ISPR Presence News

Monthly Archives: August 2018

Call: Touching Past Lives: Immersive Heritage Performance Symposium

Call for Participants

Touching Past Lives: Immersive Heritage Performance Symposium
Friday September 14th 2018, 9:00 AM – 5:30 PM BST
Senate House, Courtroom, Malet Street, London, WC1 7HU, UK

Free Registration via Eventbrite:


Touching Past Lives is a one day symposium exploring all aspects of the use of Immersive techniques to engage audiences with local, regional, and national heritage. Sensorial interactions and reactions to heritage is opening a new field of interrogations into how immersive experience of heritage shapes our understanding of the modern world. This symposium will bring together academics and heritage industry professionals, from museum curators and archivists, to immersive experience and heritage practitioners, to investigate the growing importance of immersive techniques in the heritage industry.

Affective and immersive experiences are part of individual and communal acts of remembering, engaging, emulating, re-visioning, and refuting the past. Heritage England in 2017 identified heritage as a key part of the UK ‘brand’ and central to the UK economy. In the current political climate there is an increasing importance in investigating how local, national, and international heritage affects wellbeing, identity, community regeneration and social cohesion. With increasing innovations to both virtual and live immersive experience design, it is important to examine the role of the senses in public response to heritage sites. How are immersive and interactive experiences embodying, engaging and mediating new narratives in cultural heritage performances, spaces and installations? What are the perceived social and personal benefits (or detriments) experienced by members of the public through their involvement in participatory heritage performance? How can technological advances in immersive experience design attract wider audiences to heritage sites?

EVENT SCHEDULE: Read more on Call: Touching Past Lives: Immersive Heritage Performance Symposium…

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Airlines find new uses for presence, including 360 cabin views for booking seats

[The airlines are finding interesting applications of presence-evoking technology. This story from MRO (“Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul”) Network is about new immersive tech Emirates Airlines is adopting for seat booking and other previews of the inside of its planes (more details, images and a 1 minute video are available from Emirates). APEX (“Airline Passenger Experience Association”) has a related story about a passenger survey supporting the addition of VR-based experiences in airlines’ airport pre-flight lounges. –Matthew]

Virtual Reality Informs Passengers Booking Airline Seats

Emirates helps make seat selection a more accurate experience for its passengers via an immersive, 3D, online process

Kerry Reals
August 29, 2018

Airlines are starting to use three-dimensional technology to provide customers with a detailed, immersive view of their aircraft interiors during the booking process.

By allowing passengers to virtually experience the cabin before selecting seats, the hope is that their expectations will be more accurately met. And by showcasing premium products in this way, there is a better possibility that customers will be tempted to upgrade.

In July, Emirates Airline announced that it had introduced 3D seat models to its online reservation system and says it is the first airline to use web virtual reality (VR) on its digital platform.

Alex Knigge, senior vice president of digital at Emirates, says the carrier had “been looking at this for about 12 months,” but it “wasn’t easy to find a vendor that fulfilled our requirements.”

The Dubai-based airline sought more than an app-only product. It wanted something that could be embedded into its website and accessed on desktops and mobile devices, with or without the use of VR goggles. Read more on Airlines find new uses for presence, including 360 cabin views for booking seats…

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Call: ACM ISS 2018 Workshop on Approaching Aesthetics on User Interface and Interaction Design

Call for Papers

ACM ISS 2018 Workshop on Approaching Aesthetics on User Interface and Interaction Design
Tokyo, Japan
Sunday, November 25, 2018

Submission deadline: September 7, 2018

Organizers: Chen Wang, Sayan Sarcar, Masaaki Kurosu, Jeffrey Bardzell, Antti Oulasvirta, Aliaksei Miniukovich, Xiangshi Ren


  • One full day workshop
  • Panel discussion on highly relevant topics
  • Paper presentation session
  • Many possible collaboration opportunities

Dear Colleagues

We invite you to submit workshop papers for the upcoming ACM ISS workshop on “Approaching Aesthetics on User Interface and Interaction Design”.

Aesthetics are influential in how willingly, how comfortably and how efficiently humans interact with objects, devices, idea and systems. As one of the most professional academic communities for discussing new interactive techniques, the ISS community continue working on creating unique experiences on user interfaces. Aesthetics research aims to contribute principles of design towards more comfortable, appealing, satisfying and engaging interface and interaction experiences via the intelligent application of aesthetic principles and by considering aesthetics as a basic and essential aspect in all interface design. Overall, our workshop will provide an opportunity to enrich the research repository through discussing future research directions. Along with continuing community building, we hope to raise the general awareness of computational aesthetics among the ISS peers and colleagues.

This workshop focuses on developing approaches towards the application of aesthetic design factors for user interfaces and interactions. We seek to invite broader participation from experts such as designers, researchers, artists and so on from academia and industry and it will gather valuable feedback for further development of HCI aesthetic design, which will contribute to future aesthetics workshops and discussions.

We invite contributors to submit papers addressing one or more of the four threads: theories (e.g. identifying promising notion or frameworks), evaluation (e.g., evaluating aesthetic factors), methodologies (e.g., qualitative and quantitative methodologies), and potential applications (e.g., enlightening interactions or prototypes). In addition, the contributors could also find our planned workshop themes below:

  • The Notion of Aesthetics
  • The Balance between Aesthetics and Usability
  • Aesthetic Evaluation on Surfaces and Spaces
  • Computational Aesthetics
  • Application on Practical Design

Details will be on the workshop website as and when available:

SUBMISSION Read more on Call: ACM ISS 2018 Workshop on Approaching Aesthetics on User Interface and Interaction Design…

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San Diego Fire Department testing drones piloted via telepresence as part of FAA program

[This story from VentureBeat is about valuable applications of aerial telepresence; more details are on the Cape website and in coverage in Aviation Today, which includes this:

“The U.S. government launched the [drone integration pilot program] because drones are a quickly expanding industry. Civilians and companies alike are embracing them and finding new uses every day. [Cape CEO] Rittler is confident that we’re on the cusp of a broader integration into the fabric of society. ‘I really think we’re at that point, kind of like when the smartphone first came out, everybody said ‘This will never be used in enterprise,’ he said. ‘And all of a sudden, it became the enterprise tool, and everybody was creating mobile enterprise applications and mobile enterprise extensions. I think we’re right there at the end of that curve as well.’”


[Image: A Cape-equipped drone in front of the Ensenada, Mexico fire department.]

San Diego Fire Department to test remotely piloted drones as part of FAA program

Khari Johnson
August 10, 2018

The San Diego Fire Department (SDFD) today began tests of camera-equipped drones to help fight fires. Firefighters on the ground will deploy the drones, but once they’re in the air, the drones will be controlled by trained drone pilots using the Cape telepresence drone platform, a company spokesperson told VentureBeat in an email.

Once the drones receive regulatory approval, they can take flight in emergency response to give an overhead view of fires, identify people or hot spots with thermal sensors, and supply information that helps public safety officials make informed decisions in order to develop a plan of action before fire trucks can reach the scene.

Cape supplies telepresence capabilities to drone operators in various parts of the world so that trained drone pilots don’t have to physically be on the scene to do their jobs, an approach that can save time and expand viable use cases for a drone.

Drones have been deployed by dozens of fire departments across the United States, including some currently taking part in the fight against the biggest wildfires in the history of the state of California, but the SDFD deployment is different.

The Cape-SDFD partners is one of the first in a series of experiments as part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) unmanned aerial systems integration pilot program, a project just beginning to explore transformative future use cases for drones. Read more on San Diego Fire Department testing drones piloted via telepresence as part of FAA program…

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Job: Assistant Professor of Games User Research at the University of Saskatchewan

Faculty Position: Assistant Professor of Games User Research at the University of Saskatchewan

Review of applications begins September 15, 2018; open until filled

Applications are invited from qualified individuals for a tenure track position at the rank of Assistant Professor with the College of Arts and Science in the Department of Computer Science. The University of Saskatchewan, the College of Arts and Science and the Department of Computer Science are strongly committed to diversity. Applications from Indigenous persons and women are especially encouraged and will be given preference. The successful candidate will build a substantial, externally funded research program in digital games, in a way that complements and enhances our existing program. All aspects of game research will be considered, but preference will be given to candidates with a research focus on Game User Research and/or Analytics, broadly defined. Initially, this position will be partially funded through Dr. Mandryk’s recent Steacie Award. The successful candidate will teach at both the undergraduate and graduate level, particularly our named game courses. As the current university vision emphasizes collaborative research, the successful candidate will be able to identify how they will work with other faculty members in the department, units on campus, and external and academic partners, while maintaining a core research program in digital games. Prospective candidates are encouraged to visit the departmental website ( for program details. Read more on Job: Assistant Professor of Games User Research at the University of Saskatchewan…

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Secret Location’s ‘The Great C’ takes an ambitious stab at long-form VR

[The creators of a new Cinematic VR film are testing the limits and learning best production practices for transitioning the VR medium from short-form demos and games to long-form engaging narratives. This story is from Variety, where the original includes more images. –Matthew]

Venice: Secret Location’s ‘The Great C’ Takes an Ambitious Stab at Long-Form VR

By Janko Roettgers
August 28, 2018

When the Venice Film Festival opens its doors this week, audiences will once again get to see a number of virtual reality (VR) titles. And anyone who has followed VR might notice a trend: Cinematic VR, as non-gaming titles are often being called, is getting longer, with experiences slowly but surely approaching the VR equivalent of a feature film.

Case in point: “The Great C,” which is based on a Philip K. Dick short story of the same name, clocks in at just above 30 minutes, and spans 20 unique environments. Luke Van Osch, who produced the animated film for the Toronto- and Los Angeles-based VR startup Secret Location, told Variety during a recent interview that many of the existing VR experiences out there still felt like a demo for the technology itself.

The goal with “The Great C” was to create something that felt “substantial,” he said. “We wanted to make something that feels like a rich and rewarding piece on its own.” Read more on Secret Location’s ‘The Great C’ takes an ambitious stab at long-form VR…

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Call: Technology and Armed Forces issue of Philosophical Journal of Conflict and Violence

Call for Papers

Philosophical Journal of Conflict and Violence – [PJCV]
Special issue on Technology and armed Forces

Expressions of interest (prospective title and 100 word proposal) by November 1st, 2018

PJCV welcomes contributions concerning the philosophical issues raised by the use of existing and emerging military and civilian forms of technologies in armed conflict.

The special issue is guest edited by Dr. Alexander C. Leveringhaus (University of Surrey). The selected articles will be published by Trivent Publishing in May 2019.

We welcome papers from philosophical research on the following topics:

  • The implications of emerging technologies for the conceptualisation and protection of civilians.
  • The concept of machine autonomy and its meaning for armed conflict.
  • The nexus between civilian and military applications of emerging technologies: from driverless cars to driverless tanks?
  • Feminism and gendered aspects of emerging military technologies.
  • Cyborgs and robots on the battlefield of the future.
  • The classicisation of, and securitisation of, cyber space as a military domain.
  • The effect of technology on notions of humanity and inhumanity in armed conflict.
  • Emerging technologies and the conceptualisation of terrorism.
  • Virtualisation, video-games, and ‘killing by remote-control’.
  • Emerging military technologies and pacifism.
  • The moral and aesthetic relevance of distance in killing.
  • Technological development as a challenge to, or chance for, revisionist and/or orthodox approaches to just war theory.
  • The role of technology in euphemising the use of violence (‘mowing the lawn’; ‘delivering a payload’).
  • The ethics of, or lack thereof, weapons research.
  • Technology and the state’s monopoly on violence.
  • Depictions of war, violence and technology in art (e.g. Picasso’s Guernica); movies/TV series (e.g. Blade Runner, Star Wars, Star Trek, The Expanse, Terminator franchise); literature (e.g. 1984, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Brave New World, We).
  • Studies and discussion of famous philosophical accounts of technology, war, and violence.
  • Non-western perspectives on violence, war and technology.

IMPORTANT DATES AND SUBMISSION GUIDELINES Read more on Call: Technology and Armed Forces issue of Philosophical Journal of Conflict and Violence…

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UNC system launches VR app to improve college access

[As the fall semester begins it’s a good time to read about how The University of North Carolina System is using VR and presence to “promote and facilitate college access” across all of its campuses. It notes their plans for the use of chatbots and expansion to all colleges in the state. Most of the press coverage is drawn from this more detailed press release from UNC. –Matthew]

[Image: This still shot from a new virtual reality video compiled by the UNC System shows a class at N.C. State University. Source: News & Record.]


GEAR UP grant provides opportunity to visit the UNC System’s 16 universities

By ncbarkley@north…
August 8, 2018

CHAPEL HILL, NC – The University of North Carolina System has unveiled a new app that will allow users to take immersive virtual reality tours of each of the UNC System’s 16 universities. This innovative initiative, made possible through the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) NC program, marks the first wide-scale use of virtual reality to promote and facilitate college access.

The GEAR UP NC VR app is the first-of-its-kind and the largest VR project for social good to date. While other campuses have begun offering virtual tours, this marks the first time a university system has used the technology across all of its institutions.

GEAR UP NC VR was created with the specific purpose of helping students in rural, low-wealth, and first-generation families engage with the decision-making and application processes other college-bound students face with more secure support systems. The app helps build a college-going culture across the state, encouraging students to aspire to higher education and connecting them with the institution that will help them attain their academic and personal goals. Read more on UNC system launches VR app to improve college access…

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Call: The Concept of Virtuality: Summer Workshop in January

Call for Applications

The Concept of Virtuality: Summer Workshop in January
Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago, Chile
21st-25th January 2019

Submission deadline: 25th September 2018

This is a Call for Applications for a summer workshop at the Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago, Chile, 21st-25th January 2019. The concept of virtuality is used across a wide range of disciplines. First of all, outside the humanities it is of concern in fields from computer science to psychology. Indeed, there are technological foci on virtual, augmented, and mixed reality; gaming and ubiquitous computing; psychological studies of on- and offline behaviour; as well as explorations into the use of virtual technologies in fields like education and medicine. The issue of virtuality is also spread throughout the humanities, from anthropology, social science and media studies to philosophy of technology. In philosophy there are very interesting pieces on specific subjects, and the philosophies of Bergson and Deleuze have it as a central concept. Notwithstanding these works, the complexity and dynamism of the concept remain relatively understudied and underdeveloped; it is a concept that is hard to pin down in any cohesive manner. This workshop plans to start articulating a cohesive concept of virtuality. It is the first of three such workshops (the second (January 2020) will deal with a possible phenomenology of virtuality, and the final one (January 2021) will address new virtual technologies and their influence on our lives). The format is for a small number of participants (8-15) to first (on Monday) present their own take on the issue, using texts of one’s choosing. Tuesday and Wednesday will be seminar discussions around selected key texts (suggestions will be welcome). Thursday will be a study or free day, and on Friday everyone once again presents on the issue, taking the week’s developments into account. Applications are welcome from all those in philosophy who are interested in the concept, as well as from related disciplines. Participants from out of town will be accommodated from Sunday 20th-Saturday 26th January. Travel costs are at each participant’s expense. To be considered please submit an abstract (300-500 words) on your conception of virtuality, as well as a copy of your CV. Please submit this application to no later than Tuesday 25th September 2018. Successful applicants will hear back promptly. If there are any questions or queries, please do not hesitate to contact me (Dr Daniel O’Shiel) at the just-mentioned email address.

Read more on Call: The Concept of Virtuality: Summer Workshop in January…

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New VR tool uses presence to teach people to avoid being bitten by dogs

[This case study report from the Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC) at the University of Liverpool describes a unique and potentially valuable application of presence-evoking technology to help people learn the warning signs that a dog is likely to bite them. The link at the end leads to a 1:19 minute video of a first-person interaction with a virtual dog. –Matthew]


The Virtual Engineering Centre, in collaboration with Dogs Trust,  the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Infection and Global Health and Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, have created an immersive 3D environment to demonstrate the value of digital technologies in the identification and education of canines body language related to aggression.


6,740 hospital admissions for dog bites and strikes were recorded in the UK in 2013 and University of Liverpool research suggests that the burden of dog bites is considerably larger than those estimated from hospital records.

Dogs Trust is keen to better educate children and adults about the early identification of signs of aggressive behaviour within dogs in order to enable better prevention within the UK.

Dogs Trust wanted to help people to identify a range of stress and threat behaviours typically exhibited by dogs which have the potential to lead to a dog biting a person. The charity is therefore interested in understanding whether a digital model could help people to identify these signs and provide the ability to communicate, in particular to children, when a dog may not wish to interact and therefore becomes aggressive. This would helping to improve both animal and human welfare in the future.


Dogs Trust was introduced to the Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC) by academics from the University of Liverpool‘s Institute of Infection and Global Health, working in the Institute of Veterinary Science. The VEC aimed to create a proof of concept, immersive environment which would support academic research into further preventing dog bites. This could then be used as an educational tool, enabling users to better understand animal behaviour, in particular human-dog interaction and early signs of aggression. Read more on New VR tool uses presence to teach people to avoid being bitten by dogs…

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