ISPR Presence News

Author Archives: carrie

Study of avatar effects on users in video games, virtual worlds

[From the web site of the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Texas at Austin]

Avatars Can Surreptitiously and Negatively Affect User in Video Games, Virtual Worlds, Research Shows

AUSTIN, Texas-Nov. 10, 2009-Although often seen as an inconsequential feature of digital technologies, one’s self-representation, or avatar, in a virtual environment can affect the user’s thoughts, according to research by a University of Texas at Austin communication professor.

In the first study to use avatars to prime negative responses in a desktop virtual setting, Jorge Peña, assistant professor in the College of Communication, demonstrated that the subtext of an avatar’s appearance can simultaneously prime negative (or anti-social) thoughts and inhibit positive (or pro- social) thoughts inconsistent with the avatar’s appearance. All of this while study participants remained unaware they had been primed. The study, co-written with Cornell University Professor Jeffrey T.… read more. “Study of avatar effects on users in video games, virtual worlds”

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UAB virtual enterprise turns 3-D simulations into teaching, rehabilitation tools

[From The Birmingham (Alabama) News]

UAB virtual enterprise turns 3-D simulations into teaching, rehabilitation tools

By Anna Velasco — The Birmingham News
November 30, 2009, 11:50AM

Virtual reality has gotten a lot more real.

It has, at least, at the UAB department of mechanical en­gineering, where faculty and students are working on a three-dimensional lab that will allow simulation of everything from surgery to skiing snow­covered slopes. The University of Alabama at Birmingham got the hardware — known as VisCube — for the lab earlier this fall, and engineers are writing software for use in many disciplines, including medicine, dentistry, physical therapy and engineering.

A person wearing specialized glasses can step into an area with screens on three sides and immerse into a simulation. The person can “touch” and interact with the simulation by waving a motion-tracking wand.

The engineers are still in the design phase of the software, but they anticipate creating programs that not only allow surgeons to practice a particular operation but to practice it on a virtual replica of the patient they intend to operate on.… read more. “UAB virtual enterprise turns 3-D simulations into teaching, rehabilitation tools”

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Virtual BBQ restaurant Air Yakiniku

[From the New York Times blog The Moment; a 2:12 minute video is available here]


July 20, 2009, 2:12 pm

Now Online | Air Yakiniku, Food for Thought


When the virtual restaurant Air Yakiniku appeared online last January, it became both an instant success in Japan (where else?) and one of the more curious signs of these globally lean times. The “restaurant,” a Korean barbecue, works like this: once you´re on the site, you´re given an apron to print out and wear to keep “grease” from splattering on your computer. I´m not joking. Then you´re asked to choose from slices of pork, chicken or beef, which a hand splays out on a full-screen sizzling BBQ spit.  Visitors are encouraged to have (real) bowls of rice and dipping sauce on hand as they watch and listen to their beef crackle and char.… read more. “Virtual BBQ restaurant Air Yakiniku”

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Comcast Center HD Video Wall gets a dose of 3D for the holidays

[From Engadget HD; the web story includes photos and video; a story about last year’s display follows below]

Comcast Center HD Video Wall gets a dose of 3D for the holidays

by Richard Lawler Nov 26th 2009 @ 3:01PM

Probably hoping to avoid our prediction of possibly getting old over time, Comcast is introducing a new wrinkle for the 2009 Holiday spectacular on its $22 million 2,000 sq ft high-definition video wall — 3D. It’s the first time this has played on the wall, with a 19 minute video complete with scenes of rural PA and downtown Philadelphia. Stop by the Comcast Center between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. to grab some complementary 3D specs and check it out.


[From the Philly Chit Chat blog; see a 45 second video taken during last year’s show here. ]

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Comcast Holiday Lights Show in the Lobby

Move over Macy’s there’s a new kid in town.… read more. “Comcast Center HD Video Wall gets a dose of 3D for the holidays”

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A long-distance robot relationship

[From The MIT Technology Review Editors blog]

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Long-Distance Robot Relationship

Telepresence robots could soon be available for remote workers.

By Kristina Grifantini

Last week, as I tapped a laptop keyboard in Massachusetts, a humanoid robot whirled around a lab in California. I tapped more slowly and the robot turned until I saw Trevor Blackwell, CEO and founder of telepresence company Anybots, which manufactures the robot, in the laptop window.

“There’s a mirror over there,” Blackwell said, pointing, and I tapped the keys again until I was facing it. I saw a slender, wheeled robot with two cameras and a small square video screen on its head displaying the real me. This was QB (pictured above), the latest Anybots robot, which is just about to go into private beta testing.

I tried out QB at the 2009 IEEE conference on Technologies for Practical Robot Applications (TePRA) conference, where I also met Erin Rapacki, Anybots’ newest employee.… read more. “A long-distance robot relationship”

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Call: Chapters for Multiple Sensorial Media Advances and Applications

Proposals Submission Deadline: 12/20/2009

Multiple Sensorial Media Advances and Applications:
New Developments in MulSeMedia
A book edited by Dr. George Ghinea (Brunel University), Dr. Frederic Andres (CVCE/NII), and Dr.
Stephen Gulliver (University of Reading)


Traditionally, multimedia applications have primarily engaged two of the human senses – the audio and the visual – out of the five possible. With recent advances in computational technology, it is now possible to talk of applications that engage the other three senses, as well: tactile, olfaction, and gustatory. This integration leads to a paradigm shift away from the old multimedia towards the newmulsemedia – multiple sensorial media.

Recommended Topics

Mulsemedia brings with itself new and exciting challenges and opportunities in research, industry, commerce, and academia. This book solicits chapters dealing with mulsemedia in all of these areas.… read more. “Call: Chapters for Multiple Sensorial Media Advances and Applications”

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Cyberpets: All creatures great and virtual

[From the UK’s Independent]

Cyberpets: All creatures great and virtual

They’re cleaner, tamer and more obedient than real animals – and the newest cyber-pets are more ‘life-like’ than ever, says Toby Green

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

They don’t bite, they don’t make a mess on the carpet and they don’t cost anything to feed. The appeal of virtual animals is clear. Both cute and attentive, they treat you as if you are the centre of their world – without any vet’s fees. Video games involving animals are perfect family fun, and come in many forms.  Virtual pets have been particularly popular – over 70 million Tamagotchi toys, the Japanese handheld digital pet, have been sold, while the Nintendogs series, in which the player looks after a virtual puppy on their DS, has been a major seller for Nintendo since its launch in 2005.… read more. “Cyberpets: All creatures great and virtual”

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Second Life steps into the enterprise

[From InformationWeek]

Second Life Steps Into The Enterprise

Companies can now run their own, private version of the virtual world in their data centers, for added security and control.

By Mitch Wagner
November 4, 2009 10:10 AM

Second Life is attracting a cult following among businesses, who say the virtual world gives them richer collaboration than teleconference calls or video conferences. But Second Life still has limitations that pose barriers to enterprise adoption.

One of the major limitations is that Linden Lab, which developed and operates Second Life, runs the service on its own server farms. This software-as-a-service model creates problems for user control and confidentiality of sensitive conversations.

But Linden Lab is working to change that. The company plans on Wednesday to launch open beta for Second Life Enterprise, a $55,000 hardware appliance that enterprises can install in their data centers. … read more. “Second Life steps into the enterprise”

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Birthing mannequins help students prepare

[From The Orlando Sentinel via]

Birthing mannequins help students prepare

By Fernando Quintero The Orlando Sentinel | Posted: Sunday, November 15, 2009

ORLANDO, Fla. — The group of University of Central Florida nursing students stood at a laboring mother’s bedside, their eyes glued to laptop screens that monitored both her and her baby’s heartbeats.

“I feel really strange. There’s something pulsating between my legs,” she said, her chest rising and falling. Then, she screamed. “The baby’s coming!”

Moments later, a baby boy cried and kicked, his umbilical cord still pulsating.

The day’s lesson was on mother and child pre- and post-delivery assessment following natural childbirth. The patients, however, were quite unnatural.

Meet Birthing Noelle and Baby Hal, the newest addition to UCF College of Nursing’s growing group of simulated patients. The life-sized, computerized mannequins have pulses, breathe, move, speak and cry.… read more. “Birthing mannequins help students prepare”

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AR now and in the future

[From The Lubbock (Texas) Avalanche-Journal]


Duff: Augmented Reality may be next big thing, but it’s still science fiction

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal
Friday, November 13, 2009
Story last updated at 11/13/2009

Today’s buzzword is Augmented Reality.

The technical definition is, “a display in which simulated imagery, graphics, or symbology is superimposed on a view of the surrounding environment.”

In plain English, Augmented Reality allows you to view things in the real world with computer graphics and text added to it.

There are already a variety of AR applications in development. iPhone application developers are working on apps that can help you find friends, taxis, bathrooms, restaurants and dating prospects by overlaying information over the view captured by the phone’s camera.

This is kind of a clumsy way to do AR, but it’s the best we can do until we make the leap to goggles or contacts.… read more. “AR now and in the future”

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