ISPR Presence News

Monthly Archives: November 2017

Call: Roboethics issue of Paladyn Journal of Behavioral Robotics

Call for Papers

Paladyn Journal of Behavioral Robotics:
Topical Issue on Roboethics

Submission deadline (extended): December 20, 2017


Editorial Board/Guest Editors:
Fiorella Operto (lead GE), The School of Robotics, Italy (email:
Raja Chatila, ISIR, University Pierre and Marie Curie, France
Guido Nicolosi, University of Catania, Italy
George Bekey, University of Southern California, USA
Mariachiara Tallacchini, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Italy

Editorial Advisory Board:
Gianmarco Veruggio, CNR-IEIIT, Italy


Employed by human society in numbers and applications larger than today, robotics is going to trigger widespread social and economic changes, opening new social and ethical problems for which designers, manufacturers, end user, and public, and private policy must be prepared now. As the application field for robots is widening, and the robot is coming out of the factory halls (cobots), new challenges are seen, and even a change of paradigm is taking shape. New Human-Robot interactions are to be forecasted, involving human body, health care and augmentation issues, challenging privacy, human communication and social interactions, and digital/robotics divide.

Roboethics deals with the ethical aspects of the design, development and employment of intelligent machines. It shares many subjects and methodology with computer ethics, information ethics and bioethics. Roboethical issues are new and never fully explored, involving transdisciplinarity and calling for original solution that we would need the contributions and efforts of all scientific and human disciplines, in a common endeavor. In fact, not only roboticists, but also Law, Sociology, Psychology, Anthropology, and Philosophy are studying the potentialities of these intelligent machines in relation to human beings.

Topics related to roboethical issues include, but not limited to, the following:

  • Economy (replacing humans in the workplace; robotics and the job market)
  • Psychology (position of humans in the control hierarchy; robots and children)
  • Law (robots and liability; deployment of autonomously acting robots)
  • Health (robotics in surgery; robotics in health care, assistance, prosthetics and therapy)
  • Military application of robotics (acceptability, advantages and risks, codes)
  • Environment (underwater robotics noise pollution; cleaning nuclear and toxic waste)
  • Service (social robotics, personal assistants, companions)
  • Technical dependability (availability; reliability; safety; security)

Read more on Call: Roboethics issue of Paladyn Journal of Behavioral Robotics…

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The trillion dollar 3D telepresence gold mine

[This long story from Forbes is a useful review of industry efforts to create effective and practical social presence illusions (it uses a technology-based definition of telepresence vs. the psychological sense of “virtual presence”). Read the original version of the story to see many images and videos that illustrate the different technologies. The author also has an upcoming book about AR and VR. –Matthew]

[Image: Author Charlie Fink apparently in same room with a DVE hologram]

The Trillion Dollar 3D Telepresence Gold Mine

Charlie Fink, I’m a former tech executive covering VR, AR and new media for Forbes.
November 20, 2017

We decided to find out if what Microsoft says is true: remote volumetric telepresence and collaboration can and will be done, sooner than people think and–despite obvious technical hurdles–it will be the killer app of Augmented and Virtual Reality.

Rewind. It took the personal computer roughly 15 years to hit an inflection point and become a consumer product everyone had to have. At first its killer app, email, which most people first got at work, didn’t seem so revolutionary. Hardly anyone outside the company was using it. The network effect, a phenomenon whereby a service becomes more valuable when more people use it, hadn’t kicked in. New technology always penetrates the enterprise before the home. Once people started getting Internet online services with a personal email address, it made the PC something everyone had to have at home. The telephone is another great example. The more people who got one, the more people had to have one.

Similarly, messaging and social media are the killer apps of smartphones. Our need to connect with other people follows us, no matter where technology takes us. New technology succeeds when it makes what we are already doing better, cheaper, and faster. It naturally follows that Telepresence should likewise be one of the killer apps for both AR and VR. A video of Microsoft Research’s 2016 Holoportation experiment suggests Microsoft must have been working on this internally for some time, maybe even before the launch of the HoloLens itself.

Telepresence, meaning to be electronically present elsewhere, is not a new idea. As a result, the term describes a broad range of approaches to virtual presence. It breaks down into six main types: Read more on The trillion dollar 3D telepresence gold mine…

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New HaptX Glove for VR provides tactile and force feedback in step toward ultimate presence

[The new HaptX Glove apparently provides impressive haptic illusions if not fully “immersive VR,” but as this story from IEEE Spectrum notes, the creators are still working toward enabling “virtual reality experiences [that] are indistinguishable from real life”; see the original story for four more images and the HaptX website for much more information. –Matthew]

HaptX Inc Reveals New Haptic Glove for Virtual Reality

By Amy Nordrum
Posted 20 Nov 2017

In early October, I showed up at an old firehouse on Staten Island for a glimpse into the future of virtual reality. That future depends largely on haptics. Now that we can use VR headsets to transport ourselves to another world, the thinking goes, we need systems to recreate sensations to bring those virtual experiences to life.

I went to Staten Island to meet up with a little-known company that fancies itself “the leader of realistic haptic feedback.” The company—now called HaptX—had promised to let me try out a prototype of its very first product.

I was looking forward to it, because I’d seen a spectacular demo by the same company, then named AxonVR, at CES 2017. That demo consisted of putting on an HTC Vive and sticking my hand into a large metal box to experience the thrill of feeling a tiny virtual deer lay down in my palm.

The technology was bulky and awkward back then, but the results were “absolutely magical,” as my coworker Evan Ackerman wrote at the time. When we left CES, the company promised more announcements later in the year. In September, they said they were about to make a big one. Read more on New HaptX Glove for VR provides tactile and force feedback in step toward ultimate presence…

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Call: PRESENCE 2018, 18th conference of the International Society for Presence Research (ISPR)


18th conference of the International Society for Presence Research (ISPR)
Prague, Czech Republic
May 21-22, 2018 (optional demonstrations and guided sightseeing events May 20)

Conference theme: Challenges

Read more on Call: PRESENCE 2018, 18th conference of the International Society for Presence Research (ISPR)…

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Call: Social Robots, Emotions, and Social Cognition issue of Techné


Social Robots, Emotions, and Social Cognition:
Conceptual, Empirical, and Ethical Perspectives

Special Issue in Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology
(Expected: Volume 23, Issue 2, 2019)

Guest Editors:
Johanna Seibt
Raffaele Rodogno

Research Unit for Robophilosophy
School for Culture and Society
Aarhus University, Denmark


So-called ‘social robots’ are embodied artificial agents that move in the physical space of human social interaction and can be perceived as social agents or social interaction partners—due to their appearance, their movements, and their behavioral functionalities. The affordances of social robots also include the capacity to elicit human emotional responses, especially positive emotional appeal and attachment. Research in Human-Robot Interaction Studies (HRI) and Social Robotics has begun to investigate the emotional dimension in our experience of social robots and the relationship between emotional response to and social cognition of these devices. However, the systematic complexity of the conceptual implications of these phenomena and their normative aspects call for a wider scope of interdisciplinary competences. Which emotions social robots can, may, should, and should not elicit in human beings–these are issues that need the expertise of philosophers and other Humanities scholars.

The contributions collected within this special issue will address the emotional dimension of the human experience of social robots from the perspective of “robophilosophy”, a new area of interdisciplinary research in philosophy and close interdisciplinary contact with all disciplines involved in specific social robotics applications (robotics, cognitive science, psychology, sociology, anthropology, linguistics, education science; see Seibt, Nørskov, and Hakli 2014).

The aim of this issue thus is to engage the pressing questions of the emotional dimension of social robotics from a perspective that combines the empirical knowledge with the specific tools and competences that philosophers can bring to questions of conceptual implications and normative assessments. The focus of this special issue will not be on the possible realization of emotions as ‘inner’ states with phenomenal qualities, but on the display of emotions and the affordance of emotions. For a more detailed description of the core questions that submissions should preferably address, see Read more on Call: Social Robots, Emotions, and Social Cognition issue of Techné…

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Swimming with dolphins in virtual reality to aid disabled

[This story from via AFP describes a promising therapeutic use of VR and presence that creates a double-meaning for immersion and has the added advantage of not requiring the use of captive animals. For more information, including images and standard and interactive videos, see The Dolphin Swim Club’s website. –Matthew]

Swimming with dolphins in virtual reality to aid disabled

November 19, 2017 by Jo Biddle

Swimming with wild dolphins is something most can only dream of, and jumping into pools with captive animals has become increasingly controversial with environmentalists condemning it as cruel.

But a Dutch non-profit believes it has found a way to bring people, especially the disabled, closer to such a joyful experience through the technological, immersive advances offered by virtual reality (VR).

The Dolphin Swim Club is the realisation of a more than two-decade journey by artist Marijke Sjollema, who had her first chance encounter with a dolphin in 1993 while snorkeling off the coast of Mexico. Read more on Swimming with dolphins in virtual reality to aid disabled…

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Call: Society for Experiential Graphic Design (SEGD) 2018 Academic Summit


Society for Experiential Graphic Design (SEGD)
2018 Academic Summit
Wednesday, June 6
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Submission deadline: March 2, 2018

SEGD | Society for Experiential Graphic Design is soliciting submissions for the 2018 Academic Summit to be held on Wednesday, June 6, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Potential papers should address the educational, institutional, technological, social, and cultural issues that have relevance to the overarching discipline of Experiential Graphic Design (XGD), which encompasses environmental graphic and information design, exhibition design, wayfinding and signage design, branding, interactive and immersive environments, and technology integration.

Situated the day before the 2018 SEGD Conference, this event will bring together educators, students, researchers, and practitioners from the field of Experiential Graphic Design.

For 2018 SEGD is seeking submissions of both academic research and curriculum innovation that specifically address design challenges including (but not limited to):

  • advanced user centric experiences
  • emerging technology
  • interface innovation
  • narrative design and storytelling
  • smart cities and public spaces
  • shifts in user behavior and spatial practices
  • design thinking and business innovation
  • service design and evolution

SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS Read more on Call: Society for Experiential Graphic Design (SEGD) 2018 Academic Summit…

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Paramount Pictures and Bigscreen launching virtual reality movie theater

[Reminiscent of Oculus Video and CineVR, a new virtual movie theater from Paramount and Bigscreen will replicate sitting in a theater with friends watching a film on a big screen, i.e., it’ll use presence-evoking technology to replicate the experience of using presence-evoking technology. This story is from Deadline Hollywood. –Matthew]

Paramount Pictures Launching First Virtual Reality Movie Theater

by Anita Busch
November 16, 2017

EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures has just created another platform — or maybe even a new distribution window — to display its feature content.

The studio, in partnership with Bigscreen, is collaborating with several tech companies leading efforts in the virtual reality space — Oculus, Samsung, HTC and Microsoft, among others — to launch a first VR movie theater. A viewer puts on a VR headset and sits in a “theater” in front of a huge screen watching a movie as you would in a brick-and-mortar theater. Read more on Paramount Pictures and Bigscreen launching virtual reality movie theater…

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Call: Multimodal Corpora 2018: Multimodal Data in the Online World

Call for Papers

Multimodal Data in the Online World

LREC 2018 Workshop
12 May 2018, Phoenix Seagaia Conference Center, Miyazaki, Japan

Deadline for paper submission: 12 January 2018


The creation of a multimodal corpus involves the recording, annotation and analysis of several communication modalities such as speech, hand gesture, facial expression, body posture, gaze, etc. An increasing number of research areas have transgressed or are in the process of transgressing from focused single modality research to full-fledged multimodality research, and multimodal corpora are becoming a core research asset and an opportunity for interdisciplinary exchange of ideas, concepts and data.

We are pleased to announce that in 2018, the 12th Workshop on Multimodal Corpora will once again be collocated with LREC.

This workshop follows similar events held at LREC 00, 02, 04, 06, 08, 10, ICMI 11, LREC 2012, IVA 2013, LREC 2014, and LREC 2016. The workshop series has established itself as of the main events for researchers working with multimodal corpora, i.e. corpora involving the recording, annotation and analysis of several communication modalities such as speech, hand gesture, facial expression, body posture, gaze, etc.


As always, we aim for a wide cross-section of the field of multimodal corpora, with contributions ranging from collection efforts, coding, validation, and analysis methods to tools and applications of multimodal corpora. Success stories of corpora that have provided insights into both applied and basic research are welcome, as are presentations of design discussions, methods and tools. This year, to comply with one of the hot topics of the main conference, we would also like to pay special attention to multimodal corpora collected and adapted from data occurring online rather than especially created for specific research purposes.

In addition to this year’s special theme, other topics to be addressed include, but are not limited to:

  • Multimodal corpus collection activities (e.g. direction-giving dialogues, emotional behaviour, human-avatar and human-robot interaction, etc.) and descriptions of existing multimodal resources
  • Relations between modalities in human-human interaction and in human-computer or human-robot interaction
  • Multimodal interaction in specific scenarios, e.g. group interaction in meetings or games
  • Coding schemes for the annotation of multimodal corpora
  • Evaluation and validation of multimodal annotations
  • Methods, tools, and best practices for the acquisition, creation, management, access, distribution, and use of multimedia and multimodal corpora
  • Interoperability between multimodal annotation tools (exchange formats, conversion tools, standardization)
  • Collaborative coding
  • Metadata descriptions of multimodal corpora
  • Automatic annotation, based e.g. on motion capture or image processing, and its integration with manual annotations
  • Corpus-based design of multimodal and multimedia systems, in particular systems that involve human-like modalities either in input (Virtual Reality, motion capture, etc.) and output (virtual characters)
  • Automated multimodal fusion and/or generation (e.g., coordinated speech, gaze, gesture, facial expressions)
  • Machine learning applied to multimodal data
  • Multimodal dialogue modelling

Read more on Call: Multimodal Corpora 2018: Multimodal Data in the Online World…

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Pixar uses VR to bring the Land of the Dead to life

[A new VR project from Pixar promotes the company’s new film using both spatial and social presence. The story is from CNET, where the original includes more images and a 2:29 minute video. –Matthew]

Pixar uses VR to bring the Land of the Dead to life

“Coco VR,” the first virtual-reality experience from Pixar, sets you loose as a skeleton to play in the imaginary universe of its next film.

By Joan E. Solsman
November 15, 2017

Pixar’s movies can be so captivating, you sometimes want to walk around inside their worlds.

Now you can.

“Coco VR,” the first virtual-reality experience from Pixar, lets you virtually explore the glimmering Land of the Dead from the studio’s upcoming feature, “Coco.” Check out your skeleton body in a mirror as you try on different outfits and pop your skull off and place it into your hands. Walk around a town square with a friend, exploring buildings on your hunt for Easter eggs and movie extras, like a deleted scene from the film.

Or ride an elevator that lifts you high above the roofs to an elevated train, allowing the expanse of the twinkling metropolis to unspool around you, almost like you’ve really traveled to this imaginary world.

“You are stepping into a Pixar film,” said Yelena Rachitsky, executive producer of experiences at Oculus. “But in addition to that, you’re also able to experience things in this that you can’t in the film. … You’re able to create a deeper, richer world beyond — and the parallel to — the film’s experience.”

“Coco VR” brings blockbuster animation studio Pixar into virtual reality for the first time, a taste of what VR cheerleaders have always hoped could be a match made in heaven. Read more on Pixar uses VR to bring the Land of the Dead to life…

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