forms of spatial user interaction

Read more on Call: ACM Symposium on Spatial User Interaction (SUI) 2017…

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Largest US employer Walmart adopts VR to train employees

[In addition to the scope of the adoption of VR and presence to train employees, note the comments about the non-technology obstacles to adoption identified near the end of this story from Discovery Magazine’s Lovesick Cyborg blog. The original story includes an additional image, and see Walmart’s blog post for more information, more images and 0:52 minute video. –Matthew]

[Image: Walmart plans for all of its training academies to incorporate virtual reality experiences by the end of 2017. Credit: STRIVR]

Largest US Employer Adopts Virtual Reality Training

By Jeremy Hsu
June 14, 2017

Virtual reality technology that has helped train NFL quarterbacks could also soon provide virtual training experiences for hundreds of thousands of Walmart associates. By the end of 2017, Walmart plans to roll out virtual reality training to the 140,000 associates who complete the retail giant’s training academy program each year. The move by the largest private employer of American workers may represent the biggest step yet for virtual reality training. Read more on Largest US employer Walmart adopts VR to train employees…

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Call: Realities360 – The Enhanced Realities Conference

Call for Participation

Realities360 – The Enhanced Realities Conference
July 26-28, 2017
San Jose, California

At Realities360 Conference, July 26 – 28 in San Jose, California, you can choose from a variety of sessions that will enable you to get up close and personal with enhanced reality technologies and gain the insight to put these technologies into your own training and development work. Peruse over 30 hands-on sessions where peers and industry leaders are sharing best practices, how-tos, case studies, and emerging trends:

Learn more about Realities360:


Here’s a taste of what you can expect to experience with augmented, virtual, and expanded realities at this limited-seating event: Read more on Call: Realities360 – The Enhanced Realities Conference…

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The challenges and potential of social virtual reality

[This thoughtful piece by MT Technology Review writer Rachel Metz considers what it’ll take to make VR a successful platform for communication; the specific design choices will revolve around creating compelling spatial, social and self presence, and require a deep understanding of human nature (including its darker side). The original article includes an additional image. –Matthew]

[Image: Credit: David Brandon Geeting]

Virtual Reality’s Missing Element: Other People

VR can be the basis of a new communications industry if the technology becomes less insular and isolating.

by Rachel Metz
June 14, 2017

Unlike most people, I have a virtual-reality headset. I have exactly one friend who also has one. So most of the time I spend in VR, I’m all by myself. I can almost hear the digital tumbleweeds rolling by.

That’s a funny thing about this technology. Although it looks as if it must feel isolating to strap on a headset that shuts out the world around you, it could be great for socializing. When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent $3 billion to buy the VR headset maker Oculus back in 2014, he pointed to the potential for social interactions as a key reason. And he’s right. Virtual reality can give you a sense of being with others that a FaceTime call on an iPhone will never match. Virtual reality could make it more emotionally fulfilling to connect with far-flung friends and family, or lend a feeling of physical presence to online classes that is impossible to attain otherwise.

But oddly enough, the social network hasn’t made social applications a focal point for the Oculus Rift headset, which launched in 2016. Primarily it’s still meant for playing games and watching short films. In April, Facebook released an app for Oculus Rift called Spaces to let you get together with your Facebook friends in VR. But it’s pretty humdrum. You can take a virtual selfie with your buddies, create a customized avatar based on your Facebook photos, and watch 360° videos or make 3-D doodles with a giant marker. You can interact only with the friends you already have on the social network, so unless your friends happen to have virtual-reality headsets too, you really can’t do much in Spaces but hang out all by yourself. And even if you do meet up with a friend in Spaces, it gets old quickly: you’re forced to stand around a virtual table the whole time. It seems that in order to avoid overwhelming early VR users, Facebook has gone too far in the direction of simplicity.

Recently I found a virtual social place that’s actually fun. It’s a free app for Rift and another high-end headset, HTC’s Vive, called Rec Room. Its virtual world is laid out like a cartoon version of a high school gym where you can play games like paintball and dodgeball, which you control with physical movements in real life. There’s also a big communal lobby called the locker room (for hanging out, not for changing in and out of virtual clothes—you can do that in a private Rec Room dorm room). In the locker room you can meet up with friends or strangers, shoot hoops, or play Ping-Pong.

Rec Room has plenty of flaws, but it nonetheless shows the power of today’s truly immersive virtual-reality technology to promote connections between people in ways that past attempts at virtual socializing—remember Second Life?—could never muster. The interactions with others are largely intuitive; to become friends with people in Rec Room, for instance, you shake their hands, which produces buzzing feedback in the handheld controller. I’ve had a blast spending time in Rec Room with my one other friend who uses VR, who in real life lives across the country. And it’s also the only virtual environment I’ve found that prompts you to connect with people you don’t know in ways that aren’t so awkward you want to rip off your headset.

Although market researcher IDC believes 10 million virtual-reality headsets shipped last year, that number is tiny compared with, say, the smartphone market, where 1.5 billion handsets were shipped in 2016. And I think the technology will struggle to snag more users—and thus to come down in price from at least $800 for a headset and VR-ready PC—unless it becomes more social. It’s not that virtual reality isn’t fun on your own. It’s delightful to get transported somewhere by pulling a headset over your eyes and headphones over your ears. But no matter how entrancing virtual reality is, it’s ultimately a lonely escape if nobody else is around to enjoy it with. If experiences like Rec Room catch on, VR may become the first true post-smartphone social platform. Read more on The challenges and potential of social virtual reality…

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Call: Philosophy of Virtual and Augmented Reality Workshop

Call For Registrations

Philosophy of Virtual and Augmented Reality Workshop
University of Glasgow, 26th – 27th June 2017

The Centre for the Study of Perceptual Experience is pleased to announce the Philosophy of Virtual and Augmented Reality Workshop to be held at the University of Glasgow on Monday 26th & Tuesday 27th June.

Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) devices are rapidly becoming part of our everyday lives. This emerging technology lets users experience wholly virtual environments (like distant places, times, or even fantasy worlds) in VR, or virtual objects in the real world (Pokemon in your garden, a virtual engine in the lecture hall) in AR. This workshop will explore some of the philosophical questions that this technology raises. Talks will address questions concerning what implications AR/VR has for what we consider to be real, what this technology might mean for the trust we put in perception, and how it might disrupt our preferences and decision-making processes. A secondary goal of the workshop is to consider whether the topic of AR/VR is philosophically novel, or whether it is just a new way to engage with familiar issues.

CONFIRMED SPEAKERS Read more on Call: Philosophy of Virtual and Augmented Reality Workshop…

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ScreenX extends movie onto theater walls for a 270 degree panoramic experience

[The ScreenX technology described in this story from Los Angeles Magazine (which includes a different image) is another attempt to create a strong sense of presence for media consumers. See also the press release via PRWeb. –Matthew]

[Image: Source: Nerd Reactor]

This is The Only Theater in L.A. Where the Movie Expands Beyond the Screen

The new ScreenX technology has arrived at CGV Cinemas in Koreatown

June 12, 2017
Lisa Beebe

When I sat down at the CGV Cinemas in Koreatown (621 S. Western Ave.), I was sure I was in the wrong place. I was there to see a movie in the new ScreenX format, but the theater had a normal-sized screen. I couldn’t imagine how it would provide the promised 270-degree viewing area. (Yes, 270, as in way more than half of 360.) When the movie started, and nothing seemed special, l left to ask a cashier at the concession stand about the ScreenX technology. She assured me that I was in the right theater and said the picture would extend onto the walls, but it doesn’t do that all the time. So, if you want to go check out the latest theater tech to hit L.A., and you’re like: OK, where is my amazing transcendent futuristic movie experience? It’s there. It’s all around you, even when it’s not.

What Is ScreenX?

ScreenX is a new kind of viewing experience that wraps the picture around much of the audience, making the movie-going experience more immersive. The multi-projection system can be installed in existing theaters, because it works by extending the movie off of the main screen and onto the theater’s side walls. One of the first Hollywood movies to be converted to the new format, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, is showing at CGV Cinemas in Koreatown until June 15. Only three theaters in the United States are currently equipped with ScreenX technology—the AMC Town Square 18 in Las Vegas, and the CGV Cinemas in Buena Park and Los Angeles. To get a sense of how it works, watch the [30 second] ScreenX version of the Dead Men Tell No Tales trailer [in the original article or on YouTube].

Does ScreenX Live Up to Expectations? Read more on ScreenX extends movie onto theater walls for a 270 degree panoramic experience…

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Call: Chapters for “Cases on Immersive Virtual Reality Techniques”

Call for Book Chapters:
Cases on Immersive Virtual Reality Techniques
To be published by IGI Global

Proposal Submission Deadline: June 30, 2017

Currently, we’re in the early stages of editing “Cases on Immersive Virtual Reality Techniques” to be published by IGI Global ( scheduled for release in April/May 2018. In order to strengthen the overall quality of this important publication, we’re looking for possible proposals, reviewers, and the editorial advisers for this valuable reference. Hence, I would like to invite experts from both industry and academia. If this invitation is agreeable to you and does not conflict with your current professional and research interests or if you have any questions regarding this matter please let us know.

About the book

As virtual reality approaches mainstream consumer use, this has resulted in a revived intrigue in the research and innovation in the area. This vibrant development ecosystem has led to breakthroughs in sound, perception and visual-processing that have taken virtual reality to new dimensions. This book aims to meet the challenge of providing practitioners, researchers and institutions with discussions and examples on how to adopt these new methods and applications. The aim is to reach into research trends that are appearing, in order to show innovations and results that can be used to inspire and invigorate the virtual reality community. The topics covered in this book seek to cover new practices at all levels and modalities in immersive virtual reality, instigating readers to assimilate proposals that have been implemented and to replicate this knowledge in their institutions and researchers worldwide.

Objective of the book

While Virtual Reality has been around for decades it has only recently started to gain momentum due to advancements in technologies – leading to a multitude of breakthroughs in research and innovation that have had a major impact on how we view and use virtual reality. Hence, this comprehensive and timely publication provides an essential reference source, disseminating knowledge on the available literature in the field of Virtual Reality, with the objective of showing applications in this area integrated with immersive techniques and affective theories and computer resources that are being used to support Virtual Reality methods.

The most up-to-date information will be online:

Topics of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Affective aspects involved in digital educational games
  • 3D virtual laboratories and simulations for education
  • Methods of evaluation and assessment in digital Game-Based Learning
  • Usability for digital educational games and immersive environments
  • Affective virtual reality and interaction
  • Virtual reality in games
  • Virtual reality and cognitive impact
  • Virtual reality audio control and influences
  • Virtual reality and multimodal interaction
  • Gesture, touch and haptics
  • Healthcare, assistive technologies
  • Virtual world human communication and dynamics
  • Human-virtual user/agent interaction
  • Interaction with smart environment
  • Machine learning for multimodal interaction
  • Mobile multimodal systems
  • Virtual reality behavior generation
  • Virtual reality datasets and validation
  • Virtual reality dialogue modeling
  • Virtual reality fusion and representation
  • Virtual reality interactive applications
  • Speech behaviors in social interaction
  • System components and virtual reality platforms
  • Visual behaviors in social interaction
  • Virtual/augmented reality and multimodal interaction
  • Virtual reality games in education
  • Gamified immersive environments and virtual worlds
  • Virtual reality applied to Game-Based Learning

Read more on Call: Chapters for “Cases on Immersive Virtual Reality Techniques”…

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Professor using mobile VR to improve access to pedestrian safety education

[This news release from the University of Alabama at Birmingham describes an impressive effort to take presence outside the lab to educate children in a vital skill. The original version of the story includes a second image and a 1:11 minute video. A related story can be found in a September 2015 post in ISPR Presence News. –Matthew]

[Image: Students in a classroom in Changsha, China, test the Google Cardboard virtual reality training system.]

UAB Professor Uses Latest Virtual Reality Technology to Improve Access to Pedestrian Safety Education

Newswise (UAB News – University of Alabama at Birmingham Newsroom)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Pedestrian injuries are a leading cause of death in children in the United States and around the world.

The Birmingham-Hoover metropolitan area is ranked No. 13 by Smart Growth America and the National Complete Streets Coalition in a 2016 report of cities where people walking are more likely to be killed by vehicles, with 150 pedestrian deaths reported.

A University of Alabama at Birmingham psychology professor has focused his research on developing technologies to help children learn how to cross the street in an accessible, safe environment. His latest project, an immersive virtual reality mobile application that uses Google Cardboard, takes the accessibility to the next level. Read more on Professor using mobile VR to improve access to pedestrian safety education…

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Call: VR, AR for Autonomous Driving and Intelligent Vehicles – Special issue of Presence

SPECIAL ISSUE of Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments
Virtual and Augmented Reality for Autonomous Driving and Intelligent Vehicles

Submission deadline: October 15, 2017


It is forecasted that augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) automotive applications will increase road safety, bring intuitive activities to driving, and finally enhance driving experience. AR/VR technology may also help on the transition towards automated driving. AR head-up-displays (HUDs) may soon overlay 3D navigation instructions onto road geometry and moving obstacles like vulnerable road users (pedestrians, bikers, wheel-chair users) and other vehicles may be highlighted to calm down the driver-passenger and enhance trust in their vehicle’s automated operation as the vehicle proves its awareness of its surroundings. Virtual reality windshields may allow for dynamic reconfiguration of multi-lane roads based on demand and will, in the long term, remove road signs, traffic lights, road paintings, etc. from the streets. However, many technological challenges need to be addressed before AR/VR applications will hit the mainstream market. These include how to capture and interpret road geometry through computing intensive sensor fusion, precise vehicle positioning, compensation for vibrations, delays, and jitter, laser projection, driver monitoring via inward facing cameras and designing sophisticated algorithms to generate precise augmentation content in the viewing field of the driver, etc.


The central objective of this special issue is to provoke an active debate on potential and constraints, impact, role, and adequacy of using augmented and virtual reality technology in driving applications. We welcome papers that treat with automotive-themed topics addressing challenges such as how to improve driver-vehicle interaction or driving experience or what are technical difficulties and unresolved problems limiting a broader deployment in the near future.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Responsive, adaptive and evolvable behaviors in immersive virtual environments that deal with driver-vehicle interaction in the interior or vehicle-pedestrian interaction in the exterior.
  • Multiuser virtual environments.
  • Mixed reality and the experience of real and virtual environments.
  • Tools, techniques, frameworks and methodologies.
  • Case studies of application of augmented or virtual reality in the automotive domain.
  • Education in the automotive field, e.g., driver training, using AR/VR technology.
  • Evaluation and validation methodologies for the impact of AR/VR.
  • Applications/solutions that deal with cognitive overload, distraction, inattentional blindness, simulation sickness.
  • Studies reporting the benefit of AR/VR technology towards attention (span), etc.
  • Risk assessment of the use of augmented/virtual reality technology for driving and strategies to reduce its risk.
  • Social capabilities of AR/VR technology in automotive environments.
  • In- and inter-vehicle gaming applications.

SUBMISSIONS Read more on Call: VR, AR for Autonomous Driving and Intelligent Vehicles – Special issue of Presence…

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Presence in the reproduction of high culture artifacts and experiences

[This story from The Guardian illustrates different ways presence technologies are being used in ‘high culture’ experiences; I think the use of 3D digital replicas of art works displayed in the reproduction of the historic Gothic home Strawberry Hill House is a compelling example of the blurring of authentic and artificial. The original story includes a second image. –Matthew]

[Image: 3D replicas of 18th century portraits will be hung in Strawberry Hill House, Twickenham, the home of Horace Walpole. Photograph: Graham Turner for the Guardian]

Step inside Butterfly’s house in virtual reality opera night

Arts are embracing cutting-edge tech in Puccini production

Vanessa Thorpe, Arts and Media Correspondent
Saturday 10 June 2017

Cutting-edge visual technology is pushing its way into the hallowed halls of culture this summer. New 3D replicas of missing artworks have been installed at the home of the 18th-century writer Horace Walpole, while Welsh National Opera is going a step further, creating a virtual reality performance.

Authenticity was once key to the value of a work of art, as well [as] being a crucial notion in the world of entertainment. Yet soon it is likely that even experts will be unsure what they are looking at.

Many of the paintings and artefacts collected by the gothic author Walpole, son of the first prime minister Robert Walpole, are being gathered for display in Strawberry Hill House, the villa he designed in Twickenham, south-west London, ahead of the 300th anniversary of his birth in September.

Some pieces, however, are either missing or judged too fragile to transport and have been replaced by 3D replicas. Read more on Presence in the reproduction of high culture artifacts and experiences…

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