ISPR Presence News

Monthly Archives: May 2018

Call: 17th International Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Multimedia (MUM 2018)

Call for Papers

Mobile and Ubiquitous Multimedia 2018
Nov 25 – Nov 28, 2018
Cairo, Egypt

Submission deadline: August 17, 2018

MUM 2018, the 17th International Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Multimedia will be held in Cairo, Egypt, November 25th – 28th. MUM is a distinguished and inter-disciplinary forum for advances in research of mobile and ubiquitous multimedia systems, applications, and services. At MUM, academics and practitioners gather to discuss challenges and achievements in this broad field from diverse perspectives: interaction techniques, user research, system development, software solutions, devices and hardware, etc. This year’s conference continues the tradition of innovation and excellence established by previous MUM conferences. In addition to the peer-reviewed accepted papers, the conference program will include keynote presentations, posters, demos, videos and a doctoral school. Accepted full and short papers, as well as poster, demo, video and doctoral school submissions will be included in the conference proceedings and published in ACM digital library. MUM is organised in-cooperation with ACM SIGCHI.


Submission deadline:  August 17, 2018 (23:59 UTC-11)
Notification of review decisions:  October 1, 2018
Camera ready deadline:  October 8, 2018
Conference dates:  November 25 – November 28, 2018
Online submission:  EasyChair ( Read more on Call: 17th International Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Multimedia (MUM 2018)…

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Survey: 77% of VR users want more social engagement

[The headline is just one of the interesting results in this story from Forbes, where the original includes more charts. –Matthew]

VR Needs More Social: 77% of Virtual Reality Users Want More Social Engagement

John Koetsier
April 30, 2018

77% of people who use virtual reality want more social engagement in VR, according to a new survey of 4,217 consumers. And while many of their headsets don’t get regular use, most intend to use their VR headsets more in the future.

“Led by Generation Z and Millennials, 77% of respondents who own a VR headset say they are interested in interacting socially with other people in VR,” says Greenlight Insights, which ran the survey. “Playing games, watching videos and video communications ranked highest as social VR activities of interest.” Read more on Survey: 77% of VR users want more social engagement…

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Rolling Line brings train sets into world of virtual reality

[As a rail fan I find this review of a new model train simulator for virtual reality particularly interesting; the more inclusive term “Trainset VR” is also an intriguing presence concept. The review is from UploadVR, where it includes different images and a video trailer; more information including images and a video is available in coverage by –Matthew]

Rolling Line Review: A Delightful Model Railway Simulator

By Jamie Feltham
May 4th, 2018

Platforms: Rift (Reviewed), Vive

Trainset VR is a term I’ve used to describe some of my favorite VR titles. By that, I’m referring to experiences that make you a giant, towering over miniature dioramas that are a delight to explore from your god-like perspective. Apps like Google Earth, Wayward Sky and Giant Cop all carry an undying sense of fascination as you lean down into their model worlds. When it comes to Rolling Line, though, trainset VR means exactly that; it’s a game all about building virtual railways with all of that novel charm still intact.

Rolling Line is the latest effort from Gaugepunk Games, the indie studio behind Frontier VR, a love letter to the wilderness, and the cave-exploring Echo Grotto. On the surface it’s entirely different from those two apps, but tonally it’s strikingly similar, creating an inviting environment that lets players set their own pace and giving them plenty of reason to linger in its peaceful world for longer than you might expect.

Simply put, Rolling Line lets you make the model railways you’ve always dreamed of. You find yourself in a series of rooms, each with a set of tables. Either you can load up pre-made environments and spend some time exploring more of Gaugepunk’s typically scenic landscapes, or you can dive into an expansive customization system to make your own sets. There’s no real objective or goal to reach; it’s as if you’d just bought a bottomless toybox to entertain yourself with. Read more on Rolling Line brings train sets into world of virtual reality…

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ISPR News: PRESENCE 2018 Conference Program

[We’re looking forward to seeing many of you in Prague in two weeks for PRESENCE 2018; the conference program, which emphasizes collective knowledge development through not just presentations but informal discussions, some over good food and during sightseeing (!), is below.

It’s not too late to join us, in person or virtually: Online registration is available via EventBrite and if you can’t be in Prague, join us for a (free) ‘virtual’ discussion about presence via telepresence tech.

If you’re already registered, please complete the Attendee Sightseeing and Meal Choices Survey before May 11. 

All questions welcome…


CONFERENCE PROGRAM (printer-friendly PDF)

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


PROGRAM OVERVIEW (Details follow below)

Sunday, May 20: Sightseeing! (Optional)

Presence 2018 conference plans include an optional group sightseeing trip around Prague on May 20th. The schedule will start at 10:30 am at St. Nicholas Church near Prague Castle.

Tentative Itinerary: St. Nicholas Church – Charles Bridge – Lunch – Clementinum (Guided Tour) – Astronomical clock tower – Havel Market (Market closes at 6:30)

Time Plan
09:30 am 10:00 am Meet at St. Nicholas Church
10:00 am 11:00 am Visit St. Nicholas Church
11:00 am – 11:30 pm Visit Lennon Wall
11:30 pm – 12:00 pm Walk across the Charles Bridge
12:00 pm – 01:45 pm Suggested places for lunch:  Lehká hlava – vegetariánská restaurace / Pub Atmoska (Atmosfera Café pub) / Good Food Coffee & Bakery
01:45 pm – 02:30 pm Clementinum – Guided Tour (45 minutes)
02:45 pm 04:15 pm Visit the astronomical clock tower and Old Town Square
04:30 pm Shopping at Havel Market

Map of sightseeing route

Monday, May 21: Main Conference Day 1

08:30 – 09:15 am Check-in and welcome message
09:15 – 10:30 am Session 1: Presence Theory and Measurement
10:30 – 11:45 am Session 2: Presence and Avatars
11:45 am – 01:30 pm Lunch in the hotel – included in registration* 
01:30 – 02:45 pm Panel Discussion 1: Using the Senses to Make Sense: From Aesthetics to Ethics
02:45 – 03:00 pm Coffee break
03:00 – 04:15 pm Session 3: Past, Presence, and Future
04:15 – 05:30 pm Panel Discussion 2: Presence in Practice: A Discussion about Presence via Telepresence Tech (WebEx)
05:30 – 08:00 pm Dinner at Plzenskarestaurace – included in registration*

Tuesday, May 22: Main Conference Day 2

09:00 – 10:15 am Session 4: Social Presence, AI, and Gaming
10:15 – 11:00 am Session 5 (Poster): Challenges of New Approaches in Presence Studies
11:00 am – 12:15 pm Panel Discussion 3: New Ideas for Spatial and Social Cues
12:15 – 01:45 pm Lunch at U Pinkasu – included in registration*
01:45 – 03:00 pm Session 6: Big Ideas about Presence
03:00 – 03:15 pm Coffee break
03:15 – 04:15 pm Panel Discussion 4: Presence Challenges
04:15 – 04:30 pm Closing
After 4:30 pm Dinner – not included in registration


PROGRAM DETAILS Read more on ISPR News: PRESENCE 2018 Conference Program…

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Murder in virtual reality should be illegal

[This opinion column from Aeon is from late 2016 but it’s still extremely relevant to a key debate about the effects and ethics of presence. –Matthew]

[Image: Credit: PhotoAlto/Ale Ventura/Getty]

Murder in virtual reality should be illegal

Angela Buckingham is a writer living in Berlin. She writes about power, moral choice, self-deception, bravery and cowardice. Her most recent work, The Colonel, is a play inspired by the events surrounding the Dreyfus Affair in 1890s France.

November 2016

You start by picking up the knife, or reaching for the neck of a broken-off bottle. Then comes the lunge and wrestle, the physical strain as your victim fights back, the desire to overpower him. You feel the density of his body against yours, the warmth of his blood. Now the victim is looking up at you, making eye contact in his final moments.

Science-fiction writers have fantasised about virtual reality (VR) for decades. Now it is here – and with it, perhaps, the possibility of the complete physical experience of killing someone, without harming a soul. As well as Facebook’s ongoing efforts with Oculus Rift, Google recently bought the eye-tracking start-up Eyefluence, to boost its progress towards creating more immersive virtual worlds. The director Alejandro G Iñárritu and the cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, both famous for Birdman (2014) and The Revenant (2015), have announced that their next project will be a short VR film.

But this new form of entertainment is dangerous. The impact of immersive virtual violence must be questioned, studied and controlled. Before it becomes possible to realistically simulate the experience of killing someone, murder in VR should be made illegal.

This is not the argument of a killjoy. As someone who has worked in film and television for almost 20 years, I am acutely aware that the craft of filmmaking is all about maximising the impact on the audience. Directors ask actors to change the intonation of a single word, while editors sweat over a film cut down to fractions of a second, all in pursuit of the right mood and atmosphere.

So I understand the appeal of VR, and its potential to make a story all the more real for the viewer. But we must examine that temptation in light of the fact that both cinema and gaming thrive on stories of conflict and resolution. Murder and violence are a mainstay of our drama, while single-person shooters are one of the most popular segments of the games industry. Read more on Murder in virtual reality should be illegal…

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Call: A (Free) ‘Virtual’ Panel at PRESENCE 2018: A Discussion About Presence via Telepresence Tech

Call for Participation

A (Free) ‘Virtual’ Panel at PRESENCE 2018:
Presence in Practice: A Discussion about Presence via Telepresence Tech
Monday May 21, 2018
4:15 – 5:30 pm (i.e., 16:15 – 17:30) in Prague (GMT+2)
(click here to see your current local time in Prague)

Read more on Call: A (Free) ‘Virtual’ Panel at PRESENCE 2018: A Discussion About Presence via Telepresence Tech…

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Call: 5th International Conference on Physiological Computing Systems – PhyCS 2018

Call for Papers

PhyCS 2018: 5th International Conference on Physiological Computing Systems
Seville, Spain
19-21 September, 2018

PhyCS is sponsored by INSTICC – Institute for Systems and Technologies of Information, Control and Communication

PhyCS 2018 will be held in conjunction with WEBIST 2018, icSPORTS 2018, NEUROTECHNIX 2018, IJCCI 2018, CHIRA 2018 and IC3K 2018.

Regular Paper Submission Deadline: May 24, 2018


Physiological data in its different dimensions, either bioelectrical, biomechanical, biochemical or biophysical, and collected through specialized biomedical devices, video and image capture or other sources, is opening new boundaries in the field of human-computer interaction into what can be defined as Physiological Computing. PhyCS is the annual meeting of the physiological interaction and computing community, and serves as the main international forum for engineers, computer scientists and health professionals, interested in outstanding research and development that bridges the gap between physiological data handling and human-computer interaction. PhyCS brings together people interested in creating novel interaction devices, adaptable interfaces, algorithms and tools, through the study, planning, and design of interfaces between people and computers that are supported by multimodal biosignals. We seek contributions that relate synergetic disciplines such as biomedical engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, affective computing, accessibility, usability, computer graphics, arts, etc. Researchers attending PhyCS seek to extend the state-of-the-art by harnessing the power of physiological data to refine the symbiosis between humans and computers in such way that the resulting interactive experiences lead to richer and improved outcomes. This may involve the design of new wearable devices that make physiological data acquisition more pervasive, the design of user interfaces capable of recognizing and adapting to changes in the physiological state of the user, and / or the creation of algorithms to enable robust and seamless control of computational resources using physiological data sources as input. We call for original submissions that describe novel technologies and applications in this field, and greatly encourage authors to complement their oral and poster communications with demonstrations showing novel physiological computing and interaction concepts or systems.


Each of these topic areas is expanded below but the sub-topics list is not exhaustive. Papers may address one or more of the listed sub-topics, although authors should not feel limited by them. Unlisted but related sub-topics are also acceptable, provided they fit in one of the following main topic areas:



  • Biomedical Devices for Computer Interaction
  • Haptic Devices
  • Brain-computer Interfaces
  • Health Monitoring Devices
  • Physiology-driven Robotics
  • Wearable Sensors and Systems
  • Cybernetics and User Interface Technologies
  • Robotic Interfaces Mediated by Biosignals


  • Biosignal Acquisition, Analysis and Processing
  • Simulation of Physiological Processes
  • Pattern Recognition
  • Neural Networks
  • Processing of Multimodal Input
  • Observation, Modeling and Prediction of User Behavior
  • Computer Graphics and Visualization of Physiological Data
  • Video and Image Analysis for Physiological Computing
  • Motion and Tracking
  • Semantic Technologies and Cognition


  • User Experience
  • Usability
  • Adaptive Interfaces
  • Human Factors in Physiological Computing
  • Learning and Adaptive Control of Action Patterns
  • Speech and Voice Data Processing
  • Understanding Expressivity from Physiological Data
  • Guidelines for the Design of Physiological Interfaces


  • Physiology-driven Computer Interaction
  • Biofeedback Technologies
  • Affective Computing
  • Pervasive Technologies
  • Augmentative Communication
  • Assistive Technologies
  • Interactive Physiological Systems
  • Physiological Computing in Mobile Devices
  • Characterisation of Psychophysiological Constructs

Read more on Call: 5th International Conference on Physiological Computing Systems – PhyCS 2018…

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Facebook’s AI-created virtual memories are magically haunting

[A new Facebook feature will create navigable 3D virtual reproductions of places where our memorable experiences occurred. Interestingly, the limitations of the reproductions (a “pointillism effect”) apparently create both the “sense of presence in a place… [and] a sense of memory.” This first-person report on Facebook’s demo at the F8 conference is from Engadget, where it includes more images. See CNET for a 2:14 minute video. –Matthew]

Facebook’s AI-created virtual memories are magically haunting

Wandering through pointillistic art felt like being in a dream.

Nicole Lee
May 1, 2018

Ever since Facebook bought Oculus, it’s been investing in virtual reality in a big way. Beyond just hardware like the Rift and the Go, it’s also putting a lot of money and research into software. It delved into the realm of social last year with Oculus Rooms and Facebook Spaces, but that’s not where Facebook’s VR ambitions stop. At F8, the company unveiled a new way for users to experience VR: by recreating their memories.

At the F8 keynote this week, head of social VR Rachel Franklin showed off an experimental feature where Facebook’s machine learning algorithms could convert a 2D photo or video into a virtual three-dimensional environment through point cloud reconstruction. According to Facebook, the tech uses “photogrammetry” to create 3D space from flat photos or videos. This means that you could conceivably transform a photo of your 10th birthday party into a virtual recreation of your childhood living room. Read more on Facebook’s AI-created virtual memories are magically haunting…

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Call: MobileHCI 2018 Workshop on Designing Speech and Language Interactions for Mobiles and Wearables

Call for Submissions

MobileHCI 2018 Workshop on Designing Speech and Language Interactions for Mobiles and Wearables
September 3rd, 2018
MobileHCI 2018, Barcelona, Spain
Workshop URL:

Submission of position papers: May 17th, 2018

Traditional interfaces are continuously being replaced by mobiles and wearables. Yet when it comes to the modalities enabling our interactions, we have yet to fully embrace the most natural one: speech. Very little HCI attention has been dedicated to designing and developing spoken language or multimodal interaction techniques, especially for mobiles and wearables. In addition to the enormous, recent engineering progress in processing such modalities, there is now sufficient evidence that many real-life applications do not require 100% accuracy of processing multimodal input to be useful, particularly if such modalities complement each other. This multidisciplinary, one-day workshop will bring together interaction designers, usability researchers, and general HCI practitioners to analyze the opportunities and directions to take in designing more natural interactions especially with mobile and wearable devices, and to look at how we can leverage recent advances in speech, language, acoustic, and multimodal processing.

Our goal is to create, through an interdisciplinary dialogue, momentum for increased research and collaboration in:

  • Formally framing the challenges to the widespread adoption of speech and natural language interaction,
  • Taking concrete steps toward developing a framework of user-centric design guidelines for speech-, acoustic-, multimodal-, and language-based interactive systems, grounded in good usability practices,
  • Establishing directions to take and identifying further research opportunities in designing more natural interactions that make use of speech and natural language, and
  • Identifying key challenges and opportunities for enabling and designing multi-input modalities for a wide range of emerging devices such as mobiles, wearables, or smart personal assistants.

SUBMISSIONS: Read more on Call: MobileHCI 2018 Workshop on Designing Speech and Language Interactions for Mobiles and Wearables…

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VR-AR tools and presence beginning to provide scientific researchers with new insights

[This story from Nature describes the nascent use of virtual and augmented reality, and the presence experiences they produce, for scientific research. See the last paragraph for a succinct summary. –Matthew]

[Image: Credit: The Project Twins]

Virtual-reality applications give science a new dimension

Virtual- and augmented-reality tools allow researchers to view and share data as never before. But so far, they remain largely the tools of early adopters.

David Matthews
30 April 2018

As I put on a virtual-reality (VR) headset, the outside world disappears. A cell fills my visual field, and as I crane my neck, I can see it from several angles. I stick my head inside to explore its internal structure. Using hand controllers, I dissect the cell layer by layer, excavating with a flick of the wrist to uncover tiny, specialized structures buried beneath the surface.

Looking at a cell in VR is “as close as you can get to touching” such a minuscule structure, says Sebastian Konrad, product manager for VR at Arivis, a life-sciences software company in Munich, Germany, that developed this particular VR visualization tool, called InViewR, and who helped to arrange my demonstration of it.

VR isn’t new, but interest in the technology has boomed since 2016, when gamers and a handful of scientists introduced several high-quality, relatively inexpensive commercial headsets to the public. A similar surge has emerged in augmented reality (AR), a related technology that uses a see-through visor or smartphone screen to layer objects on top of real surroundings.

Some scientists see VR and AR as more intuitive to use than conventional flat screens for viewing complex 3D structures. Others have sought cheap, smartphone-based headsets, which use a smartphone screen as the goggles, to increase public understanding of their work. Their numbers are relatively small: VR and AR remain niche tools for scientific research. Yet some researchers say that the technology has provided new insights. Read more on VR-AR tools and presence beginning to provide scientific researchers with new insights…

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