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Monthly Archives: October 2018

Call: “HCI in a Sharing Society” research track at European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS) 2019

Call for Papers

“HCI in a Sharing Society” research track at the European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS) 2019
Stockholm, Sweden
June 12-14, 2019

Submission deadline: November 27, 2018

Track Chairs:

Track Description:

The socio-technical systems design approach has had a long history of influencing the systems design by considering human, social, technical and organisational factors (Trist and Bamford, 1951; Mumford, 1999; Mumford, 2000; Bjørn-Andersen & Clemmensen, 2017). With the HCI in a Sharing Society we aim to energize the underlying premise of socio-technical thinking. The design of information systems should take into account both social and technical factors that influence the design and use of information systems, as opposed to techno-centric approaches to information systems design not taking into account the human and social aspects. However, the socio-technical approach is still not widely utilized in the IS and HCI discourses today, lacking theoretical models, conceptualizations and case studies. Some areas of HCI have been influenced by socio-technical approaches, such as usability and user-centered design, but there is still a lack of studies on how these socio-technical aspects might influence the interaction design and user experience of a complex and multifaceted information system.

The goal of this track is to develop the field of HCI in a Sharing Society in general and in particular bridge to socio-technical approaches. By this, we mean the systematic and constructive use of sociotechnical thinking, approach, principles and methods thorough the HCI design process from the requirements gathering, specification, design, testing, evaluation, operation and evolution of information systems from human, social, technical and organisational perspectives. This track aims to raise awareness of the socio-technical aspects in HCI research and practice, and therefore the theme bridges from previous years’ conferences into the current and future conferences. Socio-technical HCI analyses are emerging as essential in the evolution of the Sharing Society and the development of information systems and advanced digital technologies required for this transformation. While we aim to develop the socio-technical HCI, the track is open to all research approaches and topics related to HCI.

Possible topics include but are not limited to: Read more on Call: “HCI in a Sharing Society” research track at European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS) 2019…

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Wishplay’s virtual Halloween delivers a treat to terminally ill children

[The good work of David Parker and Wishplay includes a mediated presence experience of Halloween for children too ill to participate directly. This story is from Digital Trends and for more on the individual experiences of the children see coverage in The Globe and Mail; for details on the prerecorded and livestream trick-or-treating available tonight (Halloween 2018), see the Wishplay website. –Matthew]

[Image: Credit: Jeremy Thompson]

Wishplay’s virtual Halloween delivers a treat to terminally ill children

Simon Cohen
October 30, 2018

If you or someone you love has ever spent any time as a patient in a hospital, you know how isolating the experience can be. Those four walls and your hospital bed become your whole world. For patients receiving palliative care — those with essentially no hope for recovery — that room is often the last thing they ever see.

For David Parker, a Toronto-based technology developer, this situation was unacceptable, so he set himself the goal of providing these patients an escape — albeit a temporary one — through virtual reality. Two years ago, he began to approach local hospitals with a simple idea: He would bring an inexpensive, consumer-grade VR rig to patients’ bedsides, and curate a virtual mini-holiday that let them experience a slice of their pre-palliative lives. Unlike some of the existing clinical VR gear that had been used in the past, Parker’s version would be absolutely free, and it would be deeply personal: He would let patients make custom requests for the content.

Though that sounds like a simple concept, making it happen wasn’t simple at all. Parker had to overcome several hurdles, from convincing skeptical hospital staff that he wasn’t using patients as guinea pigs for a new for-profit business venture, to figuring out how to make all of the VR gear hospital-safe from an infection control point of view. Eventually, Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital became the first to give the green light.

Giving his clients a VR experience that went beyond stock footage meant that Parker would go to a patient’s favorite sidewalk cafe, or a park bench, and set up a 360-degree video camera. The effort was worth it. Being able to don a VR headset, and be immersed in that familiar environment — even if only for five minutes or less — had a profound effect on those who tried it. “Right from the beginning, it was so magical,” Parker told Digital Trends. The patients’ reactions were unabashed joy. “They realized that the world was no longer closed off to them,” he said, “there was a ray of hope that they could actually do something.” Read more on Wishplay’s virtual Halloween delivers a treat to terminally ill children…

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Call: UMAP 2019 – 27th ACM International Conference on User Modeling, Adaptation and Personalization


27th ACM International Conference on User Modeling, Adaptation and Personalization (ACM UMAP 2019)
Golden Bay Beach Hotel 5*, Larnaca, Cyprus
June 9-12, 2019

Abstracts due: January 25, 2019 (mandatory)
Papers due: February 1, 2019


ACM UMAP, “User Modeling, Adaptation and Personalization”, is the premier international conference for researchers and practitioners working on systems that adapt to individual users, to groups of users, and that collect, represent, and model user information. ACM UMAP is sponsored by ACM SIGCHI and SIGWEB. The proceedings are published by ACM and will be part of the ACM Digital Library.

ACM UMAP covers a wide variety of research areas where personalization and adaptation may be applied. This include (but is in no way limited to) a number of domains in which researchers are engendering significant innovations based on advances in user modeling and adaptation, recommender systems, adaptive educational systems, intelligent user interfaces, e-commerce, advertising, digital humanities, social networks, personalized health, entertainment, and many more.

This year the conference hosts three new tracks, one on privacy and fairness, one on personalized music access, and one on personalized health.


For details, see the conference website (

  • Track 1 – Personalized Recommender Systems
  • Track 2 – Adaptive Hypermedia and the Semantic Web
  • Track 3 – Intelligent User Interfaces
  • Track 4 – Personalized Social Web
  • Track 5 – Technology-Enhanced Adaptive Learning
  • Track 6 – Privacy and Fairness
  • Track 7 – Personalized Music Access
  • Track 8 – Personalized Health

SUBMISSION AND REVIEW PROCESS Read more on Call: UMAP 2019 – 27th ACM International Conference on User Modeling, Adaptation and Personalization…

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“Spatial” creates cross-platform holographic telepresence through augmented reality, turning any room into a 3D workspace

[The new app described in this story from Forbes is called Spatial but what makes it compelling is the combination of spatial and social presence. The original story includes more images and a 2:15 minute video. For first person reports on a recent demonstration of the product see coverage in Fast Company and Engadget, and for information about how it was inspired by fictional user interfaces in Minority Report and other films see coverage in Variety. –Matthew]

Spatial Bursts Out Of Stealth With Cash And XR Telepresence

Charlie Fink, Contributor
October 24, 2018

After two years in stealth, Spatial is launching its cross-platform XR collaboration App that enables holographic telepresence through augmented reality, turning any room into a 3D workspace. With Spatial, users connect remotely and express ideas seamlessly using lifelike avatars, unlocking a new level of computing that is not confined by space, no matter what device they are using.

I have been saying for two years that because people are the killer app, it follows that telepresence, delivered through AR or VR, would be immersive computing’s first killer app. While important strides are being made by two European start-ups, Valorem and, and social VR startups like High Fidelity and Rec Room, no one has yet created a deeply practical use case. It has to be more than the world’s greatest chat room. We have to do something in VR. I wondered out loud what that might be. Now I know it must be Spatial. Read more on “Spatial” creates cross-platform holographic telepresence through augmented reality, turning any room into a 3D workspace…

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Call: Embodiment in Music – Conference on Interdisciplinary Musicology (CIM 19)

Call for Papers

Conference on Interdisciplinary Musicology – CIM 19
Embodiment in Music
University of Graz, Austria
26-28 September 2019

Abstract submission deadline: 1st February 2019


What does it mean for musical cognition to be embodied? The aim of this conference is to foster collaborations between scholars working in the humanities and the sciences to critically engage with this question, and explore the main theoretical, empirical, and performative challenges that embodiment poses in the musical domain. CIM19 provides a meeting point for those who wish to reflect upon, and interpret, the social, historical, epistemological, artistic, and even political aspects that emerge when embodiment is adopted as explanatory tool in musical contexts. CIM19 promotes interdisciplinary scholarship at the crossroads of musicology and other disciplines, and invites submission for analysis, critical reflection, experimental reports, and discussion of different aspects of embodiment in relation to music, from diverse epistemological standpoints.


Fred Cummins (University College Dublin, Ireland)
Renee Timmers (The University of Sheffield, UK)


Anthony Chemero (University of Cincinnati, USA)
Dylan van der Schyff (Oxford University, UK)


  • The role of action for musical meaning
  • Music analysis, historical musicology, and musical subjectivity. Where is the body?
  • The links between creativity, emotion, culture, and embodiment
  • Religion, rituals, and joint music-making
  • Perception of musical sounds as embodied
  • Dance and the phenomenology of music-related movements
  • The body-mind problem in musical consciousness
  • Embodiment in music philosophy and ethnomusicology
  • Evo-devo debates and the embodied mind
  • Implications for music technology
  • Embodied cognition and the foundations of musical learning

Read more on Call: Embodiment in Music – Conference on Interdisciplinary Musicology (CIM 19)…

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MIT is giving you control of a real person on Halloween in a dystopian game that sounds like an episode of ‘Black Mirror’

[More potential Halloween presence is planned for this week’s holiday, as detailed in this story from Business Insider, where the original includes more images. The 2:17 minute trailer for the project is available on the project’s Twitter page. –Matthew]

[Image: A scene from the trailer for “BeeMe,” an MIT Media Lab social experiment. Credit: BeeMe/MIT Media Lab.]

MIT is giving you control of a real person on Halloween in a dystopian game that sounds like an episode of ‘Black Mirror’

Dave Mosher
Oct. 27, 2018

This Halloween, the creepiest event to attend might be a mass online social experiment hosted by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

MIT is famous for churning out some of the world’s top engineers, programmers, and scientists. But the university’s Media Laboratory is increasingly known for launching experimental projects in October that are designed to make us squirm.

In 2016, researchers at the MIT Media Lab created the artificial-intelligence program Nightmare Machine, which converted normal photos into macabre images. (The results were predictably creepy.) Then in 2017, a researcher made AI software called “Shelley” that learned how to write its own horror stories. (These were also creepy.)

This year, members of MIT Media Lab are taking their desire to freak us out to the next level with a project called “BeeMe.”

BeeMe is described in a press release as a “massive immersive social game” that aims to “shed a new light on human potential in the new digital era.” But it also sounds like a choose-your-own-adventure episode of the show “Black Mirror.”

“Halloween night at 11 p.m. ET, an actor will give up their free will and let internet users control their every action,” Niccolò Pescetelli, who studies collective intelligence at MIT Media Lab, told Business Insider in an email about BeeMe.

Pescetelli added: “The event will follow the story of an evil AI by the name of Zookd, who has accidentally been released online. Internet users will have to coordinate at scale and collectively help the actor (also a character in the story) to defeat Zookd. If they fail, the consequences could be disastrous.”

How MIT will let you control a person

The project’s slogan is: “See what I see. Hear what I hear. Control my actions. Take my will. Be me.”

The full scope of gameplay is not yet public. However, Pescetelli, BeeMe’s social media accounts, and promotional materials reveal a few key details. Read more on MIT is giving you control of a real person on Halloween in a dystopian game that sounds like an episode of ‘Black Mirror’…

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Call: 1st International Workshop on Pervasive Persuasive Systems for Behavior Change (PerPersuasion 2019)

Call for Papers

1st International Workshop on Pervasive Persuasive Systems for Behavior Change (PerPersuasion 2019)
in conjunction with IEEE PerCom
11-15, March 2019

Submission deadline: November 10, 2018


Recently, the technologies for changing people’s attitudes or behaviors through persuasion and social influence are focused. It is called persuasive technology or persuasive system and is expected to contribute supporting productivity, well-being, and efficiency.

To realize an effective and appropriate intervention to the human behavior, various pervasive computing technologies such as a mobile sensing, activity recognition & prediction, and attention sensing have a quite important role.

In this workshop, we would like to have a deep and wide discussion with various researchers both from industry and academia. Especially, we would like to focus on the technological aspect as follows.

  • Mobile sensing technologies for persuasive system
  • Sensing technologies for internal states (emotion, stress)
  • Socially influencing persuasive systems
  • Supplemental system for persuasion
  • Experimental supplements
  • Computer-supported influence
  • Context-aware interrupting mechanism
  • Multimodal interaction
  • Persuasive dialog system
  • Just-in-time intervention/notification technologies
  • Gamification for enhancing the effect
  • Personalized persuasion
  • Design of unconscious persuasion
  • Design of feedback
  • Case studies in the real environment

Read more on Call: 1st International Workshop on Pervasive Persuasive Systems for Behavior Change (PerPersuasion 2019)…

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An AR Halloween pre-show invades movie theaters

[Halloween presence! This story from MarTech Today describes a new use of augmented reality in movie theaters, and in particular a new “Halloween Experience” available until the holiday next week. See the original version of the story to watch the 0:45 minute video trailer. Other coverage notes that you can play at home if you download the Noovie Arcade app. For a related example of AR scariness, see a story from earlier this year in ScreenRant (or go directly to Abhishek Singh’s Twitter page). –Matthew]

An AR Halloween pre-show invades movie theaters

National Cinemedia started employing augmented reality in thousands of theaters last spring, and is now launching its first one for ghosts’ favorite holiday.

Barry Levine
October 10, 2018

Now in movie theaters in the US and Canada: an augmented reality (AR) Halloween-inspired experience before the feature film.

Called the Noovie ARcade Halloween Experience, it will be available through Halloween night by National Cinemedia, which describes itself as the largest cinema advertising network in North America.

Invading 20,800 screens. The rollout covers 20,800 screens in the US and Canada — some running horror films, others non-Halloween PG-13 or R-rated fare — in over 1650 theaters managed by AMC, Cinemark, Regal Entertainment Group and dozens of local exhibitors.

To participate in the Halloween experience, a moviegoer downloads and opens National Cinemedia’s free iOS or Android Noovie ARcade app and points her smartphone at the screen when prompted. A visual trigger on the screen shows a 35-second playthrough AR experience seen through the phone and superimposed over the theater screen.

While this is National Cinemedia’s first Halloween-related AR experience, it’s not its first AR.

The Noovie ARcade app was launched this past spring and has since been downloaded about a million times. National Cinemedia has previously created and released for the app four original AR games that moviegoers can play on their phones, with interactive gameplay seen over a theater’s setting.

In Cinevaders, for instance, a worm hole opens in the theater, aliens pour out and the user protects fellow moviegoers by destroying the un-humans with lasers. Read more on An AR Halloween pre-show invades movie theaters…

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Call: Urban Play – The 15th Annual Tampere University Game Research Lab Seminar

Urban Play – The 15th Annual Tampere University Game Research Lab Seminar
15th-16th of April 2019
Tampere, Finland


  • Abstract deadline: January 18, 2019
  • Notification of acceptance: February 4, 2019
  • Full Paper deadline: March 25, 2019
  • Seminar dates: April 15-16, 2019


Urban spaces offer a rich environment for a diversity of play practices, from location-based games to parkour and from hopscotch to chess in parks. Historically, cities have offered rich affordances for games and play, but in recent years the spread of ubiquitous and pervasive technology has transformed and diversified public play. The extension of ‘smart’ devices and technologies into the urban environment – smartphones, sensors, and automated systems – open up new possibilities for networked play. At the same time, these platforms also control and constrain human movement and behaviour, sometimes unconsciously through opaque algorithms imposed by city authorities or technology vendors.

Play in public spaces became especially visible after Pokémon Go was launched, after which location-based games arose from margin to mainstream. Public play has also become something municipalities encourage, through games festivals and city-funded game projects. But there are also less visible, secret and norm-defying, forms of play constantly taking place. Spontaneous street activities, urban sports, and small-scale games produce micro-level but nonetheless important impacts on the everyday urban environment.

We are seeking submissions from scholars studying different aspects of urban play. In addition to game studies-oriented research, we particularly invite papers that focus on less visible groups and activities which challenge the way we think about public/urban play and which are not necessarily game-related. Prominent work is done in many fields ranging from player studies to design research and from digital humanities to architecture, urbanism, social sciences and beyond. The seminar encourages contributions relating to all types of urban games and play, be they digital, non-digital, or hybrid.

The possible list of topics includes but is not limited to:

  • Playful architecture and urban design
  • Smart city, ludic city
  • Location-based and augmented reality games
  • Histories of play in cities
  • Street sports
  • Playgrounds, amusement parks, stadiums, and other playful spaces
  • Locative educational, tourism, and heritage applications
  • Pervasive larp
  • Representation and discourses around urban play
  • Norm-defying urban play
  • Peri-urban and rural play
  • Representations of the urban in games
  • Playful algorithms of power in cities
  • Digital, hybrid, and non-digital urban games

Urban Play is the 15th annual spring seminar organized by Tampere University Game Research Lab. The seminar emphasises work-in-progress submissions, and we strongly encourage submitting late breaking results, working papers, as well as submissions from graduate and PhD students. The purpose of the seminar is to have peer-to-peer discussions and thereby provide support in refining and improving research work in this area. The seminar is organized in collaboration with the Center of Excellence in Game Culture Studies.

The papers to be presented will be chosen based on extended abstract review. Full papers are distributed prior the event to all participants, in order to facilitate discussion. The seminar will be chaired by Professor Frans Mäyrä, and there will be two invited expert commentators, Dr Dale Leorke (University of Tampere) and another commentator to be announced later. The seminar will be held in Vapriikki, the museum center that hosts The Finnish Museum of Games.

The seminar is looking into partnering with a journal so that the best papers would be invited to be further developed for publication in a special journal issue. In the past we have collaborated with Games and Culture, Simulation & Gaming, International Journal of Role-Playing and ToDiGRA journals.

The seminar is free of charge, but the number of participants will be restricted.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES Read more on Call: Urban Play – The 15th Annual Tampere University Game Research Lab Seminar…

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I met Magic Leap’s AI assistant Mica and saw the future of augmented reality

[This first-person report on a new, life-size, interactive, intelligent assistant who appears in augmented reality and apparently evokes intense social presence experiences, is from Next Reality. The original story includes several images; a 1:43 minute video is available from Upload VR via YouTube; and a consideration of some of the practical and ethical implications of the new technology can be found in coverage from Daily Journal Online. –Matthew]

I Met Magic Leap’s AI Assistant Mica & Saw the Future of Augmented Reality

By Adario Strange
October 12, 2018

Unlike VR, when you’re talking about augmented reality, describing what an experience is like can be incredibly difficult — primarily because the experiences are even more contextual than relatively static virtual worlds that don’t involve real-world settings.

In AR, everything is about how “you” see things interacting with your real environment. Such is the case with what I’m calling the most important demonstration of Magic Leap technology to date in the form of an AI assistant called Mica.

The experience was previewed on stage during Wednesday’s keynote event at the L.E.A.P. conference in Los Angeles by Magic Leap‘s John Monos, vice president of human-centered AR and dDNA, and Andrew Rabinovich, the company’s head of AI.

Together, the team described a world in which a Magic Leap user will be able to interact with intelligent assistants in the form of fully realized augmented reality humans that can recognize your position in a room, as well as items in that room. Having mapped the area and your position within it, the AI assistant will then interact with you to help you do any number of things.

For example, as detailed in the presentation, the AI assistant might scan the Magic Leap One wearer’s eyes to detect his mood and then suggest an appropriate song to play through the home’s music system. Similarly, the AI assistant may access the Magic Leap One user’s preferences to adjust things such as the level of light in a room at a certain time of day.

We’re already becoming accustomed to such interactions on the audio plane via digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and, to a lesser extent, Apple’s Siri. But what Magic Leap is describing is putting an even more robust and responsive version of such a digital assistant in the form of a human that inhabits the same space as you, thus taking the assistant metaphor to its highest level. It sounds and looks a bit like science fiction, but it’s not.

What Magic Leap is describing is so close to reality, the company now feels comfortable enough to offer demonstrations of a rudimentary version of the dynamic at work with the Magic Leap One in conjunction with its intelligent assistant Mica.

The result is a stunning experience that takes AR into brand new and exciting territory.

I met Mica for the first time earlier this week. And if you get a chance to meet her, she will fundamentally change how your view the Magic Leap One and augmented reality in general. Read more on I met Magic Leap’s AI assistant Mica and saw the future of augmented reality…

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