ISPR Presence News

Monthly Archives: September 2017

Call: Spatial Cognition 2018

Call for Papers

Spatial Cognition 2018
Tuebingen, Germany, 5-8 September 2018

Submission deadlines:
Workshops and tutorials: November 31st, 2017 (see website for details)
Full Papers: February 2nd, 2018

The Spatial Cognition Conference 2018 (SC 2018) will be held in Tuebingen, Germany, 5-8 September 2018. Spatial Cognition is a transdisciplinary conference that will bring together researchers working on a diverse set of topics using a plethora of methods addressing, for example, biologically inspired systems, spatial learning, communication, interaction, robotics, perception or place. In the finest tradition of fostering transdisciplinary exchange, the conference is organized as a single-track. The final program and the associated proceedings will be the result of a selective review process and will include invited talks as well as oral and poster presentations of refereed submissions. The main conference will be accompanied by one day of workshops and tutorials, poster presentation sessions, as well as a doctoral student session.… read more. “Call: Spatial Cognition 2018”

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VR and presence could be powerful tool in diagnosing social anxiety disorder

[This short story from PsyPost is about a logical and potentially valuable application of presence for accurately diagnosing social anxiety.

Note: ISPR Presence News will be away on Thursday and Friday and return on Monday.


[Image: Credit: Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung]

Virtual reality technology could be a powerful tool in diagnosing social anxiety disorder

Eric W. Dolan
September 23, 2017

A team of German researchers is hoping to use virtual reality technology to diagnose social anxiety disorder. Their initial results have been published in the scientific journal Computers in Human Behavior.

“Most of the work done with VR so far (including from our workgroup) was done either as a treatment for anxiety disorders or as a method to investigate mechanisms behind exposure therapy. This is one of the first studies that used VR as a possible diagnostic tool (in this case for social fear),” explained study author Youssef Shiban of the University of Regensburg.… read more. “VR and presence could be powerful tool in diagnosing social anxiety disorder”

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Call: Games, Values and AI Workshop

Call for Papers:

Games, Values and AI
December 15, 2017
Leverhulm Centre for the Future of Intelligence, University of Cambridge
Cambridge, United Kingdom

Submission deadline: October 31, 2017

This workshop aims to bring together researchers from different backgrounds to explore the philosophical and social issues raised by games as inspiration, model, testbed or context for Artificial Intelligence.


Artificial intelligence research has been linked with games at least since Claude Shannon proposed chess playing as an ideal problem for AI researchers to tackle. More recently, companies pursuing machine learning and AI today often use videogames as “model organisms” or “test environment”—i.e. as platforms for testing, developing and illustrating their accomplishments.

At the same time, artificial intelligence also plays an important role within the videogame industry. Videogame developers routinely create artificial agents that human players can interact with (or compete against), they implement AI technologies within games in other ways or use it in the generation of the game itself.… read more. “Call: Games, Values and AI Workshop”

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Advrty brings native ads to VR to minimize breaks in presence

[As with other presence-evoking technologies, advertising in VR and AR can easily cause breaks in presence; this story from Venture Beat describes how one company is working to minimize the likelihood of this frustrating and counter-productive phenomenon (the CEO uses the phrase “breaking immersion”). –Matthew]

Advrty brings native ads to virtual reality

Stephanie Chan
September 21, 2017

Advrty wants to offer a new avenue of monetization for virtual reality developers, which doesn’t involve full field-of-view pop-up ads. Instead, it’s a platform aimed toward designing and incorporating nonintrusive product placement. It’s in beta.

“Initially, think billboards, posters and product placements using images or video,” said CEO and cofounder Niklas Bakos in an email. “It could be a label on a cup. To get ad relevancy, we’ve created a patent-pending context-based system that will allow for proper targeting in a case where we wouldn’t allow a billboard creative to end up on a soda can label, or an ad for the iPhone X to [show] in a game that is all about the medieval era, for example.”… read more. “Advrty brings native ads to VR to minimize breaks in presence”

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Job: HCI Researcher at Microsoft Research in Cambridge, UK

HCI Researcher – Microsoft Research

Job #: 1071338
Location: United Kingdom, Cambridge
Job families: Research
Products and technologies: (not product or technology specific)
Teams: AI & Research

For more information and to apply:

Are you an exceptionally talented researcher in Human-Computer Interaction who would like to see your work deployed to millions of users worldwide? If the answer is yes, then Microsoft Research in Cambridge could be the place for you. We are looking for a researcher to contribute to ambitious, multi-disciplinary projects with an emphasis on transforming the future of work, revolutionising healthcare, and empowering people with AI. Our world class research in Human-Computer Interaction and our expertise in design ensures that our systems have human values at their centre, and that the technologies we build can be successfully deployed in real world settings. Microsoft Research in Cambridge also has a wealth of experience and expertise in computer vision, machine learning, systems, and software engineering, and has a strong track record of shipping ground-breaking technologies in Microsoft products including Office, Xbox, and HoloLens.… read more. “Job: HCI Researcher at Microsoft Research in Cambridge, UK”

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Sammi, a voice assistant with a Swedish grandmother’s personality

[Adding more personality to voice assistants could increase medium-as-social-actor presence for users. This story from Digiday, which includes a 1:20 minute video, describes an interesting example created by the B-Reel agency. The experience might be optimized if users could adjust the degree, and even type, of personality expressed. –Matthew]

This agency created a voice assistant inspired by a Swedish grandmother

September 25, 2017 by Ilyse Liffreing

Google Home, Echo and other voice-activated devices have many capabilities, but one agency believes they lack something essential for the future of voice: personality.

B-Reel designed a virtual assistant that takes on the persona of a Swedish grandmother. Named Sammi, the round, yellow and blue device hangs on a wall at the agency’s Los Angeles office, ready to dole out grandmotherly advice in her robotic Swedish accent, a homage to the agency’s Swedish roots.… read more. “Sammi, a voice assistant with a Swedish grandmother’s personality”

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Call: ACM SIGCHI DIS 2018 – Designing Interactive Systems conference

Call for Participation

ACM SIGCHI Designing Interactive Systems conference 2018
9-13 June, 2018
School of Design, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University

First submission deadline: 8 January, 2018

DIS 2018 invites submissions that address the following questions: Are our current models of user experience adequate in addressing diversity? What kinds of methods and processes are needed for designing for diversity? How can applications and technologies be designed to address diversity and even add to it in this era of giant global corporations? What are the ethical limits designers have to face when designing for diversity? When answering these questions, DIS seeks papers that make a contribution to knowledge in a believable manner. When submitting, you must select one or two of the following subcommittees:

    Do our design methods, processes and critical perspectives support diversity? How could they be improved and what are the limits?
read more. “Call: ACM SIGCHI DIS 2018 – Designing Interactive Systems conference”
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The power of presence: Stereographs as the original virtual reality

[This story from Smithsonian Magazine is an effective reminder that VR is just the latest popular attempt to use technology to create presence experiences (example quote: “The world in a stereoscope seemed transcendent, hyper-real”). I agree with the concluding suggestion that VR will eventually become just another tool and perhaps fade from use, but I’m confident we’ll continue to be driven to develop (and popularize) technologies that are increasingly effective at evoking presence. The original story contains many more images and a link to a related book. –Matthew]

[Image: This Underwood & Underwood stereograph (c. 1901) shows a woman viewing stereographs in her home. Credit: Library of Congress]

Stereographs Were the Original Virtual Reality

The shocking power of immersing oneself in another world was all the buzz once before—about 150 years ago

By Clive Thompson
Smithsonian Magazine | Subscribe
October 2017

If you walked into Charles Herzog’s classroom last spring, you’d have seen a peculiarly modern sight: middle schoolers all staring into virtual-reality gear.… read more. “The power of presence: Stereographs as the original virtual reality”

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Call: Augmented Human 2018 – “Augmented Experience”

Call for Papers

Augmented Human 2018
“Augmented Experience”
Feb 7-9 in Seoul, Korea

Submission Deadline: November 1st, 2017

Human-Computer Interaction Korea and Seoul National University are hosting AH 2018, the ninth Augmented Human (AH) International Conference, Feb. 7-9, 2018. AH international conferences focus on scientific endeavors towards augmenting human capabilities through technology for increased well-being and enjoyable experiences. As in previous years, the conference proceedings will be published in the ACM Digital Library as a volume in its International Conference Proceedings Series. Previous AH conferences’ information and proceedings links are archived at

The topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Augmented and Mixed Reality
  • Brain-Computer Interfaces, Muscle Interfaces, and Implanted Interfaces
  • Bionics and Biomechanics
  • Exoskeletons and Super Human Technologies
  • Interactions between Augmented Humans and Smart Cities
  • Wearable Computing and Ubiquitous Computing
  • Augmented Fashion, Art, and Tourism
  • Smart Objects, Smart Textiles an IoT Augmenting Humans
  • Augmented Sports and Serious Games, including Augmented Winter Sports
  • Assistive Augmentation, Rehabilitative Interfaces and Games
  • Alternative or Novel Feedback Modalities
  • Interfaces, Services, and Applications for Human Enhancement
  • Augmented Healthcare, Quality of Life & Well-being
  • Human Augmentation, Sensory Substitution, and Fusion
  • Holograms, HMDs and Smart Glasses
  • Hardware and Sensors for Augmented Human Technologies
  • Safety, Ethics, Trust, Privacy and Security Aspects of Augmented Humanity
  • Human-Factor Study, Field Study and User Study of Augmented Human Technologies
read more. “Call: Augmented Human 2018 – “Augmented Experience””
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“Fall in Love VR” creates “a sense of real intimacy”

[I’m just back from the IBC2017 Conference, where I gave a talk, got a glimpse of new technologies and had a series of valuable and enjoyable conversations about presence; great thanks to long-time presence advocate and producer of the IBC technical sessions Nick Lodge (info; video).

The story below from Fast Company describes a VR project that raises a series of intriguing questions about presence without ever using the term; if only Horton and Wohl, who originated the term parasocial interaction, could see “Fall in Love VR.” The original version of the story includes a second image and a 0:29 minute video; follow the link to the project’s website for more information and a 1:21 minute video. –Matthew]

How Virtual Reality Could Help You Fall In Love

“Fall in Love VR,” for the Oculus Rift, shows how integrating natural-language processing in virtual reality can create a sense of real more. ““Fall in Love VR” creates “a sense of real intimacy””

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