ISPR Presence News

Monthly Archives: May 2018

Call: Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction (TEI) 2019

Call for Participation

ACM International Conference on Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction (TEI) 2019
17-20 March 2019
Tempe, Arizona

Paper submission deadline: August 8, 2018

TEI 2019 is the 13th annual conference dedicated to presenting the latest results in tangible, embedded, and embodied interaction. It will be held 17th to 20th March, 2019, and is hosted by Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, USA. The conference will be sponsored by ACM SIGCHI and Arizona State University.

The TEI conference has gained substantial visibility and activity over the past decade. It brings together researchers, practitioners, businesses, artists, designers and students from various disciplines, including engineering, interaction design, product design, computer science, and the arts. Application areas are diverse, including: human-augmentation, flexible and shape changing displays, haptic interaction, interactive surfaces, public art and performance, interactive robotics, games, learning, planning, automotive, fashion, furniture, architectural design, music and sound creation, as well as productivity and creativity tools in domains ranging from scientific exploration to non-linear narrative.

The intimate size of this single-track conference provides a unique forum for exchanging ideas and presenting innovative work through talks, demonstrations, posters, art installations and performances, and participating in hands-on studio/workshops. We invite submissions from all of these perspectives: theoretical, conceptual, technical, applied, or artistic.


Over the past few years, TEI research has increasingly embraced hybridity, whether through material explorations of composites such as bioelectronic, on-body, or active materials, or theoretical inquiries into socio-technical systems as hybrid assemblies. Not confined to a single approach, we have seen advancements in new materials—such as conductive and thermochromic inks, OLEDs, biosensors, or bioelectronics—which have helped to embed computing in the physical world. Simultaneously, comparisons between tangible computing and crafting traditions—such as crocheting or weaving—have served to destabilize assumptions about ‘low’ and ‘high’ technologies, the cultures that surround them, and even which communities have been able to participate in the discussion. These hybrid, materially-oriented approaches are radically changing our understanding of what tangible interaction looks and feels like. The theme of Hybrid Materials will continue to catalyze this exciting trend of tangible interaction research at the intersection of social, technical, biological, and artistic systems. Read more on Call: Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction (TEI) 2019…

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Universities should immerse themselves in virtual reality

[Although it doesn’t cover specific steps to bring about institutional change, this opinion column from Times Higher Education makes the compelling argument for the incorporation of presence-evoking technologies in higher education. –Matthew]

[Image: CAVE2 at the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Source: UIC]

Universities should immerse themselves in virtual reality

Embracing immersive content would aid public engagement and bring research and teaching closer together, argue Vincent Tong, Sam Smidt and Matilda Katan

May 3, 2018
By Vincent Tong, Sam Smidt and Matilda Katan

While universities bill themselves as pioneers of technology, they are behind the curve when it comes to its application to their core business.

The use of virtual learning environments is now widespread, but there has been little engagement by the wider higher education community with the growing number of relevant applications of immersive technologies – which encompass augmented, mixed and virtual reality (AMVR).

Perhaps as a result, there has been a distinct lack of strategic direction from most universities on the use of these innovations. To be fair, it takes time for any new technology to gain popularity, and working with AMVR requires users to acquire a certain level of proficiency in creating engaging content.

But failure to engage with AMVR amounts to a wasted opportunity. The effectiveness and wide applicability of this technology in academia has been established in published studies. That message needs to be articulated more widely and compellingly to university leaders and academics. Read more on Universities should immerse themselves in virtual reality…

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Call: The Unnatural World: Investigating Meaning and Modernity

Call for Papers

The Unnatural World:
Investigating Meaning and Modernity
7th December 2018
Department of Philosophy, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, Ireland

Keynote speaker: Prof. Tanja Staehler (University of Sussex)

Submission deadline: 21st September 2018

Philosophy is continuously establishing the significance of the lifeworld, that is, the everyday, ordinary world of meaning in which we live. Given the atrocities of the 20th century, along with the rise of extensive technical apparatuses, and even the threat of ecological collapse, this task has never been so crucial. It seems that we are living an increasingly unnatural way of life where traditional structures of meaning are continuously undermined, leaving one to either buttress old values with new structures, find new meaning altogether, or simply live a nihilistic life.

This conference aims to explore challenges to establishing stable structures of meaning and values in today’s world, a world in which the overabundance of technology, for example, is alienating people from what it really means to live in a natural world. What challenges does this pose to philosophy? Perhaps our current condition leaves us on the verge of new practices and/or domains of knowledge, inviting us to think through what it means to be unnatural, or simply what it means to employ non-naturalistic techniques and methodologies. It is unclear to what extent this development has led to progress on the question of what a purposeful human life is with all its ethical, normative or axiological challenges. Does technology emancipate the human being from a natural world or traditional order, or does it constrain and deform meaning and value? Perhaps the natural world is an obsolete concept and the future lies in the unnatural.

We welcome submissions on any of the following topics:

  • Technology and violence,
  • The body and cybernetics,
  • The ethics of big data processing,
  • Technology and ecological collapse,
  • Alienation of man from nature,
  • History of philosophical treatment of nature,
  • Phenomenology of the lifeworld and the naturalistic/theoretical attitude,
  • Intergenerational ethics,
  • Political philosophy,
  • Epistemology,
  • Post-humanism,
  • Cybernetics and (intersectional) feminism.

We invite submissions suitable for a 30 mins presentation, with an additional 15 mins discussion time. Read more on Call: The Unnatural World: Investigating Meaning and Modernity…

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A new breed of immersive art experiences offers a gateway to alternative realities

[This story from Artsy describes the trend towards technology-based experiential art and attractions, focusing on Meow Wolf’s installation in Santa Fe (coming soon to Denver, Las Vegas and elsewhere); the company’s CEO “envisions a future where the lines between things like art, theme parks, role-playing games, and augmented reality will be blurred. The emerging term, he explains, is ‘alternative reality.’” The original story includes a large photo gallery, and for more information see Meow Wolf’s website and a 2:20 minute video on YouTube (which will lead you to other videos). Two related news stories from the last few weeks may be of interest too: “Virtual reality and blockchain are taking art to the next level” in the South China Morning Post and “Location-based virtual reality is increasing its footprint in the U.S.” in TechCrunch. –Matthew]

[Image: Installation view of Meow Wolf, House of Eternal Return, Santa Fe. Courtesy of]

A New Breed of Immersive Art Experiences Offers a Gateway to Alternative Realities

By Casey Lesser
May 21, 2018

In mid-May in New York, artist-turned-entrepreneur Vince Kadlubek took the stage at Adobe’s 99U Conference to discuss the potential for creativity to transform reality. He started by showing a series of mundane images of an average American suburb—a freeway, a house, a classroom, a partly cloudy sky—then cut to a family watching television together, and another family in a movie theater.

Kadlubek explained that while TV shows and movies once offered an escape from reality, over time, they’ve become just another part of the everyday. At present, he said, we need something more to satiate the human desire for what he calls “mind-blowing experiences.” And artists can lead the way.

Kadlubek is the CEO of Meow Wolf, an artist collective and production company that creates large-scale, interactive, multimedia installations. The for-profit company currently operates one meandering, art-filled venue—packed with a Victorian-era house and trippy passageways—known as The House of Eternal Return in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It brought in $6 million in revenue during its first year; Meow Wolf has plans to build two more unique spaces in the next two years, in Las Vegas and Denver.

This momentum speaks to the broad appetite for experiential art at present—from immersive exhibitions, like those of Yayoi Kusama, to Instagram-friendly “museums,” like the Museum of Ice Cream—particularly among experience-hungry, selfie-loving millennials. Meow Wolf, however, aims to offer more than just photo ops. Rather, Kadlubek and his colleagues are working towards a future where high-quality, thought-provoking art environments are the norm. Read more on A new breed of immersive art experiences offers a gateway to alternative realities…

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Call: DLI 2018 – 3rd EAI International Conference on Design, Learning & Innovation

Call for Participation

DLI 2018 – 3rd EAI International Conference on Design, Learning & Innovation
October 24-26, 2018
Braga, Portugal

Keynote Speaker: Yvonne Rogers, director of the Interaction Centre at UCL (UCLIC).

Submission deadline: July 1st, 2018

The 3rd EAI International Conference on Design, Learning & Innovation, DLI 2018 will take place in Braga, a UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts, October 24 to 26, 2018 at the University of Minho.

We invite contributors to submit high-quality original research in the form of Full Papers, Work in Progress (Posters), Workshops, and Panel/Symposium proposals addressing research in design learning and innovation towards creating, shaping, incubating playful learning designs, tools, technologies, experiences, processes and outcomes.

TOPICS Read more on Call: DLI 2018 – 3rd EAI International Conference on Design, Learning & Innovation…

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New telepresence tech connects veterinarian team members and pet owners

[Thank you to everyone who joined us for PRESENCE 2018 last week in Prague, either in person or virtually. Special thanks to organizing committee members SongYi (Grace) Lee, Kun Xu, Hocheol Yang and Jihyun Kim. For me at least, it was another rewarding, intellectually invigorating and very enjoyable combination of presentations and informal discussions about different aspects of a fascinating topic. In our concluding session we identified a variety of challenges we face as presence scholars and we’ll be following up soon on some of the steps we developed towards addressing them.

Read more on New telepresence tech connects veterinarian team members and pet owners…

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How will virtual reality change your mind’s consciousness?

[One last news item before ISPR Presence News takes a break for a few weeks: This piece from Big Think considers the role of VR and other presence-evoking technologies in defining, and controlling, our personal reality; the original includes more images and three videos. –Matthew]

[Image: You are who you are because of your environment. What happens in a virtual world? Credit: Shutterstock/Big Think]

How will virtual reality change your mind’s consciousness?

May 16, 2018
by Derek Beres

Over a half-century ago, Canadian professor and philosopher Marshall McLuhan wrote one of the most influential books on media theory ever. Understanding Media introduced a number of ideas and phrases that now seem commonplace: “hot” and “cool” media; global village; and, of course, “the medium is the message.” He is credited with predicting the emergence of the World Wide Web three decades before its invention.

In McLuhan’s understanding, the terms medium, technology, and media are interchangeable. The subtitle of his book, The Extensions of Man, posits that any technology (and therefore medium and media) is effectively an extension of our bodies and consciousness. When I’m driving, the car is an extension of myself: its boundaries are now my own; my awareness must now take its full size and power into consideration.

This also includes smartphones, in which people walk around unaware of their environmental boundaries because their consciousness has been subsumed by a device. Where the technology ends and “I” begin becomes hazy. According to McLuhan, there is essentially no such distance. The content of the medium is not nearly as important as the medium itself, for it is the medium that changes societies, much more so than any specific content.

In some ways, the content can even distract us. Facebook is a fitting example. As McLuhan writes, “the ‘content’ of any medium blinds us to the character of the medium.” We might assume technology is always progressing, but that’s not necessarily the case. Notice the other term he assigns to our creations:

Any invention or technology is an extension or self-amputation of our physical bodies, and such extension also demands new ratios or new equilibriums among the other organs and extensions of the body.

GPS is a wonderful technology, but it comes at a cost. Its long-term effect on our memory and visual systems force us to confront its true value. Studies have shown that the more you use maps, the smaller your hippocampus, your brain’s memory center. You are now the only landmark, which is quite useless if you have no idea where you actually are. Don’t misunderstand: using GPS to find your way around new territories is a wonderful advancement. Continual reliance on it in the same neighborhoods is another story.

You are already a cyborg

Technologies don’t necessarily make us useless, however. If anything, the opposite: philosopher and cognitive scientist Andy Clark believes we are all cyborgs, “in the most natural way.” We are what we are as animals thanks to our environment and the technologies we’ve created to engage with it. This is as true for the Uber driver and GPS as the wheelchair-bound and ramps. Our technologies define our realities, as Clark expressed when co-writing a famous paper (with Australian philosopher Dave Chalmers) that expanded the definition of “mind” beyond the body.

While Clark appears more optimistic about mediums than McLuhan, he recognizes the dark side of, say, algorithms, and the invasion of privacy. Yet overall he feels that such “radical honesty” promotes liberalism and democracy—a theory being tested in the age of social media. Essentially, he’s saying you should be able to defend the reality you’ve constructed. The problem is, at least in digital space, we’re not always engaging with an environment whose boundaries we understand, making us vulnerable in a way we’ve never quite experienced.

Clark’s theory of “extended mind” and McLuhan’s media extensions remind us that consciousness is not confined to the body. There need not be any mysticism to this. As journalist Michael Pollan argues in his forthcoming book on psychedelics, if any of us were to experience another person’s mental state it would likely feel like a psychedelic trip, given how foreign the sensations and observations would be.

How will virtual reality change this? Read more on How will virtual reality change your mind’s consciousness?…

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ISPR Presence News publication schedule

As many of us gather in Prague for the PRESENCE 2018 conference, ISPR Presence News will be taking a break, but it will return on Tuesday May 29, 2018. For more presence news and other materials, join the free ISPR Presence Community on Facebook. “See you” in a few weeks…

Read more on ISPR Presence News publication schedule…

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Call: ‘Gamification’ at 52nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS)

Call for Papers


Part of the “Decision Analytics, Mobile Services, and Service Science” track
52nd annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences HICSS
January 8-11, 2019
Grand Waile, Maui

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 8-11: Conference
FEBRUARY 15, 2019 (date subject to change) (Optional) Submission deadline for extended versions of selected papers for Gamification special issue in the Electronic Commerce Research and Applications

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).

Following these developments, 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 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 to afford similar experiences to games, and consequently, to attempt to create value and affect people’s behaviour. (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).

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. The media ecosystem has also experienced a degree of ludic transformation, with user generated content becoming an important competitor for large media corporations. This transformation has led to the development of several emerging phenomena such as streaming (37) and esports (19,38), that have 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.

Extended versions of selected papers will be invited to be submitted to a Gamification special issue in the Electronic Commerce Research and Applications journal.

Relevant topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Users: e.g. Engagement, experience, motivations, user/player types
  • Education: e.g. Serious games, game-based learning, simulation games
  • Media: e.g. eSports, streaming
  • Commerce: e.g. Business models, free-to-play, gamification as marketing, adoption
  • Work: e.g. Organizational gamification, gameful work, gamification in leadership
  • Technology: e.g. VR, AR, MR, Internet of Things
  • Toys & playfulness: e.g. Toys, playfulness, Internet of Toys
  • Health: e.g. Quantified self, games for health, health benefits
  • Theories/concepts/methods: Contributions to science around gamification

Read more on Call: ‘Gamification’ at 52nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS)…

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How Villanova baseball is using presence to improve at the plate

[A Villanova University professor is using a CAVE to evoke spatial presence and help baseball players train; this story is from, where it includes two more images. –Matthew]

[Image: A Villanova professor developed a program to help Wildcat players improve at the plate. Sam Margulis, a freshman outfielder, demonstrates the virtual reality setup located in “The Cave” in a campus library. Credit: Michael Bryant / Staff Photographer.]

Taking a swing at virtual reality: How Villanova baseball is using tech to improve at the plate

Updated: May 10, 2018
by Frank Fitzpatrick, Staff Writer

Heads down, hoods up, hands buried deeply in pockets, Villanova students hustled through an icy wind that lashed their busy campus. Though it was a sunny mid-April morning, it clearly was not baseball weather.

But inside Falvey Memorial Library, in a hushed, confined, first-floor corner that, while heated, wasn’t much larger than a utility closet, a couple of Villanova ballplayers were taking batting practice, 2018 style.

Batting practice is a misnomer. There were no bats or balls. Instead, the Wildcats players wore virtual-reality headsets and stood in the batter’s box of a 3D ballpark that had been projected onto the library’s walls, trying to distinguish Justin Verlander’s fastball from his slider.

This virtual BP setup — called The Cave, which stands for cave automatic virtual environment — in a technology-laden nook of the library is meant not to enhance a hitter’s contact or swing, but rather to develop pitch and location recognition. It was devised by Mark Jupina, a baseball-loving assistant professor in the electrical and computer engineering department at Villanova.

“This has been an intersection of all my different interests and skills,” said Jupina, a Central Pennsylvania native. “I played high school and Legion ball and coached my sons over the years. Here, I worked with [Wildcats coach Kevin Mulvey] to get a better understanding of what he and his players would like to see in terms of training aspects.”

The Wildcats team, loaded with freshmen and sophomores and struggling through an 8-32 season that likely will conclude later this month, only recently began using the system.

Armed with sensors, infrared cameras, a projector, software and MLB analytics, Jupina is able to reproduce any pitch by any big-league pitcher and even augment its speed. He also hopes to incorporate the visual backgrounds of every Big East ballpark, making the batter’s virtual experience even more realistic. Read more on How Villanova baseball is using presence to improve at the plate…

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