ISPR Presence News

Monthly Archives: December 2018

Call: Conversational User Interfaces Conference (CUI) 2019

Call for Papers

Conversational User Interfaces Conference (CUI) 2019
August 22nd-23rd 2019
Dublin, Ireland

Full paper submission deadline: March 15, 2019


Through the commercial success of intelligent personal assistant devices such as Alexa and Google Home, to the growth of the use of chatbots in commercial settings, the number of language and conversation based interactions is growing. Developing from successful workshops at both ACM CHI and ACM Mobile HCI, the CUI conference looks to bring together researchers and industry representatives interested in human centered issues in the field of speech and text based conversational and language based interfaces. The conference aims to be a leading venue to present work related to human-machine conversation, broadly defined.


CUI will be a 2 day, single track conference, held in the heart of Dublin, Ireland.

The conference welcomes cutting edge human centered contributions in the areas of, but not limited to: voice user interfaces, conversational interaction through technology, text based conversational interfaces, chatbots, speech interfaces, speech synthesis, speech recognition, dialogue management, conversational interface design insights, speech interface theory development, methods for conversational user interface development and evaluation.… read more. “Call: Conversational User Interfaces Conference (CUI) 2019”

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Snapchat virtually restores London’s Big Ben with holiday-themed, location-based AR Lens

[This story from Next Reality describes what I think is a clever idea: Using augmented reality to create presence experiences of tourist sites – in this case Big Ben – while they’re under renovation (I wish it had been in place for the 600 year old Astronomical Clock in Prague that was being restored during the PRESENCE 2018 conference and is now back in service). See the original Next Reality story for animated gifs and a 13 second video of Snapchat’s Cat Lenses (also available via YouTube), and see a 21 second video of the Big Ben AR on YouTube.

Here’s wishing all of us a safe, healthy, productive and happy 2019!


Snapchat Virtually Restores London’s Big Ben with Holiday-Themed, Location-Based AR Lens

By Tommy Palladino
December 21, 2018

The city of London is getting a holiday gift this season, but it’s not the kind you unwrap, since it’s completely delivered in augmented reality.… read more. “Snapchat virtually restores London’s Big Ben with holiday-themed, location-based AR Lens”

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Call: Deep Learning for Design – A Design Science Journal Thematic Collection

Call for Papers – Deep Learning for Design

Deep Learning for Engineering Design
A Thematic Collection in the Design Science Journal

Deadline for full submissions: 31 May 2019


Machine learning is generally concerned with the development of computational systems that can improve their performance of a task with experience (typically in the form of data). Deep learning is a subset of machine learning that seeks to improve performance and robustness of computational systems by imbuing them with the ability to construct internal representations of the data at varying degrees of abstraction. Deep neural networks are an increasingly common method within these broader categories. Over the last decade they have proven particularly useful for a variety of tasks including image recognition, sparking a variety of applications to related tasks in design. These have spanned architecture, mechanical design, product design, and game design.… read more. “Call: Deep Learning for Design – A Design Science Journal Thematic Collection”

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Step into Claude Monet’s world with this immersive VR exploration of ‘Water Lilies’

[The new virtual reality experience described in this story from Smithsonian sounds impressive; see the original story for two other images, and the Vive website (or YouTube) for a 4:50 minute video that includes many indirect references to presence as it describes the project. –Matthew]

Step Into Claude Monet’s World With This Immersive VR Exploration of ‘Water Lilies’

New VR experience whisks participants from Paris museum to Impressionist’s Giverny garden and studio

By Meilan Solly
November 19, 2018

Visiting the Musée de l’Orangerie’s “Water Lilies” rooms—an oblong pair of galleries fitted with eight panoramic panels from Claude Monet’s seminal series—is an immersive experience in and of itself. But as Flora Eveno reports for Belgian news outlet RTBF, individuals stopping by the Paris museum can now opt to literally immerse themselves in Monet’s masterpieces through a virtual reality tour of the French Impressionist’s world.… read more. “Step into Claude Monet’s world with this immersive VR exploration of ‘Water Lilies’”

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Job: Postdoc in Socially Adaptive Behaviour Support Agents at TU Delft

Postdoc position in Socially Adaptive Behaviour Support Agents
Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands
Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science
Level: Doctorate (PhD)
Working hours: 32-40 hours weekly
Contract: until 31-12-2022
Salary: 3303 – 4166 euros monthly (full-time basis)

This vacancy is available until the position is filled, the new deadline for applications is January 6, 2019.


This position is part of the programme “Pride & Prejudice – Tackling chronic disease prevention through real-life monitoring and context-aware intervention design”, which is financially supported by the 4TU federation (see!/84378/awarding_hightech/).

Central to the Pride & Prejudice programme is the combination of monitoring in real-life through sensors (food intake, physical activity and health parameters) with the development of design interventions at different levels of the system (person, group, society), and evaluation of the (long-term) effectiveness of these combined interventions.… read more. “Job: Postdoc in Socially Adaptive Behaviour Support Agents at TU Delft”

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Japan’s Lovot robot is designed only to create emotional attachment

[The creator of the new Lovot robot and his team have made a series of design choices likely to increase medium-as-social-actor presence, as described in this story from Bloomberg (where it includes two more pictures). Excerpts from coverage in The Verge and Quartz follow below and provide more details, and see the English version of the Lovot website for much more information. –Matthew]

This New Japanese Robot Is Designed to Hack Your Emotion

By Pavel Alpeyev
December 18, 2018

With large attentive eyes and a plush body that’s warm to the touch, a new robot developed in Japan is designed to hack human emotions.

Looking like a cross between an owl and a penguin, the Lovot is meant to live at home, where it’s only job is to roam around the house, beg you for hugs and generally act as an adorable pet that helps you unwind after a long day.… read more. “Japan’s Lovot robot is designed only to create emotional attachment”

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Call: Advanced Techniques and Emerging Trends in Cyber-Social Computing – Special issue of Computers & Electrical Engineering

Call for Papers

Computers & Electrical Engineering
Special Issue on Advanced Techniques and Emerging Trends in Cyber-Social Computing

Paper submission deadline: December 31, 2018 (Extended)


The rapid development of Web 2.0, IoT and Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) has increasingly brought the physical, social and mental spaces intertwined together into the cyberspace. The cyber social networks have made people’s routine life and social activities seamlessly integrate together. This scenario is calling for the diversified computing paradigms and computational intelligence algorithms, to systematically model the new phenomena, behaviors, properties and practices in the cyberspace. New models, strategies, and technologies, ranging from network dynamics, cognitive informatics, and data analytics, can be developed to effectively process the heterogeneous human individual information along with the broad applications in the cyber-social computing environments. Numerous challenges to be tackled in this context include: How to efficiently manage and handle the massive available cyber social data generated from various sources?… read more. “Call: Advanced Techniques and Emerging Trends in Cyber-Social Computing – Special issue of Computers & Electrical Engineering”

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2018’s political mess is a boon for VR escapism in 2019

[This opinion piece from The Next Web offers the kind of big picture perspective on presence that I find particularly interesting and important. The author makes logical if depressing predictions about how we will use and be impacted by presence-evoking technologies (she uses the term explicitly) in the year and years ahead. Note: This version is very lightly edited for typos. –Matthew]

2018’s political mess is a boon for VR escapism in 2019

By Alice Bonasio
December 25, 2018

As the late screenwriting legend William Goldman famously said; “nobody knows anything” so predictions – especially about technology – always run the risk of making people look silly in the not-so-distant-future.

That said, I’m going to go out on a limb and say in the next few years we’re going to see more people becoming “Virtual Reality Refugees.” By which I mean immersive technologies will provide increasingly attractive alternatives for those wishing to escape the dreamlike madness that has overtaken our real world.… read more. “2018’s political mess is a boon for VR escapism in 2019”

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Jobs: 2 Doc/PostDoc positions in Social Robotics at RWTH Aachen University, Germany

PhD candidates or PostDocs

Department of Society, Technology, and Human Factors
Human Technology Center (HumTec)
RWTH Aachen University
Aachen, Germany

Application deadline: January 31, 2019

The group “Individual and Technology” at RWTH Aachen University, Germany (Prof. Dr. Astrid Rosenthal-von der Pütten; is looking for two highly motivated research assistants/associates (PhD candidates or PostDocs). The group Individual and Technology is part of the Department of Society, technology, and Human Factors and affiliated with the Human Technology Center (HumTec) at RWTH Aachen University ( Our research and teaching focuses on media psychology, human-technology interaction, artificially intelligent systems, social robotics, and media neuroscience.


  • You have (or soon will obtain) an University degree (Master or equivalent) or a Doctorate/PhD for PostDocs in psychology, computer science, HCI or cognitive science
  • You have profound knowledge in one (or ideally more) of the following areas: media psychology, human-technology interaction, social robotics, artificially intelligent systems
  • You have a strong interest in interdisciplinary research and research questions at the intersection of (media) psychology, cognitive science and computer science
  • You have experience in planning and conducting human-technology interaction studies and in statistical analysis of self-report and interaction data
  • You have programming skills or are interested and willing to familiarize yourself with programming
  • Experience with a robot platform (e.g.
read more. “Jobs: 2 Doc/PostDoc positions in Social Robotics at RWTH Aachen University, Germany”
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Celebrating Christmas 2018 virtually

[Here are three short stories about how people are using technology to celebrate Christmas virtually this year. I wish you all a wonderful, restorative Christmas and holiday season, mediated by technology and otherwise! –Matthew]

[The first story, from Patch, is about a “virtual Santa sleigh ride” attraction in Chicago; for more details see ABC7 TV’s 3:37 minute news report. For coverage of other attractions see “Mindful of Amazon, malls take the Santa experience high-tech” in the Chicago Tribune.]

[Image: Source: O The Places We Go, where you can watch the 1:23 minute sleigh ride video]

Water Tower Place Debuts First in the Country Virtual Santa Sleigh Ride

Claire Vartabedian (community member)
November 15, 2018

This winter, Santa is coming to town in style with a fun seasonal adventure at one of Chicagoland’s premier shopping destinations. Water Tower Place is partnering with Portable North Pole (PNP), a web and mobile platform that specializes in creating customized Santa videos, to bring a unique virtual sleigh ride experience exclusively to Chicago.… read more. “Celebrating Christmas 2018 virtually”

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