ISPR Presence News

Monthly Archives: September 2021

Job: Postdoctoral Research Associate for “Gesture: Modelling Virtual Humans” at University of Glasgow

Call for Applications

Postdoctoral Research Associate
Project: “Gesture: Modelling Virtual Humans”
University of Glasgow, Scotland
Vacancy Reference: 067467

Application deadline: 11 October 2021

We have an exciting opportunity for a Research Associate to make a leading contribution to the project Gesture: Modelling Virtual Humans.

Specifically, the post holder will research the design and realisation of virtual humans as well as evaluate the designs in human subject studies. Virtual humans are graphics based artificially intelligent characters that look and act like a person and can interact with a human using the same verbal and nonverbal behaviour that humans use. The work will specifically explore the relation in human face-to-face interaction between participants’ mental states and their nonverbal behaviour, use data-driven techniques to computationally model that relation, work with programmers to realise that model in a virtual human and experimentally evaluate its impact in interactions between humans and virtual humans.… read more. “Job: Postdoctoral Research Associate for “Gesture: Modelling Virtual Humans” at University of Glasgow”

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Researchers create holograms you can touch – you could soon shake a virtual colleague’s hand

[A new variation on the Pepper’s Ghost illusion that uses “affordable, commercially available parts to pair computer-generated graphics with carefully directed and controlled jets of air” is said to create a convincing sensation of touch for users, as described in this story from The Conversation. See the linked article in Advanced Intelligent Systems for more details and a video (in the “Supplementary Materials”). –Matthew]

[Image: Credit: Design_cells/Shutterstock]

We created holograms you can touch – you could soon shake a virtual colleague’s hand

By Ravinder Dahiya, Professor of Electronics and Nanoengineering, University of Glasgow
September 17, 2021

The TV show Star Trek: The Next Generation introduced millions of people to the idea of a holodeck: an immersive, realistic 3D holographic projection of a complete environment that you could interact with and even touch.

In the 21st century, holograms are already being used in a variety of ways such as medical systems, education, art, security and defence.… read more. “Researchers create holograms you can touch – you could soon shake a virtual colleague’s hand”

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Call: “Spatiality and Temporality” International Conference

Call for Papers

“Spatiality and Temporality” International Conference
Organised by London Centre for Interdisciplinary Research
12-13 February 2022

Deadline for proposal submissions: 1 November 2021

We are pleased to announce the Call for Papers for the upcoming “Spatiality and Temporality” International Conference. The conference is addressed to academics, researchers and professionals with a particular interest related to the conference topic. We invite proposals from various disciplines including philosophy, history, sociology, anthropology, culture studies, literature and architecture.

The conference will explore spatiality and temporality as fundamental categories of human experience and cognition and it will discuss various interpretations of these categories and complex relations between them. The conference will examine conceptions and perceptions of time and space in relation to memory, historical and social change, technological innovations, interactivity and cultural differentiation.

Papers are invited on topics related, but not limited, to:

  • time and space boundaries
  • monuments and historical sites
  • globalization and urban spaces
  • places made by nature
  • ruins and forgotten places
  • heterotopias and heterochronies
  • toponymy and topoanalysis
  • cartography and mapmaking

Proposals up to 250 words should be sent by 1 November 2021 to: more. “Call: “Spatiality and Temporality” International Conference”

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Face computers are poised to replace the smartphone

[Without using the term itself, this New York Times opinion column explains how a “face computer” evokes presence, with both positive and negative consequences, and predicts that the technology will replace our smartphones. While presence scholars will be familiar with many of the points made, one I hadn’t thought of concerns how wearing masks has increased our personal and social comfort with wearing something on our faces. –Matthew]

[Image: Credit: Claire Merchlinsky/The New York Times; photograph by RollingCamera, via Getty Images]

Apple and Facebook Are Coming for Your Face Next

By Farhad Manjoo, Opinion Columnist
September 16, 2021

It is difficult to avoid sounding vulgar, somehow, when discussing the future of facial computing. There is something inescapably crude, isn’t there, about the prospect of everyone walking around with computers on our faces?

And yet I suspect the world may adopt face computers anyway, and not long from now, perhaps even within the coming decade.… read more. “Face computers are poised to replace the smartphone”

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Call: 2nd International Furhat Conference on Social Robot Interactions

Call for Participation

2nd International Furhat Conference on Social Robot Interactions
Thursday 14th October 2021
3pm CEST, 9am ET, 9pm BJT
Online and Free

On behalf of the Furhat team, I am very happy to invite you to attend the second edition of the International Furhat Conference series. Held virtually, this half-day conference gathers leading scientists that will showcase the latest research in social robotics, as well as innovators who will share their experiences of developing engaging robot interactions. We will also showcase some of the latest features of the new updates to the Furhat platform, and aim to inspire how social robots can be used in existing and new research cases.

The Furhat Conference agenda can be seen here. The speaker lineup includes:

  • Tony Belpaeme (Ghent University, Belgium): Social robots: the ultimate dream but also the ultimate AI challenge
  • Gérard Bailly (CNRS, France): Training social robots: the devil is in the details
  • Sinisa Strbac (Tengai Unbiased, Sweden): How social robots are redefining the recruitment process
  • Maike Paetzel-Prüsmann (University of Potsdam, Germany): Rejected at first sight?
read more. “Call: 2nd International Furhat Conference on Social Robot Interactions”
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National Robotarium project uses “socially pertinent robots” and MASA presence to reduce patient anxiety

[An ambitious project titled “Socially Pertinent Robots in Gerontological Healthcare” (SPRING) utilizes medium-as-social-actor presence to assist hospital and care patients, as described in this story from The Scotsman based on information from the National Robotarium research centre. For more about SPRING, including a 2:55 minute video, see the Heriot-Watt University website and also the PAL Robotics site, and for more about the National Robotarium and other research projects there see the Centre‘s page of the Heriot-Watt University site and coverage in E&T. –Matthew]

Three National Robotarium-linked projects which have the potential to changes lives

Robots are rising to a range of modern challenges, from talking to anxious hospital patients to ensuring social distancing is observed to reducing risks to life in hazardous industrial settings.

Promoted by Heriot-Watt University
26th August 2021

The National Robotarium, a world-leading centre for robotics and artificial intelligence research at Heriot-Watt University, is at the forefront of this work – and its facilities will be significantly enhanced when a new dedicated building for the centre opens on the university’s campus in Edinburgh next year.… read more. “National Robotarium project uses “socially pertinent robots” and MASA presence to reduce patient anxiety”

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Job: Postdoctoral Researcher – Immersive Virtual Worlds at University of Georgia

Call for Applications

Postdoctoral Associate
Department of Advertising & Public Relations
Grady College of Journalism  & Mass Communication
University of Georgia
Athens, Georgia, USA
Posting Number: G/R14842P

Anticipated Start Date: November 01, 2021
Posting Date: September 10, 2021

Position open until filled


This position is funded by University of Georgia and the selected candidate will be positioned in Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. The position provides individuals who hold a doctoral degree with the opportunity to receive mentorship and training from researchers working on designing and implementing social science studies on immersive virtual worlds. The successful applicant will work closely with the principal investigator, Dr. Sun Joo (Grace) Ahn, and co-investigators to conduct current and planned research projects.

ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA… read more. “Job: Postdoctoral Researcher – Immersive Virtual Worlds at University of Georgia”

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Google’s new jaw-dropping AI photo upscaling tech makes it easier to evoke presence

[Google has developed a new way to create high resolution images from low resolution ones, meaning that it’ll be easier to create visuals that evoke presence for use in a variety of media. The original version of this PetaPixel story includes lots of examples; coverage in CineD mentions some possible applications:

“This approach could be a perfect fit for security cameras. Also, it could be used in post-production pipelines for not only single images, but for video, and computer graphics […], reducing the strain on the GPU. Future cameras could record 1080p images with better color reproduction and dynamic range and then be upscaled to 4K in post. Even Netflix [and other streaming services could benefit].”


Google’s New AI Photo Upscaling Tech is Jaw-Dropping

By Michael Zhang
August 30, 2021

Photo enhancing in movies and TV shows is often ridiculed for being unbelievable, but research in real photo enhancing is actually creeping more and more into the realm of science fiction.… read more. “Google’s new jaw-dropping AI photo upscaling tech makes it easier to evoke presence”

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Call: Human-Centered AI workshop at NeurIPS 2021

Call for Papers

Human-Centered AI workshop
At NeurIPS 2021 Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems
Monday 13 December 2021

Submission deadline (Extended): 25 September 2021 AoE

Human-Centered AI (HCAI) is an emerging discipline that aims to create AI systems that amplify and augment human abilities and preserve human control in order to make AI partnerships more productive, enjoyable, and fair. Our workshop aims to bring together researchers and practitioners from the NeurIPS and HCI communities and others with convergent interests in HCAI. With an emphasis on diversity and discussion, we will explore research questions that stem from the increasingly wide-spread usage of machine learning algorithms across all areas of society, with a specific focus on understanding both technical and design requirements for HCAI systems, as well as how to evaluate the efficacy and effects of HCAI systems.


  • CECILIA ARAGON, University of Washington, US.
read more. “Call: Human-Centered AI workshop at NeurIPS 2021”
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The tech behind the Carolina Panthers’ giant AR cat

[Video of augmented reality featuring the mascot of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers in the team’s stadium has gone viral; the technology behind the illusion is explained in this story from The Verge. Coverage from Yahoo! adds these details:

“’We started getting calls from around the world asking, What is this? And how can we do it?’ [the Famous Group owner Jon] Slusser said in an interview. ‘I definitely think this was a milestone in augmented reality.’
Soon after launching the raven, TFG was forced to pivot its business in response to COVID-19, working with organizations like ESPN, the Golden State Warriors and WWE to create virtual seat experiences. ‘Now that fans are back in the stadium, we are back to mixed reality, and this panther was kind of the intro back into that world,’ Slusser said.
In Houston, similar technology is being used directly for sponsor activations.… read more. “The tech behind the Carolina Panthers’ giant AR cat”

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