ISPR Presence News

Monthly Archives: June 2019

Call: Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction (TEI) 2020

Call for Papers

Fourteenth International ACM Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction
February 9-12, 2020
Sydney, OZ


August 3, 2019, 17pm AEST Papers submission deadline
October 19, 2019 Notification of acceptance
February 9-12, 2020 TEI conference in Sydney, OZ


May 1, 2019 SIGCHI Student Travel Award
December 15, 2019 ACM-W Scholarships for Attendance at Research Conferences


TEI2020 is the 14th annual conference dedicated to presenting the latest results in tangible, embedded, and embodied interaction. The ACM-TEI conference has gained substantial visibility and activity over the past decade. It brings together researchers, practitioners, businesses, artists, designers and students from various disciplines, including engineering, interaction design, computer science, product design, media studies and the arts.

This year marks the first TEI conference held in Australia. Our theme for 2020 is Future Bodies, Future Technologies. The theme invites participants to speculate on a vision of how technologies could interact and interweave with our bodies as they augment the embodied human experience. We consider technologies in the broadest sense: from traditional skills and crafts to novel applications of computational, electronic and physical materials.

Topics and application areas are diverse, including: human-augmentation, flexible and shape changing displays, haptic interaction, interactive surfaces, augmented and mixed reality, ubiquitous computing, public art and performance; social and wearable robotics, automotive, hybrid games, smart objects and cities, learning, planning, embodied cognition and perception, fashion, furniture, and architectural design, music and sound creation, as well as productivity and creativity tools in domains ranging from scientific exploration to non-linear narrative. We invite submissions from all of these perspectives: theoretical, philosophical, conceptual, technical, applied, and/or artistic.

The intimate size of this single-track conference provides a unique forum for exchanging ideas and presenting innovative work through talks, demonstrations, posters, art installations and performances, and participation in hands-on studios and theoretical workshops.

CONTRIBUTION TYPES Read more on Call: Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction (TEI) 2020…

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Virtual reality helps scare residents to flee looming storms, research says

[A new study demonstrates the effectiveness of virtual reality (and presence) in motivating people to evacuate when a hurricane is approaching. This short story is from Reuters; more information including a 1:38 minute video is available from lead author Jase Bernhardt’s Hofstra University webpage and the research report is available from the American Meteorological Society. –Matthew]

Read more on Virtual reality helps scare residents to flee looming storms, research says…

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Call: II. Zip-Scene Conference on Analogue and Digital Immersive Spaces

Call for Papers

II. Zip-Scene Conference on Analogue and Digital Immersive Spaces
Topic: Interactive Narratives – the Future of Storytelling and Immersion in mixed reality mediums and performing arts
10-12 November, 2019
Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, Budapest, Hungary

Abstract and bio deadline (extended): July 1, 2019

New digital tools provide novel opportunities for interactive digital narratives (IDN) in mixed reality environments, performance art and analogue immersive spaces. But does this mean that we can tell existing stories in a better way in these environments? Or should we change our way of thinking about how we perceive our world in order to create more comprehensive narrative experiences? In a recent keynote (ICIDS 2018 conference) Janet H. Murray – author of the groundbreaking volume Hamlet on Holodeck – the Future of Narrative in Cyberspace (1997/2016), reminds us that “a kaleidoscopic habit of thinking” can help us “envision a more integrated transformational future” and “open up the possibility of expanding our understanding of the world and our cognitive capacity” (Murray, 2018:17). To better grasp the complexity of the world, it is important to enhance emerging artistic practices in order to create opportunities for critical reflection while acknowledging the changed relationship between creators and audiences turned participants/prosumers/experiencers.

This conference aims to investigate whether XR/extended reality (VR/AR/MR) works will acquire a status comparable to film, performing arts and video games in the near future. On this basis, we are looking forward to papers that address narrative experiences enabled by XR and especially VR technologies. Papers should address either one or several of the following questions:

  • What kind of narratives can be used to create possibility spaces in such immersive productions?
  • How much engagement with and control over the narrative path is desirable for the audience turned participants?
  • What design strategies can guide these participatory experiences: for example, live performers, orchestrators, and set designers using the sensorium of New Horror (see Ndalianis, 2012) or somaesthetic design concepts (see Höök, 2018) to create novel forms of immersion in these environments?
  • What kind of design strategies can we use to provide a satisfying level of agency to participant audiences and provide opportunities for co-creation?
  • What is the current status of interactive digital narrative experiences, have they completed their evolution from being media of attraction (see Rouse, 2016) or there is still a long way for them to go in order to find the right direction?
  • What can we learn from a comparison of site-specific live arts productions with those of VR projects?
  • How can we explore free-form play and rule-based gaming as different types of performances within mixed-reality theatre and immersive theatre?

In addition, we want to challenge established storytelling strategies and instead more thoroughly analyze ways of creating engaging experiences:

  • What kind of principles of video game design do XR productions make use of (e.g. puzzle dependency charts and plot-shaped level design – see Short, 2019)?
  • What design strategies created the experience of full immersivity and presence for their users-turned-participants (see 2018/4 issue of the journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media).

Further developing Murray’s perspective on the ‘kaleidoscopic habit’, we expect presentations that engage with the practice of transdisciplinary creators to adapt video game mechanics, various sensorium settings and interactive narrative design strategies in order to create fully immersive environments. Possible analyzes can be on topics such as overall aesthetics authorial affordances, design principles and conventions (Koenitz et al, 2018) as well as the audience’s experience (especially engagement and empowering mechanisms) and, last but not least, as interactive narratives. Some possible perspectives include Murray’s affordances and aesthetic qualities of the digital medium, Bogost’s procedural rhetoric, Kwastek’s “aesthetics of interactivity”, somaesthetic design concepts (Höök), guiding strategies based on New Horror’s sensorium (Ndalianis, 2012) the trajectories offered by them (based on Benford-Giannachi’s concept) and interactive narrative systems (Koenitz, 2015).


  • Interactive storytelling methods
  • Interactive videos
  • Video games
  • Location-based technology (with augmented reality)
  • Virtual reality experiences&movies
  • Augmented reality in interactive storytelling
  • Games-based performing arts practices using new technology tools
  • Interactive Museum
  • Immersive environments (media archeology and phenomenological approach)
  • Transmedia storytelling

Proposals may be for a paper or a panel and should be related to at least one of the conference themes. Deadline for submitting the proposals is July 1, 2019. Please send us your abstract (max 350 words) and a short bio (max. 300 words) to the address: and please in CC: The papers will be reviewed by the conference committee. If your proposal will be accepted you will be given 20 minutes for your presentation. Read more on Call: II. Zip-Scene Conference on Analogue and Digital Immersive Spaces…

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With Photo Wake Up people magically move in and out of photographs, including in AR

[Watch the quick demos at the beginning of the 5:02 minute video in this story from UW News to see the potential of the new Photo Wake Up algorithm for creating compelling presence experiences; as one of the creators notes at the end of the story, “It can’t do everything yet, but this is just the beginning.” See the original story for four animated gifs, and follow the links below for more information. –Matthew]

[Image: Source:]

Behind the magic: Making moving photos a reality

Sarah McQuate, UW News
June 11, 2019

People moving in and out of photographs used to be reserved for the world of Harry Potter. But now computer scientists at the University of Washington have brought that magic to real life.

Their algorithm, Photo Wake-Up, can take a person from a 2D photo or a work of art and make them run, walk or jump out of the frame. The system also allows users to view the animation in three dimensions using augmented reality tools. The researchers will be presenting their results June 19 at the Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition in Long Beach, California. This research first attracted media attention when it was posted in preprint form in December on ArXiv.

“This is a very hard fundamental problem in computer vision,” said co-author Ira Kemelmacher-Shlizerman, an associate professor at the UW’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering. “The big challenge here is that the input is only from a single camera position, so part of the person is invisible. Our work combines technical advancement on an open problem in the field with artistic creative visualization.” Read more on With Photo Wake Up people magically move in and out of photographs, including in AR…

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Call: CONVERSATIONS 2019 – 3rd International Workshop on Chatbot Research

Call for Papers

3rd International Workshop on Chatbot Research
November 19, 2019
University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Paper submission deadline: August 25, 2019

Chatbot researchers are invited to CONVERSATIONS 2019, a full-day workshop on chatbot research. This is the third time we arrange this workshop where chatbot researchers meet to collaborate and share their experience and insights from their work. The workshop is free of charge, and a good place to actively participate in this rapidly advancing field.

Participants are encouraged to submit papers presenting new empirical or theoretical work, as well as research on chatbot design, concepts, and evaluation. Relevant paper topics include, but are not limited to, the key challenges identified below.

All papers will be peer reviewed by three members of the workshop program committee. Accepted full papers will be included in the workshop proceedings, published in the Springer LNCS series.

We encourage two kinds of submissions:

  • FULL PAPERS: Empirical studies, theoretical contributions, or presentations of design research (6-14 pages, Springer LNCS format) that advance the state-of-the-art. To be presented at the workshop and published in the workshop proceedings.
  • POSITION PAPERS: Author positions on open issues related to chatbot or chatbot demonstrations (3-6 pages, Springer LNCS format). To be presented at the workshop and published at the workshop webpage.

The objective of the workshop is to advance the state of the art on chatbot research, through cross-disciplinary sharing and collaboration. Join in on this opportunity to meet peers, share knowledge, and collaborate on future directions for chatbots and chatbot research.


  • August 25: Submission deadline
  • September 25: Author notification
  • October 25: Submission of revised papers
  • November 19: Workshop

KEY CHALLENGES Read more on Call: CONVERSATIONS 2019 – 3rd International Workshop on Chatbot Research…

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OSU using VR to train medical residents to take history of patients with limited English proficiency

[The Columbus Dispatch report below describes a new program that uses VR and social presence to train medical residents in an important part of their job; see the original story for a second image, and see coverage from WBNS 10 for a 1:11 minute video news report. –Matthew]

[Image: Douglas Danforth, the academic program director at Ohio State University’s College of Medicine explains a virtual reality program to residents. The program is being used to help residents get the medical history of patients who don’t speak English as a first language. Credit: Ellen Wagner/Dispatch]

Virtual reality patients give Ohio State medical residents hands-on experience

By Ellen Wagner, The Columbus Dispatch
June 19, 2019

Mr. Martinez is a patient at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center who is Hispanic, speaks little English and is suffering from back pain.

He also is not real.

Mr. Martinez is one of 13 virtual reality patients that residents use in training when learning how to take the history of a patient who has limited English proficiency.

The virtual patients are controlled by artificial intelligence and understand most of what the residents ask them as long as it is a reasonable question in a doctor-patient interaction, said Douglas Danforth, Ph.D, academic program director at Ohio State’s College of Medicine.

“It’s kind of like Siri or Alexa, but rather than just getting directions or getting your lights turned on, you can carry on a nuanced conversation,” he said.

On Tuesday, Danforth showed residents what the software looks like on a television screen featuring an animated man in an exam room. The residents then practiced speaking to the virtual patients through a virtual reality headset and an app on an iPad or web browser.

Residents started using the headsets for training about a month ago, and the university is looking to purchase more headsets, Danforth said.

Ohio State applied for funding and is sharing with five other medical schools in Ohio a $5.5 million grant from the Ohio Department of Medicaid, which wants to see virtual reality simulations created to enhance cultural competency in Medicaid providers.

The grant will be used to pay for four virtual training programs: the resident training as well as ones for building empathy for dementia patients, access to dental care for immigrant families and to help providers learn more about unconscious biases such as race, gender or other areas of which they are unaware but can affect their treatment of patients. Read more on OSU using VR to train medical residents to take history of patients with limited English proficiency…

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Call: “Workshop on emotions and emergent states in groups” at Affective Computing and Intelligent Interfaces 2019

Call for Papers

Workshop on emotions and emergent states in groups
@ 8th International Conference on Affective Computing & Intelligent Interaction (ACII 2019)
Cambridge, UK
September 3, 2019

Submission deadline (extended): June 24, 2019


The study of affect in groups, although a major goal of affective computing, has received relatively less attention compared to modeling individual affect. This is primarily because studying affect in an interactive, multiparty setting is more complex, and often, not very well defined outside specific applications. As group members explicitly and implicitly interact to coordinate their actions and achieve objectives, so-called emergent states also evolve over time. These include pivotal group phenomena such as trust, conflict, and cohesion. This workshop will provide a unique occasion to gather researchers and practitioners working on approaches for sensing, analyzing, and modeling group emotion and emergent states from a multidisciplinary perspective, including psychological, ethnological, sociological, pedagogical, and computational viewpoints.

Possible topics include:

  • Theoretical approaches to affective dynamics and resulting emergent states in groups
  • Research design: from controlled lab settings to groups in the wild
  • Data collection, annotation, and sharing
  • Approaches for analyzing and modeling groups taking into account emergent states and/or emotions
  • Integration of artificial agents (robots, virtual characters) in the group life by leveraging its affective loop: interaction paradigms, strategies, modalities, adaptation
  • Collaborative affective interfaces (e.g., for inclusion, for education, for games and entertainment)

Paper submissions: Read more on Call: “Workshop on emotions and emergent states in groups” at Affective Computing and Intelligent Interfaces 2019…

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David Chalmers on VR and AI

[Below are excerpts from a really interesting New York Times interview with Philosopher David Chalmers, first on the difference between intelligence and consciousness and how we can assess the status of an artificial intelligence, and then on the definition and nature of ‘real’ and ‘virtual’ reality. The full version of the interview includes additional intriguing insights. –Matthew]

[Image: David Chalmers is a leading thinker on consciousness. Credit: Demetrius Freeman for The New York Times]

‘There’s Just No Doubt That It Will Change the World’: David Chalmers on V.R. and A.I.

We will develop new worlds and beings with powers greater than our own. How do we maximize them for good?

By Prashanth Ramakrishna, a student at New York University in applied mathematics and computer science. His work has been published, most recently, in The Believer magazine.
June 18, 2019

Over the past two decades, the philosopher David Chalmers has established himself as a leading thinker on consciousness. He began his academic career in mathematics but slowly migrated toward cognitive science and philosophy of mind. He eventually landed at Indiana University working under the guidance of Douglas Hofstadter, whose influential book “Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid” had earned him a Pulitzer Prize. Chalmers’s dissertation, “Toward a Theory of Consciousness,” grew into his first book, “The Conscious Mind” (1996), which helped revive the philosophical conversation on consciousness. Perhaps his best-known contribution to philosophy is “the hard problem of consciousness” — the problem of explaining subjective experience, the inner movie playing in every human mind, which in Chalmers’s words will “persist even when the performance of all the relevant functions is explained.”

Chalmers is now writing a book on the problems of a technological future we are fast approaching: virtual reality, digitally uploaded consciousness, artificial intelligence and more. I met with David Chalmers in his office at New York University to discuss this future and how we might relate to it. Read more on David Chalmers on VR and AI…

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Call: BCI for (Media) Art and Games: Aalborg Workshop with ArtsIT 2019

Call for Papers

BCI for (Media) Art and Games: Aalborg Workshop
Workshop in conjunction with ArtsIT 2019 – 8th EAI International Conference: ArtsIT, Interactivity & Game Creation
November 6-8, 2019
Aalborg, Denmark:
BCI for Art and Games:

Submission Deadline: 10 August 2019


Brain-computer interfaces (BCI) have been used for entertainment, gaming, and artistic expression. These application areas for BCI have been explored in the previous decades. Although commercial applications hardly exist, the general public has been able to get acquainted with BCI and use BCI in artistic installations in urban public spaces, in museums, or during public scientific events. There are also BCI games. Such games can serve different purposes: entertainment (just fun), treatment of mental disorders, or rehabilitation. Affordable BCI devices and BCI software platforms have made it possible for artists and game designers to develop ideas and design installations and applications that do not require them to invest extensive and frustrating time in getting a BCI to work or tuning it to their application. Whether it is about games or artistic BCI installations, multiple users are often involved, and there is direct two-sided interaction between the user(s) and the BCI controlled environment. Moreover, in contrast to clinical BCI research, efficiency and robustness are not the most important issues.

The aim of this workshop is to review current (research) activities in BCIs for games, entertainment, and artistic expression and to identify research areas that are of interest for both BCI and HCI researchers as well as for game designers and media artists using BCI for their interactive installations. Hence, in addition to BCI researchers, game designers, artists, and performers are asked to contribute to this workshop with papers, presentations, and demonstrations.

Topics of the submissions may include, but are not limited to:

  • Design, implementation, and evaluation of BCI games and artistic BCIs;
  • Affective BCI in game, art and entertainment environments
  • BCI, Augmented and Virtual Reality, serious games;
  • The impact of BCI Hackathons on research and applications;
  • Multi-brain and multimodal interaction in game and artistic environments;
  • BCI environments for self-reflection, empathizing, and therapy;
  • BCI control of instruments and tools for games and artistic expression; and
  • Agency in BCI games and interactive art installations

Read more on Call: BCI for (Media) Art and Games: Aalborg Workshop with ArtsIT 2019…

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American Well, Cisco partner on TV-centered telehealth platform for seniors

[Note the vivid descriptions of presence experiences in this story from MobileHealthNews about a new effort to bring telehealth to television sets. A press release is also available from PR Newswire.–Matthew]

AmWell, Cisco partner on TV-centered telehealth platform for seniors

The companies pitched the upcoming service as a convenient in-home option for Medicare Advantage patients overwhelmed by digital apps.

By Dave Muoio
June 14, 2019

Seeking to better reach aging patients in their homes, telehealth company American Well has partnered with Cisco Systems on an upcoming effort to deliver virtual care through home television sets, the companies announced today at American Well’s annual Client Forum in Boston.

“This is a very, very different exercise than any of the tech health that we’ve done in the past, because this isn’t about people using an app to get a service,” Dr. Roy Schoenberg, president and CEO of American Well, said on stage during the event. “This is about the ability for us as healthcare to walk into granny’s bedroom, as if granny was under our jurisdiction, in our hospital or in our office. … [It’s] the ability for us in the healthcare world to knock, knock, knock on the other side of the glass of the television and say ‘Hey Sally, Dr. Jordan is here to see you. Can he come in?’ That is a fundamental change to the way we operate our healthcare system.”

The companies did not share any specifics on supplemental hardware for the in-home platform, whether it would include any major features outside of video-based doctor’s visits, or a potential launch date. However, they did note that privacy and patient consent considerations will play a role in its design.

WHAT’S THE IMPACT Read more on American Well, Cisco partner on TV-centered telehealth platform for seniors…

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