ISPR Presence News

Monthly Archives: November 2020

Job: Professor in Media and Health Communication at KU Leuven

[Note especially the fourth research area under “Duties > Research.” –Matthew]

Call for Applications

Full-time Professor position in Media and Health Communication
Leuven School for Mass Communication Research
Department of Communication Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences
KU Leuven (Belgium)
(ref. ZAP-2020-182)
https://www.kuleuven.be/personeel/jobsite/jobs/55921882?hl=en&lang=en

Application deadline: February 22, 202

The fulltime professor position (open-rank) will be held within the Leuven School for Mass Communication Research, a research unit within the Department of Communication Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, KU Leuven (Belgium). KU Leuven represents a leading academic institution in Europe that is currently by far the largest university in Belgium in terms of research funding and expenditure. The university’s mission is to provide excellence in academic education and research and to offer a distinguished service to society. Owing to KU Leuven’s cutting-edge research, KU Leuven is a charter member of the League of European Research Universities (LERU) and is consistently ranked among the top 10 universities in Europe.… read more. “Job: Professor in Media and Health Communication at KU Leuven”

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How virtual reality simulators are changing law enforcement training

[This essay from American City & County by the CEO and founder of a company that makes them, describes how presence-evoking simulators are evolving to better prepare law enforcement for the challenges of their job, including the insidious role of biases regarding members of the public. –Matthew]

How virtual reality simulators are changing law enforcement training

By Bob Ferris, VirTra
28th October 2020

There’s a pressing need for improvements in effective police training. Officers need to hone their skills for managing crisis situations and de-escalating dangerous encounters. Repeatable and accurate training is required to build their resiliency to stress and encourage them to make the right decision based on proven methodologies.

But training doesn’t equal improvement – effective training equals improvement. By using virtual reality (VR) that places officers in consequential situations, departments are seeing significant improvements in de-escalation, decision making and better handling situations to keep both the public and the officers safe from harm.… read more. “How virtual reality simulators are changing law enforcement training”

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Call: “Worlds of Imagination: Media, Place and Tourism in Today’s Global World” Conference

CALL FOR PAPERS

Worlds of Imagination:
Media, Place and Tourism in Today’s Global World
April 7-9, 2021
Online conference / Erasmus University Rotterdam
https://www.worldsofimagination.eu/conference/

Submission Deadline: December 1, 2020

Confirmed keynote speakers:
Dal Yong Jin
Sangkyun Kim
Mimi Sheller
Peter Dieke
Lúcia Nagib
Matt Hills

INTRODUCTION

In today’s globalized, transnational and digitalized media environment, popular culture plays a significant role in the establishment and (re)negotiation of place identities and the ways in which people relate to physical locations. Traveling to film locations, participating in fan re-enactments or visiting theme parks are some of the varied and multifaceted ways in which the ties between people’s worlds of imagination and the real worlds they inhabit are made tangible through place.

This conference highlights the interconnections between media, tourism and place and aims to bring together the diverse perspectives, approaches and actors involved in this process while focusing on critical issues accompanying this multifaceted phenomenon.… read more. “Call: “Worlds of Imagination: Media, Place and Tourism in Today’s Global World” Conference”

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First person report: FDA-designated Breakthrough Device uses VR to treat chronic pain at home

[As reported by Pain News Network (PNN), a treatment that uses virtual reality (and apparently presence) to treat chronic pain has received “Breakthrough Device Designation” from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The beginning of the PNN report below is followed by an earlier first-person review of the AppliedVR device. For more information see a press release about the FDA designation via Business Wire, a three-minute video in the original PNN review (and YouTube), and the AppliedVR website. –Matthew]

[Image: Screenshot of AppliedVR Pain Care virtual reality content that visualizes the user’s breath. Source: “Self-Administered Skills-Based Virtual Reality Intervention for Chronic Pain: Randomized Controlled Pilot Study” in JMIR Formative Research. DOI: 10.2196/17293.]

FDA Designates First Virtual Reality Device for Chronic Pain

October 21, 2020
By Pat Anson, PNN Editor

AppliedVR, a Los Angeles-based virtual reality company, has announced that its EaseVRx headset has received Breakthrough Device Designation from the Food and Drug Administration for treating fibromyalgia and chronic intractable low back pain.… read more. “First person report: FDA-designated Breakthrough Device uses VR to treat chronic pain at home”

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Job: Asst Prof in Emerging Communication Technologies and Social Media at The College of New Jersey

Call for Applications

Full-Time Tenure Track Assistant Professor Position in Emerging Communication Technologies and Social Media for Fall 2021
Department of Communication Studies
The College of New Jersey (TCNJ)
Ewing, New Jersey
(Position 20001246)
https://tcnj.taleo.net/careersection/00_ex_faculty/jobdetail.ftl?job=20001246&lang=en

Review of applications will begin on December 15, 2020 and will continue until the position is filled.

The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), Ewing, New Jersey, is an engaged learning community that is committed to promoting a diversity of thought and experience. We believe that a diverse, equitable and inclusive campus and curriculum are critical to our educational mission. Tenure track faculty contribute to the College’s values of inclusive excellence through outstanding teaching, research/scholarship, and service to the department and college, and by providing academic advisement and mentoring to/for all students. Faculty are expected to engage deeply with their students to fulfill the campus mission to provide a personalized, collaborative, and rigorous education that engages students at the highest level within and beyond the classroom.… read more. “Job: Asst Prof in Emerging Communication Technologies and Social Media at The College of New Jersey”

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The problematic fakery of Lil Miquela explained: An exploration of virtual influencers and realness

[This thoughtful, link-filled essay from Forbes considers the complicated swirl of issues surrounding the use and effects of virtual influencers and fictional digital characters more generally. See the original version for four more images. –Matthew]

[Image: She’s in on it. Credit: Lil Miquela via Instagram]

The Problematic Fakery Of Lil Miquela Explained—An Exploration Of Virtual Influencers and Realness

Matt Klein, Contributor, “Studying culture and the interplay of our technology and psychology”
November 17, 2020

Just as robots replaced the factory workers, and the drive-through workers were outsourced to India, those employed to yacht the world, drink fat-burning smoothies and just be attractive are getting furloughed too. Stars—they’re just like us.

Influencers are being upended by Virtual Influencers, and these CGI avatars may be disrupting something even more integral: truth.

We’ve already been mystified by their soft edges and been made uncomfortable with their attractiveness.… read more. “The problematic fakery of Lil Miquela explained: An exploration of virtual influencers and realness”

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Jobs: Jr/Sr research positions at Immersive Realities Research Lab in Switzerland

Call for Applications

(Senior) Research Associate / Post Doc in AR/VR (50-100%)
Immersive Realities Research Lab
Lucerne School of Information Technology
Switzerland
https://recruitingapp-2678.umantis.com/Vacancies/2018/Description/1

Applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis with interviews ideally taking place in mid-December 2020

The Lucerne School of Information Technology is the first school in a Swiss university of applied sciences to be devoted to IT. The new Zug-Rotkreuz campus offers bachelor degree programmes in Digital Ideation, Computer Science, Information and Cyber Security, International IT Management and Business Information Technology and master’s degree programmes in Engineering and Business Information Technology. Rounding out the School’s offer are attractive continuing education courses and applied research and services. It is one of six Schools making up the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts with its 1800-plus staff and 11,500 or so degree and continuing education students.

The Immersive Realities Research Lab was established in 2018 and investigates how people use augmented and virtual reality technologies.… read more. “Jobs: Jr/Sr research positions at Immersive Realities Research Lab in Switzerland”

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Study examines concurrent sharing of an avatar body by two individuals in virtual reality

[The press release below from Toyohashi University of Technology via EurekAlert! describes an interesting new study of human behavior while sharing control of an avatar. The original version includes a second image and a 32 second video; the full paper is available from iScience and includes a 1:40 minute version of the same video. –Matthew]

[Image: Movements of two participants were averaged into a shared avatar. The participants observed the shard avatar in a head-mounted display as their own body. When they reached for a target using the avatar’s hand, the avatar’s movement was observed as straighter and less jerky when compared to their own individual movements. Credit: Toyohashi University of Technology.]

Concurrent sharing of an avatar body by two individuals in virtual reality

Humans prioritize movement of a shared body over their own movements

November 10, 2020

The COVID-19 crisis has led to a significant increase in the use of cyberspace.… read more. “Study examines concurrent sharing of an avatar body by two individuals in virtual reality”

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Call: CUI 2021- 3rd International Conference on Conversational User Interfaces

Call for Papers

CUI 2021 – 3rd International Conference on Conversational User Interfaces
Hybrid Event (online and on site at Bilbao, Spain)
27-29 July 2021
https://www.conversationaluserinterfaces.org/2021/
@CUI_Conference

Full paper submission deadline: February 12, 2021

There has been an increasing interest in language-based interactions with technology. Driven by the commercial success of intelligent personal assistant devices such as Alexa and Google Home, the number of natural language and conversation-based interactions is growing in commercial settings. Following the successful inaugural ACM In-Cooperation conference in 2019 and the virtual conference in 2020, CUI 2021 aims to further develop a collaborative community around human-computer interaction issues in speech and language technology, with a specific interest in theory-based and applied scientific issues in the field of speech and text-based conversational user interfaces. Thus CUI 2021 further looks to bring together relevant communities (e.g. ISCA, ACM SIGCHI, CogSci) to publish, disseminate and showcase high-quality cutting-edge research related to the field, promote insight and debate in this interesting and important discipline within language interfaces.… read more. “Call: CUI 2021- 3rd International Conference on Conversational User Interfaces”

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Virtual reality forests could help understanding of climate change

[An NSF funded interdisciplinary project is using presence to help people better understand the impacts of climate change by simulating the experience of walking through a forest at different points in time. See the original story from Penn State University for two short videos (also available from YouTube here and here). Science Times adds this:

“Aside from forests, which are Earth’s natural carbon sinks, the model can also be used to create other global-warming related events such as bushfires, floods, droughts, melting glaciers, and loss of biodiversity. Another goal would be to communicate how the Earth has evolved not only between today and the future, but ecology in the past as well.”

See also a September 2020 ISPR Presence News post about Arizona State University’s work with Dreamscape to create a virtual wildlife sanctuary for biology students. –Matthew]

[Image: A Wisconsin type forest created in virtual reality to illustrate the effects of climate change scenarios on the trees and forest. read more. “Virtual reality forests could help understanding of climate change”

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