ISPR Presence News

Monthly Archives: September 2018

Call: Envisioning Social Robotics: Current Challenges and New Interdisciplinary Methodologies – Interaction Studies issue

Call for Papers

Envisioning Social Robotics: Current Challenges and New Interdisciplinary Methodologies
Special issue of Interaction Studies
Guest Editors: Glenda Hannibal & Astrid Weiss

Submission Deadline: November 1st, 2018

We find in social robotics many so-called “wicked problems” – problems that are extremely complex and resist complete definition and resolution. To work out these problems, it is necessary to critically discuss the underpinning logic, or line of reasoning, that motivates social robotics and to develop new interdisciplinary methods to make social robots more “socially robust”. This special issue aims to address current challenges in social robotics by bringing methodological discussions to the foreground and therefore calls for submissions focusing on new methodologies in social robotics by reflecting on, developing, and demonstrating interdisciplinary research. Researchers with various disciplinary backgrounds and professions (e.g. engineering, physiotherapy, philosophy, law, biology, art, STS, psychology, medicine, HRI, sociology, computer science, nursing, industry, education, anthropology, HCI, management etc.) are strongly encouraged to contribute.

Read more on Call: Envisioning Social Robotics: Current Challenges and New Interdisciplinary Methodologies – Interaction Studies issue…

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Eating with your eyes: Virtual reality can alter taste

[Our surroundings when we eat, whether real or virtual, affect how the food tastes to us, according to new research reported in the Cornell Chronicle. For details follow the link to the new publication in the Journal of Food Science. For a related story see a November 2017 post in ISPR Presence News. –Matthew]

Read more on Eating with your eyes: Virtual reality can alter taste…

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Job: Post-doctoral Researcher re: virtual characters in healthcare at University of Florida

Post-Doctoral Researcher

Virtual Experiences Research Group
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL, USA

Posted September 19, 2018

We are announcing a virtual reality/human-computer interaction postdoctoral researcher position at the University of Florida (Gainesville, FL, USA). The postdoctoral researcher will work with Professor Benjamin Lok in the Virtual Experiences Research Group (ufverg.com).

JOB SUMMARY:

The postdoctoral researcher contributes to the Virtual Experiences Research Group’s success by:

  • Applying their understanding of virtual reality technologies to develop user experiences involving virtual human characters in healthcare applications to achieve research grant goals
  • Conducting user studies to evaluate the efficacy of virtual human systems
  • Mentoring undergraduate and graduate students on user study design, scientific writing
  • Leading conference, journal, and grant proposal submissions

JOB TASKS:

Developing virtual human applications (50%)

  • Primarily supporting the aims of a NIH grant to develop virtual human experiences delivered on mobile platforms to help reduce suicide for at risk populations
  • Primarily supporting the aims of a NSF grant to develop virtual human experiences to train building construction students on how to manage job sites and communicate with teams
  • Secondarily supporting the aims of other grants involving virtual human experiences for training and delivering health care

Mentoring students (25%)

  • On a weekly basis, meet graduate and undergraduate students of VERG to review writing, discuss ideas, and academic mentorship.
  • Provide feedback on study designs, research ideas, and scientific writing review

Submit publications and funding proposals (25%)

  • As primary author, submit at least one major conference submission based on the research conducted as part of the grants being supported.
  • As primary author, submit at least one major journal submission based on the research conducted as part of the grants being supported.
  • Through building a collaboration with researchers across campus, submit at least one federal funding agency proposal to support further development of research ideas.

Optional opportunities for teaching undergraduate and graduate courses are available based on interest. Read more on Job: Post-doctoral Researcher re: virtual characters in healthcare at University of Florida…

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Virtual reality and presence tackle real-life sex abuse

[Presence experiences are increasingly being used to combat and aid recovery from the all-too-common scourge of sexual harassment and violence. This story from Reuters via Canadian HR Reporter highlights the work of some of our colleagues; for more information about Vantage Point, see a March 2018 ISPR Presence News post. –Matthew]

Virtual reality tackles real-life sex abuse

Umberto Bacchi
September 10, 2018

Your boss ends a meeting by grabbing a colleague and asking her to “pack something fitting” for the party you’re all planning after an out-of-town conference.

Do you a) say something or b) let it pass?

That’s the type of hypothetical question put to staff in a new virtual reality (VR) training programme, which uses immersive technology to tackle sex harassment in the workplace.

It is one of a series of schemes using VR to explore social issues that are hard to teach the traditional way.

“There is no better way to explain a feeling than to really immerse somebody in a situation,” said Morgan Mercer, who said she was subject to two episodes of sexual violence so founded a training company to help others avoid the same fate. Read more on Virtual reality and presence tackle real-life sex abuse…

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Call: 3rd Annual Frameless Symposium 2018

Call for Participation

3rd Annual Frameless Symposium 2018
November 29-30th
MAGIC, Rochester Institute of Technology
Rochester, New York
framelesslabs@rit.edu

Submission Due Date: October 15, 2018
Acceptance Notifications: November 2, 2018

Frameless Labs is a faculty led partnership at RIT that brings together research, innovation, and artistic creations surrounding XR (VR/AR/MR) mediums and is housed under the umbrella of the MAGIC Center.

This free annual symposium is an interdisciplinary gathering that combines technology-focused approaches with humanities-inspired theoretical inquiry, empirical research and artistic expression. Additionally, the symposium aims to create a rich environment for academic-industry partnerships in the technological development and application of VR, AR and MR technologies.

The Frameless Symposium invites contributions from both industry and academia related to XR for:

  • XR tech demos, games, art and experiences. Projects may be completed, prototypes or still in development.
  • short talks (20 minutes) describing ongoing or completed research

Read more on Call: 3rd Annual Frameless Symposium 2018…

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Optimizing presence: Realistic child robot Hal cries and bleeds on med students

[The creators of a new child robot for training medical students have purposely adjusted the level of presence it evokes for its users by making it as realistic as possible in function but not maximally realistic in appearance. Note the comments in the story from Wired about breaks in presence (without using that term) and the observation that even plain rubber dummies can evoke intense responses. For much more information including images and videos, see the Gaumard website, and see NBC Bay Area for a 3:48 minute video news report and a 9:33 minute 360 video. –Matthew]

This Hyper-Real Robot Will Cry and Bleed On Med Students

Matt Simon
September 6, 2018

Hal the robot boy is convulsing. His head shakes back and forth so rapidly, it looks like he’s vibrating. His eyelids droop over his blue eyes and his mouth is ajar. He makes no sound, other than the faint whirs of his motors.

Hal was built to suffer. He is a medical training robot, the sort of invention that emerges when one of the most stressful jobs on Earth tumbles into the uncanny valley. No longer must nurses train on lifeless mannequins. Hal can shed tears, bleed, and urinate. If you shine a light in his eyes, his pupils shrink. You can wirelessly control him to go into anaphylactic shock or cardiac arrest. You can hook him up to real hospital machines, and even jolt him with a defibrillator. Hal—which is just now coming onto the market—is so realistic, and these scenarios so emotionally charged, that the instructors who run him in medical simulations have to be careful not to push things too far and upset trainees.

“I’ve seen several nurses be like, ‘Whoa it moves!’” says Marc Berg, medical director at the Revive Initiative for Resuscitation Excellence at Stanford. “I think that’s kind of similar to the idea that if you’ve driven a car for 20 years and then you got a brand new car, you’re kind of amazed initially.”

The company behind this $48,000 robot boy is Gaumard Scientific, which has been developing medical simulators since the 1940s, beginning with synthetic skeletons and anatomical figures. Now, though, the company’s tech has become much more interactive with Hal’s extended family of humanoid robots. Victoria is a robotic woman who gives birth to a baby robot. And Super Tory is a newborn that can help nurses learn to watch for signs of illness in real babies. Read more on Optimizing presence: Realistic child robot Hal cries and bleeds on med students…

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Call: Society for Philosophy and Technology (SPT) 2019 Conference

Call for Papers

Society for Philosophy and Technology (SPT) 2019 Conference
May 20-22, 2019
College Station, Texas (USA
spt2019.org

Track Proposals deadline: November 1, 2018
Paper deadline: December 1, 2018

The 21st Conference of the Society for Philosophy and Technology will be held May 20-22, 2019 at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas (USA).

We invite papers, poster presentations, and panel proposals that investigate all areas of philosophy and technology, especially those that have to do with the conference theme, technology and power. To give but a few examples,

  • technology can amplify, modify, and extend the power of human perception, capabilities, and acts, and it often results in new opportunities but also new challenges;
  • technology is often involved in the exercise of power and so is implicated in shifts in political power among individuals, organizations, and states;
  • technology and its rapid change are continually powering configurations and reconfiguration of social relations;
  • technology affects the balance of economic, informational, and other kinds of power among individuals, corporations, and governments; and
  • technology can reinforce, disguise, undermine, or reveal existing structural systems of power, including those that tend to perpetuate inequalities and injustices.

Submissions that engage in some philosophical aspect of technology are welcomed, including those from disciplines other than philosophy (e.g., STS, history, anthropology, and sociology). Submissions from practitioners, including entrepreneurs, engineers, and engineering faculty, are also encouraged. Read more on Call: Society for Philosophy and Technology (SPT) 2019 Conference…

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Researchers harness presence with VR, motion capture to study neurological disorders

[This story from the University of Rochester Medical Center describes a new tool that creates presence illusions to study how the brain and body are affected by neurological diseases and disorders. See the original version for a 3:46 minute video. –Matthew]

Researchers Harness Virtual Reality, Motion Capture to Study Neurological Disorders

September 05, 2018

Neuroscientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) have a powerful new state-of-the-art tool at their disposal to study diseases like Autism, Alzheimer’s, and traumatic brain injury. The Mobile Brain/Body Imaging system, or MoBI, combines virtual reality, brain monitoring, and Hollywood-inspired motion capture technology, enabling researchers to study the movement difficulties that often accompany neurological disorders and why our brains sometimes struggle while multitasking. Read more on Researchers harness presence with VR, motion capture to study neurological disorders…

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Call: Trust and AI – Theme Section in ACM Transactions on Internet Technology (TOIT)

Call for Papers for a Theme Section on Trust and AI
ACM Transactions on Internet Technology (TOIT)
http://toit.acm.org/

Submission deadline: November 1, 2018

Trust is critical in building effective AI systems. It characterizes the elements that are essential in social reliability, whether this be in human-agent interaction, or how autonomous agents make decisions about the selection of partners and coordinate with them. Many computational and theoretical trust models and approaches to reputation have been developed using AI techniques over the past twenty years. However, some principal issues are yet to be addressed, including bootstrapping; causes and consequences of trust; trust propagation in heterogeneous systems where agents may use different assessment procedures; group trust modelling and assessment; trust enforcement; trust and risk analysis, etc.

Increasingly, there is also a need to understand how human users trust AI systems that have been designed to act on their behalf. This trust can be engendered through effective transparency and lack of bias, as well as through successful attention to user needs.

The aim of this special section is to bring together world-leading research on issues related to trust and artificial intelligence. We invite the submission of novel research in multiagent trust modelling, assessment and enforcement, as well as in how to engender trust in and transparency of AI systems from a human perspective. The scope of the theme includes:

  • Trust in Multi-Agent Systems: socio-technical systems and organizations; service-oriented architectures; social networks; and adversarial environments
  • Trustworthy AI Systems: detecting and addressing bias and improving fairness; trusting automation for competence; understanding and modelling user requirements; improving transparency and explainability; and accountability and norms
  • AI for combating misinformation: detecting and preventing deception and fraud; intrusion resilience in trusted computing; online fact checking and critical thinking; and detecting and preventing collusion
  • Modelling and Reasoning: game-theoretic models of trust; socio-cognitive models of trust; logical representations of trust; norms and accountability; reputation mechanisms; and risk-aware decision making
  • Real-world Applications: e-commerce; security; IoT; health; advertising; and government.

Read more on Call: Trust and AI – Theme Section in ACM Transactions on Internet Technology (TOIT)…

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“Nuclear Dissent”: A virtual visit to a nuclear test site

[This story about the Nuclear Dissent “immersive website” highlights the personal nature of effective presence experiences; it’s from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. See what the author means by visiting the new website. –Matthew]

A virtual visit to a nuclear test site

By Thomas Gaulkin
September 14, 2018

It can be difficult to grasp how nuclear weapons shape world events without confronting the cold, hard facts. There are an estimated 15,000 nuclear warheads on Earth, and the nine nuclear states that have them ran some 2,000 nuclear tests to produce them. Sky-high numbers like that get you part of the way.

But to get a sense of the human side of things, it helps to be closer to the ground. Not easy when you’re talking about nuclear bombs, but an impressively immersive website launched this week offers a virtual shortcut. Nuclear Dissent presents an intimate, if narrow, history of France’s nuclear testing in the South Pacific and the ultimately successful attempts to stop them. Read more on “Nuclear Dissent”: A virtual visit to a nuclear test site…

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