ISPR Presence News

Monthly Archives: May 2018

Job: Postdoc Researcher in Multi-User Natural Interaction at Luxembourg Inst of Sci and Tech

Post-Doctoral Researcher in the field of Multi-User Natural Interaction (M/F)
The Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST)
Reference: Itis-2018-007
Fixed term contract, 24 months
Place: Belval

Application deadline: June 15th, 2018


The Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) is appointing a Junior R&T Associate for the RDI Unit “Human Dynamics in Cognitive Environments (HDCE)”, which is part of the “IT for Innovative Services” (ITIS) Department.

The HDCE unit is a multidisciplinary team performing applied research in the Human-Centric computing field, at the interplay between computer and human science. It studies Cyber-Physical Social Systems and develops Ambient Intelligence technologies that leverage connected physical spaces and objects that citizens and workers use to enhance their individual and collective experience or performance.

The successful candidate will join the Multi-User Natural Interaction (INTERACT) research group, which focusses on human-computer and human-to-human interaction in collaborative scenarios. (S)he will be working on the multidisciplinary FNR CORE 2017 project ORBIT (OveRcoming Breakdowns in Teams on Interactive Tabletops) funded by the Luxembourgish National Research Fund, located at the interplay between technology and social sciences. The main objective of ORBIT is to research and implement technology prototypes for a joint problem solving (JPS) activity using an interactive tabletop. The aim is that participants interacting with the table will have the opportunity to develop collaboration methods by jointly overcoming artificially introduced breakdowns. The JPS activity and its technical solution will be designed iteratively and put into practice during workshops in two different contexts: teacher education and professional training of municipal workers.


LIST is looking for a highly motivated researcher that holds a PhD degree in computer science to perform a key role in the ORBIT project. She/he will closely collaborate with the project team to iteratively design, implement, and evaluate the JPS activity for the interactive tangible and touch tabletop. Together with the team members, she/he will develop technology prototypes, co-organise user studies, analyse the collected data, and disseminate the project results as part of peer-reviewed conference and journal publications.

PROFILE Read more on Job: Postdoc Researcher in Multi-User Natural Interaction at Luxembourg Inst of Sci and Tech…

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Peter Rubin’s “Future Presence: How VR Is Changing Human Connection, Intimacy, and the Limits of Ordinary Life”

[Peter Rubin’s new book covers a wide range of interesting presence topics; this interview with the author is from The Verge (where it includes a different image). –Matthew]

Why the real promise of virtual reality is to change human connection

It’s not all about gaming

By Angela Chen
Apr 17, 2018

All the talk about virtual reality revolutionizing the gaming industry is “just first-day stuff,” says VR expert Peter Rubin. Forget 360-degree video and video games, he says. That’s just the beginning, and focusing too much on these uses takes away from the true potential of VR: a social technology to bring us together.

Rubin is a journalist at Wired and the author of Future Presence: How Virtual Reality Is Changing Human Connection, Intimacy, and the Limits of Ordinary Life, out today from HarperCollins. The Verge spoke to Rubin about VR intimacy, its social powers and downsides, and why VR porn is surprisingly quaint.

The interview has been lightly edited for clarity. Read more on Peter Rubin’s “Future Presence: How VR Is Changing Human Connection, Intimacy, and the Limits of Ordinary Life”…

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Call: ENTER 2019: The 26th Annual eTourism Conference

Call for Research Papers

ENTER 2019: The 26th Annual eTourism Conference
“eTourism: Towards a Sustainable Digital Society”
Hilton Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus
30 January – 1 February, 2019

(Proceedings published by Springer – Journal special issue in JITT, Springer)

Submissions deadline: September 3, 2018

Every year, hundreds of tourism academics, industry representatives, government officials, students and entrepreneurs come together to share, discuss and challenge latest developments in information technology in the fields of travel, tourism and hospitality. With the theme “eTourism: Towards a Sustainable Digital Society” the ENTER 2019 conference will focus on exploring the ways in which technology and tourism together can make our society more sustainable. We call for latest research and case studies on emergent and cutting-edge information and communication technology concepts, applications, and business models to be shared in the conference.

Organized by the International Federation for Information Technology and Travel & Tourism (IFITT), the ENTER 2019 conference provides a unique venue for various tourism stakeholders to understand the application of information and communication technologies to travel and tourism, with a special focus on how eTourism can contribute to the sustainability of the society. The ENTER 2019 research track is divided into three major topics that all contribute to our capabilities in building a sustainable digital society: Tourism Business and Technology, Governance, Sustainability and Education, and Computer Science and Information Systems.

Issues to be covered at the conference include, but are not limited, to the following areas in the travel, tourism and hospitality context:

Tourism Business and Technology:

  • ICT and Tourism Experience
  • Augmented and Virtual Reality
  • Platform Economy
  • Website Design and Evaluation
  • Digital Marketing and Social Media Strategies
  • Digital Distribution and Social Selling
  • Social Networking, Social Media and Social Inspiration
  • Gaming and Gamification
  • ICT Adoption and Value Creation
  • E-strategy and eBusiness Models
  • ICT for Innovation and Service Design
  • Digital Nomads
  • Consumer Behaviour in Digital Space
  • Robotics and Automation in Travel and Hospitality

Governance, Sustainability and Education:

  • ICT for Regional Development and Sustainability
  • Advanced Distribution Systems and Strategies, Dynamic Packaging
  • ICT-enabled Partnership and Collaboration
  • E-Learning, Life-long Learning and MOOCs
  • E-Government and Public Policy in Tourism
  • Digital Divide and Socio-economic Development
  • Privacy and Internet Security
  • Legal, Ethical and Social Aspects of ICT

Computer Science and Information Systems:

  • Big Data and Large-scale Systems
  • Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Deep Learning
  • Data Mining, Analytics and Measurement
  • Text and Concept Mining, Sentiment Analysis
  • Recommender Systems and Personalization
  • User Modeling and Decision Making
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Emotions and Personality-based Systems
  • Social Network Analysis
  • Location-based Services and Context-Aware Systems
  • Mobile Services and Wearable Technologies
  • Semantic Web, Tourism Ontologies and Linked Open Data
  • Data Standards and Data Integration
  • Travel Information Search and Retrieval
  • Internet-of-Things
  • Smart Destinations
  • Travel Chatbots
  • Blockchain and Other Emerging Technologies


The conference brings together the research community and industry, and it is organized in three streams, namely industry track, destinations track, and research track. If you are representing tourism industry or destinations, please see suitable calls for presentations at The conference also features six to eight world-class keynote speakers discussing the most pressing topics within eTourism. Read more on Call: ENTER 2019: The 26th Annual eTourism Conference…

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Presence for good: Changing your race in virtual reality

[I somehow missed this important story from last fall about a project that uses presence to help people experience the microaggressions that result from implicit bias, “quiet, coded moments of racial bias that shape [a black person’s] worldview and sense of justice over time.” The story is from Engadget, where it includes more images. For more information on the project, created through a collaboration with our colleague Jeremy Bailenson, see the 1000 Cut Journey page on the Tribeca Immersive website and coverage in VR World that includes Courtney Cogburn’s TED Talk. For discussions of the broader potential of VR and presence to address social and political issues, see Wired’s coverage of this and other projects at Tribeca and a new blog post at BigThink. –Matthew]


Changing your race in virtual reality

And how it reveals the hidden structure of racism.

Chris Ip
September 28, 2017

John Howard Griffin was perhaps the best-known race swapper of the 20th century.

In 1959, the white Texan writer went undercover as a black man in the Jim Crow South. Griffin spent days under a tanning lamp, took drugs for the skin pigmentation disorder vitiligo and shaved his head but otherwise spoke and acted exactly as he had as a white man. In assignments for the African-American magazine Sepia and later his acclaimed book Black Like Me, Griffin aimed to convey to white Americans what it was like to be the other. This was before Rachel Dolezal, Iggy Azalea or any of the Kardashians; blackness for him was not a cultural adornment but a target on his back.

After his transformation, Griffin was taken aback by how quickly his sense of self adjusted to a new identity. Peering in a New Orleans bathroom mirror for the first time after his temporary metamorphosis, he reflected:

“All traces of the John Griffin I had been were wiped from existence. Even the senses underwent a change so profound it filled me with distress. I looked into the mirror and saw nothing of the white John Griffin’s past. No, the reflections led back to Africa, back to the shanty and the ghetto, back to the fruitless struggles against the mark of blackness. Suddenly, almost with no mental preparation, no advance hint, it became clear and permeated my whole being.”

People around him flipped their behavior just as starkly. Black acquaintances who knew he was white lapsed into discussing “our struggle” with him; white women on the bus shot “hate stares” his way.

Through six weeks of travelling through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, Griffin conveyed to white people a truth that African-Americans had been saying for a long time and still holds today: People of different races in the US inhabit different realities.

Everything from police interactions to job applications can be experienced differently according to your race. As the comedian Dave Chappelle said in an interview earlier this summer, “If you had some glasses that someone could put on just to see the world how you saw the world, it’d be probably fucking terrifying.”

Yet as Chappelle made those comments in a New York radio studio, it turned out Courtney Cogburn was working on something like that just uptown.

An assistant professor of social work at Columbia University, Cogburn and her team have been creating a project named 1000 Cut Journey in collaboration with Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, which is led by Jeremy Bailenson. Showcasing today for the first time at the Brown Institute for Media Innovation, the experience uses an HTC Vive virtual reality headset to put users in the body of a black man, Michael Sterling, at four different stages of his life. Titled in reference to the gruesome torture method of death by a thousand cuts, each scene in the experience is a composite of real-life stories — garnered from the media and personal accounts — that reveals the myriad ways race infiltrates one’s quotidian experiences.

Essentially, it’s a first-person simulation of the racism faced by a black male, for non-blacks to experience temporarily. Although tamer than Griffin’s gruelling social experiment from half a century ago, its aims are similar — except it’s contained entirely within a headset. Read more on Presence for good: Changing your race in virtual reality…

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Call: “HCI Perspectives on Industry 4.0” issue of Interaction Design and Architecture(s) Journal (IxD&A)

Call for Papers

Special Issue on
Human Computer Interaction Perspectives on Industry 4.0
to be published at the
Interaction Design and Architecture(s) Journal (IxD&A)
(ISSN 1826-9745, eISSN 2283-2998)

IxD&A implements the Gold Open Access (OA) road to its contents with no charge to the authors (submission & paper processing)


Guest Editors:

  • Ralf Klamma, RWTH Aachen University, Germany
  • Viktoria Pammer-Schindler, Graz University of Technology, Austria
  • Mario Aehnelt, Fraunhofer IGD, Rostock, Germany


  • Deadline: May 28, 2018 (extended)
  • Notification to the authors: June 30, 2018
  • Camera ready paper: July 20, 2018
  • Publication of the special issue: beginning of August, 2018


Information technologies in the form of networked things, automation, data analytics and artificial intelligence allow for evolutionary and revolutionary progress in industry (Industry 4.0). On this focus day we connect technical and human factors aspects by discussing deep learning as one of the game changing algorithms, methods and technologies for Industry 4.0, and the impact on how industrial work will be conducted in the future.


The seven main scientific topics considered in this special issue are:

  • Cognitive support and cognitive automation for human understanding and decision processes
  • Visual support by augmented or virtual reality for complex data or knowledge-intensive work tasks
  • Smart learning or situated learning for a professional and self-regulated work life in production and assembly
  • Data usability for workers supporting intuitive handling of complex and heterogeneous data
  • Division of work between humans and machines in the Industry 4.0. What are the capabilities of computers? What should be done by humans? What are the unique competences of humans and machines?
  • Mobile assistance for supporting human on the shop floor. Potentials, challenges and visions for flexible, mobile assistance systems
  • Experience of workers with new technologies in smart industrial environments

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES AND PROCEDURE Read more on Call: “HCI Perspectives on Industry 4.0” issue of Interaction Design and Architecture(s) Journal (IxD&A)…

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Andrea Stevenson Won researching use of VR and presence to relieve pain

[This is a too-short story about our colleague Andrea Stevenson Won and some of her fascinating and valuable work related to presence. It’s from the Cornell Chronicle, where it includes two more images. For more information see the Virtual Embodiment Lab website and her page on the Cornell website. –Matthew]

[Image: Andrea Stevenson Won, assistant professor in the Department of Communication at Cornell University, in the Virtual Embodiment Lab. Credit: Sasha Israel/Provided]

Relieving real pain in a virtual world

By Jennifer Savran Kelly
April 30, 2018

We’ve all enjoyed losing ourselves in a good book, but what if the story could change our lived experience? It may sound like science fiction, yet Andrea Stevenson Won uses a similar concept to study how immersing people in virtual reality (VR) can treat real-life pain.

VR offers tantalizing hope as a way to relieve the anguish of physical and mental stress. For those dealing with acute pain, it can form a distraction for the mind. And for those suffering from trauma, it helps relive triggering situations in a supported way.

Won, assistant professor of communication in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, directs the Virtual Embodiment Lab, exploring how physical and social interactions in mediated environments affect people’s perceptions. “I’m interested in the idea that you can transform your movements – see yourself doing something other than what you’re actually doing in real life – and this could help relieve chronic and acute pain,” says Won. Read more on Andrea Stevenson Won researching use of VR and presence to relieve pain…

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Call: DigitalHERITAGE 2018 – New Realities: Authenticity & Automation in the Digital Age

CALL FOR PROPOSALS (Papers, Exhibits, Workshops, Tutorials, Panels)

DigitalHERITAGE 2018
New Realities: Authenticity & Automation in the Digital Age
3rd International Congress & Expo
26-30 October 2018, San Francisco, USA

  • A federated event with multiple tracks including VR, AR, tangible and embodied interaction
  • Submission deadline: 20th May 2018
  • Proceedings to be published with IEEE and Expo Proceedings with Elsevier open access


The leading global event on digital technology for documenting, conserving and sharing heritage-from monuments & sites, to museums & collections, libraries & archives, and intangible traditions & languages. Featuring keynotes from cultural leaders & digital pioneers, a tech expo, research demos, scientific papers, policy panels, best practice case studies, hands-on workshops, plus tours of technology and heritage labs.


Culture and technology fields from computer science to cultural preservation, archaeology to art, architecture to archiving, museums to musicology, history to humanities, computer games to computer graphics, digital surveying to social science, libraries to language, and many more.


Some 750+ leaders from across the 4 heritage domains together with industry to explore, discuss & debate the potentials and pitfalls of digital for culture. Heritage and digital professionals, from educators to technologists, researchers to policy makers, executives to curators, archivists to scientists, and more.


For the first time outside Europe following the 1st Congress in Marseille in 2013 and 2nd in Granada in 2015, our 2018 event will be in the heart of the digital revolution on the waterfront in San Francisco, with special activities at the De Young Museum and aboard the historic Liberty ship SS Jeremiah O’Brien.


26-30 October 2018 Workshop,
Papers & Expo Proposals Due online: 20 May 2018
Notification: 15 July 2018
Camera Ready Deadline: 1 September 2018

SUBMISSIONS: Read more on Call: DigitalHERITAGE 2018 – New Realities: Authenticity & Automation in the Digital Age…

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Google’s new voice bot sounds, um, maybe too real

[The demonstration of Google’s AI-powered virtual assistant Duplex at the Google I/O conference is both extremely impressive and, to many, worrisome. This story from NPR describes some of the concerns about the ethics of such effective presence illusions; for more on the ethics and a 4:25 minute video of the demonstration see coverage in The Verge, and for an expanded discussion that includes practical concerns, see coverage in Motherboard. –Matthew]

[Image: Google CEO Sundar Pichai demonstrated new AI technology that can use human-like speech to carry on phone conversations at the Google I/O 2018 Conference on Tuesday in Mountain View, Calif. Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]

Google’s New Voice Bot Sounds, Um, Maybe Too Real

Laurel Wamsley
May 9, 2018

On the first day of Google’s annual conference for developers, the company showed off a robot with a voice so convincingly human that it was able to call a salon and book a haircut – never revealing that it wasn’t a real person making the call.

CEO Sundar Pichai demonstrated the new AI technology on Tuesday at the Google I/O conference, playing audio of a female-voiced bot speaking with a receptionist over the phone, and then a male-voiced bot making a restaurant reservation. The bot peppers its speech with “um”, “uh”, and “mmm hmm” in order to imitate the tics and rhythms of human speech.

The new technology is called Duplex, and its aim is to carry out natural-sounding conversations so that Google’s virtual assistant can accomplish tasks over the phone on users’ behalf. But the demo showed a product so real-seeming that it’s also raising concerns about AI that can purposely fool humans into thinking they’re interacting with a real person. Read more on Google’s new voice bot sounds, um, maybe too real…

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Call: ICAT-EGVE 2018 – Artificial Reality and Telexistence + Virtual Environments

Call For Papers

ICAT-EGVE 2018 – Artificial Reality and Telexistence + Virtual Environments
November 07 – 09
Limassol, Cyprus

Paper submission deadline: 20 July 2018

The ICAT-EGVE 2018 conference will be held November 7th – 9th in Limassol, Cyprus. This is the merger of the 28th International Conference on Artificial Reality and Telexistence (ICAT 2018) and the 23rd Eurographics Symposium on Virtual Environments (EGVE 2018).

Together these are two of the oldest international conferences in the world on Artificial Reality and Virtual Environments, and provide a unique opportunity for researchers, developers, and users to share their experience and knowledge of Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality and 3D User Interfaces. This is a great opportunity to renew old friendships, make new ones, and experience all that Cyprus has to offer. Read more on Call: ICAT-EGVE 2018 – Artificial Reality and Telexistence + Virtual Environments…

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Google’s first VR Doodle honors French Illusionist director Georges Melies

[Google’s May 3, 2018 360-degree virtual reality Doodle is another small landmark in the history of presence. This story is from Adweek, where it includes two videos; for in-depth information see coverage in Engadget and Google itself (where the page includes a Making Of… video). The Washington Post elegantly describes the project this way: “Google has melded the future of the past, technologically and narratively, with the future of the now.” –Matthew]

Google’s First Virtual Reality Doodle Honors a French Illusionist Director

An homage to the ‘father of special effects’ Georges Méliès

By Marty Swant
May 3, 2018

Google just added another dimension to its daily Doodle.

In its first 360-degree virtual reality Doodle, Google’s fitting homage to the format honors the “father of special effects,” French illusionist and filmmaker Georges Méliès. Méliès—who died in 1938—lived long the concept of VR, which has gained traction in the past couple of years with companies like Google and rival Facebook investing heavily in hardware and content. (Earlier this week, Facebook released Oculus Go, a VR headset that, unlike Google’s View, doesn’t require a smartphone for use.)

Created with Google’s Spotlight Stories team and Nexus Studios, the two-minute-long Doodle is based on Méliès’s films, including À la conquête du pole (The Conquest of the Pole) and Le Voyage dans la Lune (A Trip to the Moon). It immerses a viewer in a circus-like setting filled with animated characters illustrated in the visionary director’s image. Soon, the room is underwater before transforming into an elaborate ballroom. Along the way, the characters replicate Méliès’ famous tricks in illustrated form.

While the experience might not look like much if you’re just scrolling around in all directions on a desktop, wearing a VR headset allows for full effect.

“The magic of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg today could not have been possible without Méliès’ development of techniques across theatrical machinery, pyrotechnics, optical effects, horizontal and vertical dropouts, camera stops, crossfades, overprints, conjuring, editing effects and color effects on film,” Laurent Manonni, director of heritage at The Cinémathèque Française, wrote in Google’s blog post about the Doodle. Read more on Google’s first VR Doodle honors French Illusionist director Georges Melies…

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  • Find Researchers

    Use the links below to find researchers listed alphabetically by the first letter of their last name.

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