ISPR Presence News

Monthly Archives: January 2018

Call: “Social Robots and Recognition” special issue of Philosophy and Technology

Call for Papers for Philosophy and Technology‘s special issue (online first) on

Social Robots and Recognition
Socio-Ontological, (Machine-)Ethical, and Socio-Political Trajectories

Guest Editors:

  • Marco Nørskov (Aarhus University & Hiroshi Ishiguro Laboratories)
  • Sladjana Nørskov (Aarhus University)

Deadline for paper submission: June 1, 2018


Social robotic solutions are currently being developed and tested on a large scale. From workspace collaborators to caretakers of our children and elderly to intimate companions-social robots are imagined to enter into virtually all spheres of social interaction. They are heralded as solutions as well as cautioned against with respect to a variety of socio-political problems such as demographic challenges and inequality. Although appearance and functionality of these machines vary, what they have in common is that they draw on our fundamental relational capacities. A central topic in this context is recognition, here understood as the acknowledgement of the other as individual/collective and robot/human. Given the vital nature of this type of recognition-i.e. it being essential to our flourishing as humans-and under the assumption that human-machine interaction will increase, it becomes an urgent task to critically and constructively assess the status and transformational potential of recognition of/by social robots.

The prospects of extensive integration of social robots into practices where they become players in the human game of recognition (in its various conceptual nuances) raise numerous questions-for example: What does it mean to mis-/recognize a robot or being recognized by a robot? Are there any principal objections against robots being capable of recognizing others (humans/robots) adequately and meaningfully? Is simulation of this capacity enough to elicit genuine feelings of recognition in the interaction partner? How does recognition emerging from human-robot interaction encounters affect our self-understanding as individuals and collectives? How can recognition of/by social robots transform our interpersonal relationships and communities positively/negatively? How do social robots affect our normative and psychological theories of recognition? What are the structural properties of a social system (e.g., business organizations) that is based on humans and robots? How do reciprocal interactions between humans and robots enable and constrain each other? How do the elements of social interaction (e.g., meaning, power and norms) unfold in such social systems?

TOPICS: Read more on Call: “Social Robots and Recognition” special issue of Philosophy and Technology…

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Culture figures Douglas Coupland and Steven Spielberg predict future of VR and presence

[Predictions about the future of virtual reality and presence from two culture contributors are in the news and featured in stories below from The Art Newspaper and Gamespot. –Matthew]

[Image: A screenshot from the upcoming film Ready Player One]

Douglas Coupland says Virtual Reality could replace ‘overrated’ books in post-millennial age

Generation X author and artist was among 100 cultural leaders to convene at the Verbier Art Summit on digital art

Anny Shaw
22nd January 2018

“Virtual Reality [VR] is this asteroid that’s going to hit the planet in 2023,” said the Canadian novelist and artist Douglas Coupland, citing Google’s prediction that, by then, everyone will own at least one VR headset. Coupland, who made the forecast while speaking at the Verbier Art Summit in Switzerland over the weekend, added: “The post-millennial generation, around one and a half generations from now, is going to have people who have no connection to the real world”.

Describing VR as “probably the hottest medium, because it is completely immersive”, the Generation X author went on to controversially suggest: “Maybe books are overrated. Maybe they are an interim technology on the way to VR and we can now get rid of our books.” Read more on Culture figures Douglas Coupland and Steven Spielberg predict future of VR and presence…

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Call: 5th International Conference on Movement and Computing (MOCO’18)

Call for Submissions
5th International Conference on Movement and Computing – MOCO 2018
28-30 June 2018, Genoa, Italy
Casa Paganini – InfoMus, DIBRIS – University of Genoa

Extended deadlines:
Abstract and metadata submission: 12 February 2018
Submission deadline: 19 February 2018

We would like to invite submissions to the 5th International Conference on Movement and Computing (MOCO’18), Genoa, Italy, June 28-30, 2018. Contributions can be submitted to three different tracks: Papers and Posters, Practice Works, and Doctoral Consortium.

MOCO is an interdisciplinary conference that explores how computer science and technology can contribute to a deeper understanding of human movement practice, to support and facilitate movement expression and communication, and to design and develop new paradigms for interacting with computers through movement (e.g., movement interfaces). This requires to tackle computational challenges, including modeling, representation, segmentation, recognition, classification, and generation of movement information. To this aim, an interdisciplinary approach to movement understanding, ranging from biomechanics to embodied cognition, to the phenomenology of bodily experience as well as contributions from the performing arts is needed. We invite submissions from a wide range of disciplines including, but not limited to: Human-Machine Interaction, Artificial Intelligence, Affective Computing, Social Signal Processing, Machine Learning, Cognitive Science, Neuroscience, Psychology, Philosophy, Anthropology, Sports Sciences, Dance, Music, Visual Arts, Games, Healthcare, and Animation.


We encourage submissions including, but not limited to the following topics:

  • Theoretical approaches to movement understanding
  • Philosophical perspectives on movement and computing
  • Embodied cognition and movement
  • Experimental methodologies
  • Datasets of motion recordings
  • Movement analysis and analytics
  • Movement segmentation
  • Movement representation
  • Machine learning for movement
  • Movement qualities and expressive movement
  • Movement in social interaction
  • Modeling and analyzing kinesthetic empathy
  • Movement generation
  • Expressive movement synthesis
  • Movement expression in avatar, artificial agents, virtual humans or robots
  • Full-body interaction
  • Gesture interaction
  • Expressive movement-based interaction
  • Interactive sonification
  • Movement visualization
  • Dance and technology
  • Music and movement
  • Design for movement in digital art
  • Biosensing, biocontrol and movement
  • Sensori-motor learning with audio/visual feedback
  • Mechatronics and creative robotics
  • Movement computation for entertainment
  • Movement computation in education
  • Movement computation in ergonomics, sports, and health
  • Movement Notation Systems (e.g. Laban or Eshkol-Wachman)

Read more on Call: 5th International Conference on Movement and Computing (MOCO’18)…

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New Holostream tech allows high-quality wireless 3-D video communications

[The technology described in the story below from Indianapolis Business Journal could substantially advance the quality and prevalence of effective presence illusions. More information including a 2:10 minute video (also on YouTube) is available from the Purdue University news release, and coverage in Digital Trends includes this summary:

“’The Holostream system includes four major modules,’ Song Zhang, an associate professor at Purdue, told Digital Trends. ‘[There’s] a high-accuracy and high-resolution 3D video acquisition module that achieves camera pixel resolution at 30Hz; a novel 3D video compression module that substantially reduces 3D video data size; a 3D video streaming module that delivers compressed 3D video contents and decompresses the videos in real time; and 3D video visualization modules that allows the mobile device users to naturally access and interact with high-quality 3D video contents in real time at a remote location across standard networks.’”


[Image: Purdue doctoral student Tyler Bell is lead author of a new research paper about Holostream. Purdue University image/Trevor Mahlmann).]

Purdue professor develops way to transmit 3D images through phones

Anthony Schoettle
January 12, 2018

A newly created 3D data-transport system may not be quite as impressive as Star Trek’s “beaming,” but it’s pretty darn close.

The technology—called Holostream—was developed by a Purdue University professor.

“To our knowledge, this system is the first of its kind that can deliver dense and accurate 3D video content in real time across standard wireless networks to remote mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets,” said Song Zhang, an associate professor in Purdue University’s School of Mechanical Engineering.

“Right now, there’s no pipeline between those that create holographic images and devices that can display them,” he added. “That’s where Holostream comes in.”

Zhang began developing the platform a decade ago while working at Iowa State University and has continued that work since joining Purdue’s staff three years ago.

The Holostream platform drastically reduces the data size of 3D video while largely maintaining its quality, allowing transmission within the bandwidths provided by existing wireless networks, he said.

“This is a big leap forward in technology,” Zhang told IBJ. “This platform provides people an opportunity to have 3D communications in a way that right now doesn’t exist.”

In simpler terms, sharper three-dimensional video can be delivered through current mobile phone and internet technology.

“You don’t necessarily need any virtual reality equipment,” Zhang said. “You can use it with your cell phone in the palm of your hand.”

Holostream also improves the quality and expands the capabilities of popular applications already harnessing real-time 3D data delivery, such as teleconferencing and telepresence—which uses virtual reality and other interactive technologies—allowing people to feel or appear as if they were present in a remote location, Zhang explained. Read more on New Holostream tech allows high-quality wireless 3-D video communications…

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Jobs: User Experience and Interaction Designer positions at Naver Labs Europe

User Experience and Interaction Designer positions
Naver Labs Europe

The mission of NAVER LABS Europe is to advance the state-of-the-art in Ambient Intelligence technology including autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, 3D mapping, augmented reality and robotics while paving the way for these innovations into NAVER products and services. To achieve that NLE is expanding its current team of ethnographers to strengthen its user centred focus. To this aim we are looking for UX researchers and interaction designers to support project teams in a variety of domains, including (but not limited to) Augmented Reality and Assisted Mobility to envision how people will get an enhanced experience through it and bring that vision to life. As such you will need to both conduct primary research and turn the findings into concepts, translating them down when appropriate to the mock-up and prototype phase.

The role will involve the following responsibilities:

  • Defining a UX vision for the service line in collaboration with AI, ethnographic, user and business development experts, involving local and remote stakeholders at the Korean sister lab as appropriate.
  • Work with Product managers, Engineers and other UX researchers to prioritize research opportunities in a fast-paced, rapidly changing environment.
  • Collaborating to the execution of the prioritized projects, from turning the selected concepts into user flows and wireframes to building user interface mockups and prototypes.

The successful candidate should demonstrate:

  • Proven UX skills (user research, vision, concept and UI design).
  • Proven interdisciplinary skills, preferably demonstrated through their interaction with stakeholders from multiple backgrounds (AI, user and business development experts, agile software development) in an international environment. Previous experience with Korean culture would be a plus.

Read more on Jobs: User Experience and Interaction Designer positions at Naver Labs Europe…

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User succumbs to a seizure in virtual reality while other players can only watch

[The incident reported in this story from The Verge raises important and interesting questions about what happens when critical events in the nonmediated (‘real’) world emerge in the mediated, virtual world – revealing human nature and suggesting the need to create awareness and potential means for responding beyond the presence environment. The original story includes a 17:56 minute video, and for more details see coverage in Kotaku.–Matthew]

Read more on User succumbs to a seizure in virtual reality while other players can only watch…

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Call: 8th Workshop on Applications of Software Agents – WASA 2018

Call for Papers

8th Workshop on Applications of Software Agents – WASA 2018

in conjunction with
8th International Conference on Web Intelligence, Mining and Semantics – WIMS 2018

Novi Sad, Serbia, June 25-27, 2018

Submission of papers to WASA: February 7, 2018


Software agent technologies reached a certain level of maturity that allows development of applications spanning from lab prototypes to mature real-life systems, in domains that could have not been imagined before. Furthermore, software agent technologies proved their usefulness in synergy with methods of intelligent computing and artificial intelligence.

The aim of the WASA workshop is to contribute to the advancement of technologies and applications of software agents’ with a special interest in intelligent computing including, but not limited to: reasoning, semantics, pattern recognition, learning and cognition, etc.

The workshop welcomes papers addressing research and experience reports on various applications of software agents. Papers describing finalized research, as well as work-in-progress, are welcome. The topics of the workshop cover, broadly understood, software agent and intelligent technologies connected to applications and experiences in areas like:

  • e-business
  • social networks
  • e-learning
  • grid and cloud computing
  • gaming
  • smart environments
  • e-health
  • multimedia
  • disaster and crisis management
  • virtual organizations
  • simulation
  • energy conservation
  • sustainability and green computing
  • planning and decision making
  • traffic control
  • image and video understanding
  • manufacturing and industrial management
  • etc – this list is not exhaustive

Read more on Call: 8th Workshop on Applications of Software Agents – WASA 2018…

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Paris Syndrome: Photographer Francois Prost explores a replica city in China

[A 2013 ISPR Presence News post described Tianducheng, a replica of Paris in China; now François Prost has created a photo series that pairs images from the ‘real’ and the replica. This interesting (and lightly edited) story is from It’s Nice That. See more of the images in the original story and on the photographer’s website, and find more coverage from CityLab. –Matthew]

Paris Syndrome: photographer Francois Prost explores a replica city in China

Words by Bryony Stone
January 4, 2018

“I will always remember the first time I went to Venice,” photographer François Prost remembers. “I was 23. I arrived there by train on my own, and as soon as I got out of the train station, I had this strange feeling of not knowing if what I saw was real or not. The same thing happened when I went to Rome, to India and to New York. Those places are such full of history, references and fantasy that when you go there for real, it kind of mess up things in your brain: you’re suddenly confronting the reality of the images you have seen. I later learned that this was called Stendhal Syndrome, and that it was a phenomenon happening a lot to Japanese tourists coming to Paris or Florence.”

Stendhal Syndrome, which is also known as hyperkulturemia, or Florence syndrome, is a supposed — although medically unconfirmed — psychosomatic condition which causes symptoms such as fainting or confusion in individuals exposed to remarkable works of art. According to an article published by the BBC, Paris has its very own strand of the condition: roughly 12 Japanese tourists to Paris per year are affected by depression or even a breakdown triggered by the disconnect between their expectations and the reality of the culturally rich, world-famous city.

“Thinking about it,” François muses, “any kind of travelling probably involves this reaction at different type of level, depending on how important and heavy the cultural references of destinations are.” The idea behind Francois’ latest series Paris Syndrome began when the Parisian photographer chanced upon an article by Rosecrans Baldwin in which the American journalist travelled to the 20 or so towns called Paris in the US. “The journalist wanted to understand the origin, the reason, and the influence of this ‘naming’”, François explains. “He also wanted to analyse the connections between the different places and the ‘original’ Paris, and the consistency of the French cliché remaining in the US. So he went to those different Paris and asked people living there about all of this. He soon came to the conclusion that people there were living as they would live anywhere else in USA and weren’t very sensitive about their town’s name.”

Inspired, François set about translating Baldwin’s concept visually. “First, I came up with the idea of photographing every Eiffel Tower in the world, but it became too ambitious financially. Then I remembered this place in China that I’d seen in Romain Gavras’ music video for Jamie XX track Gosh and I thought it would be very interesting to compare actual sites from Paris with sites from a replica of Paris.” Read more on Paris Syndrome: Photographer Francois Prost explores a replica city in China…

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Call: “Re-Examining Cognitive Tools” issue of Australasian Journal of Educational Technology (AJET)

Call for Papers

Australasian Journal of Educational Technology (AJET) Special Issue:
Re-Examining Cognitive Tools: New Developments, New Perspectives, and New Opportunities for Educational Technology Research

Submission deadline: 1 August 2018


Christopher Drew, Senior Lecturer in Education, School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Law, Teesside University, UK

Mark J. W. Lee, Adjunct Senior Lecturer, School of Education, Charles Sturt University, Australia and Visiting Faculty, Entertainment Technology Center, Carnegie Mellon University, USA


Submissions are invited for a forthcoming special issue of AJET to be published in early 2019, entitled Re-examining cognitive tools: New developments, new perspectives, and new opportunities for educational technology research.

The idea of digital technologies as cognitive or ‘mind tools’ was advocated in the 1990s by a number of educational scholars (e.g., Jonassen, 1991, 1994, 1996; Jonassen & Reeves, 1996; Lajoie & Derry, 1993) who argued that computing devices and software could be usefully viewed in terms of their affordances for facilitating cognitive activities in support of learning. Central to the concept is an emphasis on students’ learning with, rather than from or through, the technology as they undertake higher order thinking tasks. This underscores the role technologies can play in enabling student-directed experiences that give rise to deep learning and engagement.

Today, the concept of cognitive tools continues to offer a relevant and important lens through which to understand how learners engage in cognitive activities by leveraging the capabilities and affordances of contemporary technologies (Herrington & Parker, 2013; Hwang, Shi, & Chu, 2011; Lee, Pradhan, & Dalgarno, 2008; Liu, Horton, Toprac, & Yuen, 2011; Wang, Hsu, Reeves, & Coster, 2014; Zap & Code, 2016). However, following Iiyoshi, Hannafin, and Wang (2005, p. 291), it remains the case that “cognitive tool technology offers substantial potential to improve learning, but requires significant study to determine the factors that influence their successful application” (see also Kim, 2012; Kim & Reeves, 2007). Furthermore, over the course of the intervening decades since the concept was first popularised, the educational technology landscape has transformed drastically from one in which desktop computer-assisted learning (CAL) packages and static hypermedia environments were considered state of the art, into one where Internet-connected mobile, wearable, and embedded computing devices proliferate; where students and teachers routinely use online social media for personal as well as educational purposes; and where immersive virtual reality looks to finally be entering the mainstream. With all of the above in mind, this special issue seeks to stimulate further conversation on cognitive tools for learning in post-secondary education, revisiting the concept in light of recent developments and advances not only technologically, but also with respect to learning theory, pedagogy, instructional design, cognitive science, and psychology.

SUGGESTED TOPICS Read more on Call: “Re-Examining Cognitive Tools” issue of Australasian Journal of Educational Technology (AJET)…

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Will virtual reality home schooling become the new normal?

[This story from MustTech News explores an interesting possible impact of the evolution of presence-evoking technologies. –Matthew]

Will Virtual Reality Home Schooling Become the New Normal?

The thought may strike fear into the hearts of teachers, but it’s a trend with real potential for leveling the educational playing field.

By Mustafa ULU
January 17, 2018

I’ve known many teachers, and they’re among the hardest working, least recognized heroes I know. So it’s not without reservation that I pen this article. But doing some research for our futuristic Flex House project recently, I stumbled into a trend that could quickly grow into a social and cultural game changer.

The Rise of VR Education

Like most technology, the potential to build or destroy lies in what we do with it. And virtual reality is especially seductive. It’s immersive, and getting more immersive, raising boggling questions about the very nature of reality. For example, if you and I are sharing a VR experience on the moon, but my body is in Boston and yours is in China, where are we? And by “we”, I mean our individual spark of consciousness. Go even further down the rabbit hole: Does it matter if the moon is the real moon or a virtual moon of some programmer’s imagination?

Let’s leave such fascinating questions aside for a moment, and strap on our “state of the VR education market” headsets.

Educational apps for VR are multiplying rapidly. Self-contained VR headsets now can be had for a shockingly low price. The Spectra headset from Hamilton Buhl, for example, retails for under $50. And so far at least, much of the software is free. Say you’re a parent leaning toward homeschooling. Compare the price of a VR headset with that of textbooks and real-world field trips. There’s no contest.

The Home Front

There’s been a lot of talk about the potential of VR in the classroom, as a teacher’s aide. That’s certainly a viable idea. In that scenario, the teacher plays a role like that of the Magic Schoolbus driver, escorting students on an exciting first-person journey into the human body, or Machu Pichu or Jupiter.

But let’s not overlook homeschoolers. About 4 percent of U.S. kids are homeschooled. My guess is that VR will boost that number significantly. And it’s not because parents want to drive the magic school bus. What will drive it is AI, the availability of programs that essentially run themselves. This is not automatically a good thing. Inevitable? Probably. Key to the outcome will be the context of the apps. Will they teach compassion, acceptance of diversity, creativity, and collaboration—or something more sinister? Read more on Will virtual reality home schooling become the new normal?…

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