ISPR Presence News

Monthly Archives: September 2018

Call: Workshop on supporting collocated participation in large events at CSCW 2018

Call for Papers

Workshop on supporting collocated participation in large events
At CSCW 2018 – The 21st ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (
November 4th, Jersey City, USA

Position paper deadline: October 10th

How can technology transform how people assemble and interact in-person for learning, work, and fun? Nowadays, backchannels and audience interaction systems, have provided the audience with a mediated channel to support their participation. We are seeing conferences, seminars, classes, festivals transform the audience experience through technologies that allow spectators to participate in the creation of the event’s content.

Such settings have a hybrid character by simultaneously offering channels for both face-to-face direct audience-performer interaction and for computer-mediated non-direct interaction. These two channels may complement each, overtake each other’s functions, or also create confusion among the performers and the audience and deteriorate the experience instead of improving it.

We are organizing a full-day workshop which takes place at CSCW 2018 on November 4, 2018, in Jersey City (USA), with an aim to develop a research agenda for hybrid interactions in events and to support collaboration in related research topics. We also hope to develop lightweight collaborative infrastructures for people interested in this topic.

Topics of the workshop include but are not limited to: Read more on Call: Workshop on supporting collocated participation in large events at CSCW 2018…

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Refining presence to combat loneliness for children and the elderly

[Stories about the use of technology to connect children undergoing medical treatment with their school classmates, and to connect the isolated elderly with family and friends, are relatively common. Aside from highlighting new products in this area, the story below from BBC News highlights ways that designers of these technologies are refining the presence experiences they produce, including the use of one-way rather than two-way video, emphasizing sound over image and maintaining novelty and surprise. See the original story for six more images, a 1:52 minute video and links to related stories. –Matthew]

‘My robot makes me feel like I haven’t been forgotten’

Internet-connected robots that can stream audio and video are increasingly helping housebound sick children and elderly people keep in touch with teachers, family and friends, combating the scourge of isolation and loneliness.

By Padraig Belton, Technology of Business reporter
August 31, 2018

Zoe Johnson, 16, hasn’t been to school since she was 12.

She went to the doctor in 2014 “with a bit of a sore throat”, and “somehow that became A&E [accident and emergency],” says her mother, Rachel Johnson.

The doctors diagnosed myalgic encephalomyelitis, ME for short, also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – a debilitating illness affecting the nervous and immune systems.

Zoe missed a lot of school but was able to continue with her studies with the help of an online tutor.

But “over the years her real-world friendships disappeared because she’s not well enough to see anybody,” says Ms Johnson.

For the last three months, though, she has been taking classes alongside her former classmates using a “telepresence” robot called AV1.

The small, cute-looking robot, made by Oslo-based start-up No Isolation, sits in the classroom and live streams video and audio back to Zoe’s tablet or smartphone at home. She can speak through the robot and take part in lessons, also controlling where AV1 is looking.

When she wants to ask a question the robot’s head starts blinking on and off to alert the teacher. And when she’s too tired or sick to participate she can turn AV1’s head blue as a signal.

“It makes my life a lot more exciting and makes me feel like I haven’t been forgotten,” Zoe says. Read more on Refining presence to combat loneliness for children and the elderly…

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Call: Culture Robot: 1st Workshop on Multi-Cultural Human-Robot Interaction

Call for Participation

Multi-Cultural Human-Robot Interaction Workshop
December 4, 2018
Namibia University of Science and Technology, Windhoek, Namibia

Deadline for abstracts: September 30, 2018

We are pleased to invite you to participate in this one-day workshop on Multi-Cultural Human-Robot Interaction, held on December 4th, 2018 as part as the AfriCHI conference in Windhoek Namibia.

Read more on Call: Culture Robot: 1st Workshop on Multi-Cultural Human-Robot Interaction…

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Google’s Notable Women AR app puts faces of historic women on US currency

[Only men appear on U.S. paper currency; a new augmented reality app superimposes the images of notable women over them. This story is from Next Reality, where it includes a second image and a 1:37 minute video. All of the women and information about them are on the Notable Women website.

Nexus Studios adds a bit more detail: “The process of creating Notable Women required millimetric attention to detail in order to achieve seamless portrait transitions. Due to visual differences in each dollar bill denomination, 7 portraits needed to be made for each woman. This resulted in the creation of 700 portraits, each one individually designed and composed to resemble the texture of ink on a dollar bill.”

See also a May 2017 ISPR Presence News post about The Whole Story app, which uses AR to add virtual statues of notable women to the statues of men in public spaces in several cities.


Google Puts Faces of Historic Women on US Currency via Augmented Reality

By Tommy Palladino
September 26, 2018

Well-regarded men from the history of the United States tend to grace the country’s currency, but what if equally deserving women were honored in the same fashion?

That’s the question that Google’s Notable Women project endeavors to explore with augmented reality.

Using image recognition, the new Notable Women app replaces the usual faces shown on various denominations of US currency with faces from the Notable Women database. Once enabled, the app also lets users tap the screen to read more about the person’s achievements.

Along with an online database profiling the achievements of 100 women, Google has made the app available for both iOS and Android users. Read more on Google’s Notable Women AR app puts faces of historic women on US currency…

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Call: AI, robotics and Internet of things issue of Revista de Bioética y Derecho

Call for Papers

Revista de Bioética y Derecho of the University of Barcelona
Monographic issue dedicated to artificial intelligence, robotics, and the Internet of things

Deadline for submissions: 1 December 2018

Revista de Bioética y Derecho of the University of Barcelona announces a call for papers for a monographic issue dedicated to artificial intelligence, robotics, and the Internet of things. There is a growing interest in the bioethical, social and legal implications of new technological developments, bringing us closer to a world that seemed to be only science fiction.

We invite submissions on all areas related to these topics, including, but not limited to, any of the following issues:

  • The concept of person, robot, and cyborg
  • Minors, robotics and the Internet
  • Impact on people’s freedom and privacy
  • Automated decision making and algorithms
  • Lovotics, person-to-person or person-to-robot affective development
  • Security and cyber-security
  • Assistive Technologies and Domotics
  • Digital currency or cryptocurrency (Blockchain)
  • The role of Big Data in GDPR, digital bias, and discrimination

Read more on Call: AI, robotics and Internet of things issue of Revista de Bioética y Derecho…

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Why we love robotic dogs, puppets and dolls

[This interesting link-filled piece from The Conversation examines the role and significance of a variety of medium-as-social-actor presence experiences for humans. The original version includes two more images. –Matthew]

Why we love robotic dogs, puppets and dolls

Brent Rodriguez-Plate, Visiting Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Hamilton College
September 13, 2018

There’s a lot of hype around the release of Sony’s latest robotic dog. It’s called “aibo,” and is promoted as using artificial intelligence to respond to people looking at it, talking to it and touching it.

Japanese customers have already bought over 20,000 units, and it is expected to come to the U.S. before the holiday gift-buying season – at a price nearing US$3,000.

Why would anyone pay so much for a robotic dog?

My ongoing research suggests part of the attraction might be explained through humanity’s longstanding connection with various forms of puppets, religious icons, and other figurines, that I collectively call “dolls.”

These dolls, I argue, are embedded deep in our social and religious lives. Read more on Why we love robotic dogs, puppets and dolls…

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Call: European Conference on Cognitive Ergonomics (ECCE 2019)


31st European Conference on Cognitive Ergonomics (ECCE 2019)
10-13 September, 2019, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Due date for all paper submissions: 22 February 2019

ECCE 2019 is the 31st annual conference of the European Association of Cognitive Ergonomics (EACE). This leading conference in human-computer interaction, human factors design and cognitive engineering offers an unparalleled opportunity for both researchers and practitioners to exchange new ideas and practical experiences from a variety of domains. In addition to ACM proceedings, best papers will be published in the Behaviour & Information Technology Journal (Impact Factor =1.380).

Our special theme for ECCE in 2019 is ‘Designing for Cognition’. Interacting with digital technologies, apps, wearables, ‘Internet of Things’ can be cognitively and emotionally demanding in our everyday lives. Now more than ever, we need to consider how ‘Designing for Cognition’ can help us engage in and enjoy seamless intuitive interactions. The theme also involves new ways to understand cognition when interacting in the wild and to research and evaluate our interactions across work, home and community, especially considering the rise of knowledge derived from user data analytics.

ECCE 2019 seeks to encourage dialogue and discussion among participants about general topics as well as this year’s special theme. We invite various types of contributions from researchers and practitioners – long and short papers – which address the broad spectrum of challenges in cognitive ergonomics and in the analysis, design, and evaluation of digital technologies.

SUBMISSION DETAILS Read more on Call: European Conference on Cognitive Ergonomics (ECCE 2019)…

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Virtual reality experience replicates life as a child with hearing loss

[This story from ABC News in Australia describes one of several efforts to use presence to provide patients and their family, friends and caregivers the experience of various health conditions. The original story includes four more pictures and the 1:50 minute 360 degree video (also available on YouTube). –Matthew]

[Image: The VR experience was filmed at a Sydney school with students from Tyler’s class. Credit: ABC Radio Sydney: Harriet Tatham]

Virtual reality experience replicates life as a child with hearing loss

By Harriet Tatham
September 24, 2018

For anybody with hearing loss, articulating the isolation it causes is almost impossible.

For a child, it’s even harder.

But a new virtual reality (VR) experience, designed to immerse users in a playground and classroom as a child with hearing loss, is helping to foster empathy in parents, teachers and other students.

“They didn’t think I could hear so little,” eight-year-old Tyler Potaka said of his peers.

Tyler has bilateral mild to moderate hearing loss, meaning he has hearing loss in both ears.

For his mother Philippa, the experience wasn’t quite so matter-of-fact.

“It was very emotional to put your mind and your head and your body and transplant into your own child and to experience what they see and hear, or don’t hear.

“You really are able to have more empathy, you’re able to sympathise with not being able to hear.” Read more on Virtual reality experience replicates life as a child with hearing loss…

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Job: Tenure Track Assistant Professor in Game Studies at UC Riverside

[See last year’s position announcement here. –Matthew]

Tenure Track Assistant Professor in Game Studies
In the Department of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of California, Riverside

Applications received by November 8, 2018 will receive full consideration

The Department of Media and Cultural Studies (MCS) at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) invites applications for a tenure-track appointment at the rank of Assistant Professor in the area of Game Studies. This appointment will begin July 1, 2019.

We seek candidates with research expertise in Game Studies. Possible areas of interest include: gender and sexuality, queer and feminist approaches, critical race studies of games, serious games, indie games, political economy of games/media archeology, haptics and interface, gamification, game culture and identity, virtual epistemologies and ontologies, narratology, ludology and other approaches related to media and games. Additional expertise in film studies, cultural studies or production is a plus.

Applicants must have a Ph.D. in games/media/digital studies or similar relevant field and demonstrated excellence in research and teaching. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.

The MCS Department Mission: to focus on how political economy and dominant ideologies condition the production and distribution, circulation and contestation, reception and appropriation of media and cultural texts. We are committed to the analysis of how ideology, power and identity intersect and articulate through media and culture. The successful applicant will join a vibrant intellectual community in the University California system, a leading public research system. Read more on Job: Tenure Track Assistant Professor in Game Studies at UC Riverside…

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Philharmonia Orchestra’s new immersive 3D audio VR experiences put you inside the Orchestra

[The latest presence-evoking experiences from Philharmonia Orchestra take you on-stage during performances of works by Beethoven and Mahler. The abridged press release below via The Corner Shop PR provides the details. Find a news report on this topic in The Times (requires subscription). Luke Ritchie, Head of Innovation and Partnerships for the Orchestra, describes the development of the VR projects and the potential and challenges the format represents in a 2017 story in ArtsProfessional. A first person report on the earlier “Virtual Orchestra” experience is available from ClassicFM. The Philharmonia website indicates that all of the showings this month at the Southbank Centre in London are sold out, but the site features links to the VR films and an iPad app. –Matthew]

[Image: Source: FAD Magazine]

The Philharmonia Orchestra Brings Free Virtual Reality Experience To The Southbank Centre This September

  • Two New Immersive Virtual Reality Experiences, Presented In A Specially Created Space For Audiences Will Replicate The Full 3d Audio Model Of The Orchestra
  • VR Sound Stage Runs At The Royal Festival Hall Between 27 – 30 September

PRESS RELEASE – Thursday 30 August 2018

A new digital partnership between the Philharmonia Orchestra and Southbank Centre is set to open on 27 September with two immersive, surround-sound Virtual Reality (VR) experiences presented in a custom-built sound studio in the Royal Festival Hall foyer at Southbank Centre. It will run between 27 – 30 September alongside the first two concerts of the Philharmonia’s new season, with tickets available to book from 4 September.

VR Sound Stage, the latest of the Orchestra’s pioneering virtual reality projects, and the most high-tech experience to date, invites audiences to take a seat inside the VR Sound Stage, put on a VR headset, and experience Beethoven and Mahler’s music in ground-shaking detail. Inside a seven-metre custom built space, audiences of up to six at a time will begin ‘seated’ in the heart of the Orchestra, right in front of conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen (the Philharmonia’s Principal Conductor & Artistic Advisor), and take a journey all the way to outer space whilst the Orchestra’s full-bodied sound will be replicated by the circular 18-speaker array.

The first film – Beethoven’s Fifth – won a Raindance Film Festival Award for Best VR Music Experience in 2017. Commissioned by Google Daydream in partnership with NASA, it commemorates the launch of the Voyager 1 spacecraft in 1977 which became the first human-made object to leave the solar system and is still travelling today. Mounted to the spacecraft is a gold-plated phonograph record, featuring images, recorded greetings, and the Philharmonia Orchestra playing the first movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. The film which cuts together scenes from interstellar space along with footage of Salonen, is directed by leading VR filmmaker Jessica Brillhart.

Mahler’s Third, a UK premiere, captures the final ten minutes of Mahler’s epic Third Symphony, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen in front of a live audience at the Royal Festival Hall on 1 October 2017.

Luke Ritchie, Head of Innovation and Partnerships at the Philharmonia Orchestra, said: “The VR Sound Stage represents the next exciting step in the Philharmonia’s journey with Virtual Reality. These new experiences, presented in the UK for the first time, bring audio to the fore in a powerfully fresh format. Audiences can see and hear the Philharmonia and Esa-Pekka Salonen in a completely new way.” Read more on Philharmonia Orchestra’s new immersive 3D audio VR experiences put you inside the Orchestra…

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