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Author Archives: Matthew Lombard

Call: 2nd Workshop on Interface and Experience Design with Artificial Intelligence for VR/AR (DAIVAR 2018)

Call for Long/Short Papers, Abstracts, Demos and Posters

In conjunction with the IEEE Artificial Intelligence Virtual Reality (AIVR) Conference
10th-12th December 2018
Taichung, Taiwan

  • Workshop proceedings published in an Scopus indexed proceedings series
  • Best papers will be published as edited book, or journal special issue

Submission Deadline: 14th October 2018

Submission System:

The objective of this workshop is to invite scholars and practitioners to discuss synergies between interface and experience design in artificial intelligent reality virtual and augmented environments. The aim is to gather a cross-disciplinary team of contributors researching HCI related issues contributing to this fascinating newly emerging domain. We especially seek contributions from experts with a background in computer science, HCI, psychology/cognitive sciences, culture/communication studies, design and art to develop this fascinating intersection. Aspects can range from user-experience, technologies supporting end-users, practical applications, methods, content production, cultural implications, communication theories, up to more artistic approaches in artificial intelligent interaction.

While AI’s main aim is to replicate human intelligence, AR and VR focuses its research efforts on the creation of artificial worlds either in complete virtual world, or as part of our physical environment. Many examples that bridge the two fields have emerged recently, e.g. intelligence in digital games and the utilization of computer graphics hardware for deep learning and AI. Philosophical discussions around issues arising in this new area range from ideas when things start to think to Alan Turing’s work. In this workshop, we would like to raise a question: what would happen when artificial worlds start to think, and how we humans can interact and communicate with AI through e.g. affective interfaces? Thus, while AI and VR/AR went rather distinct research pathways, we attempt to bring them together, and discuss different aspects at the intersection of machine intelligence and human interaction in a mixed reality.

The workshop intends to attract a broad range of contributions to develop this scholarly field during a full day venue. As the emphasis is on creating the synergy between VR/AR and AI/ML, we are not limited to particular areas; instead, the following exemplary topics might help to gather ideas for a possible contribution: affective and emotional computation, communication with AI, digital game analytics, utilization of computer graphics hardware for deep learning, personalization and recommender systems, UX with agents and physical robots, cultural robotics, or AI in information visualization.

The workshop program stretches over a full-day, and will contain a combination of invited keynote presentations, oral presentations, posters, and demonstrations.

The workshop proceedings will be published in a Scopus indexed proceedings series, and the very best contribution will be published in an edited book from a highly reputable publisher which has been pre-arranged. Depending on the quality and amount of contributions, we are also considering to publish a journal special issue within an indexed publisher.

TOPICS OF INTEREST (BUT NOT LIMITED TO) Read more on Call: 2nd Workshop on Interface and Experience Design with Artificial Intelligence for VR/AR (DAIVAR 2018)…

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Children can be swayed by robot peer pressure, study says

[I wish Cliff Nass could weigh in on the latest tests of the Computers Are Social Actors (CASA) paradigm; this story from The Washington Post summarizes and provides links for intriguing recent work that explores how children and adults respond to robots. More information about the replication of the Asch conformity studies is available in the University of Plymouth press release and in coverage from The Verge and Gizmodo (which both specifically discuss CASA) and a critique is presented in The Next Web. –Matthew]

Children can be swayed by robot peer pressure, study says

By Carolyn Y. Johnson, Reporter
August 15, 2018

When the robot revolution arrives, we all know the plot: Smarter machines will supersede human intelligence and outwit us, enslave us and destroy us. But what if it’s not artificial intelligence we have to fear, but artificial stupidity? What if it isn’t robot overlords that pose the greatest risk but our willingness to trust robots, even when they are clearly wrong?

As huggable social robots tricked out with humanlike facial expressions and personalities have begun to infiltrate our homes, experts are beginning to worry about how these machines will influence human behavior — particularly in children and the elderly. If people turn out to be easily swayed by robots, after all, the coming world filled with robot co-workers, caregivers and friends could hand immense power to marketers, rogue programmers or even just clumsy reasoning by robots.

“There is this phenomenon known as ‘automation bias’ that we find throughout our studies. People tend to believe these machines know more than they do, have greater awareness than they actually do. They imbue them with all these amazing and fanciful properties,” said Alan Wagner, an aerospace engineer at Pennsylvania State University. “It’s a little bit scary.”

A new study published in Science Robotics reveals how easily robots can influence the judgment of children, even when the robots are clearly in error — raising warning flags for parents and anyone thinking about the need for regulation. In the experiment, two groups of children, between 7 and 9 years old, were asked to complete a simple task: choose which two of several lines are the same length. One group did the task alone, and the other did the task while seated at a table with three autonomous robots that gazed at the same puzzle, paused and answered the question — incorrectly. The children who faced misleading robot peer pressure did less well, and three-quarters of their wrong answers were the same as the robots’ bad answers. Read more on Children can be swayed by robot peer pressure, study says…

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Call: 17th European Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (ECSCW 2019)


ECSCW 2019 – The 17th European Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work
Salzburg (Austria)
8-12 June 2019

Paper submission deadline: October 26, 2018

ECSCW is a single-track conference that contributes to developing an interdisciplinary and global community, sponsored by EUSSET, the European Society for Socially Embedded Technologies. The conference format facilitates critical discussion across disciplinary and national borders in the field. An overview of earlier ECSCW conferences (and proceedings) is available at

Submitted papers documenting original, rich, and in-depth contributions to CSCW will follow a journal-level review process. Accepted submissions will be published in Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): The Journal of Collaborative Computing and Work Practices, a journal with a high impact factor of 1.784.

Upon acceptance of the paper for the journal, authors are requested to present their work at the conference.

Authors are invited to submit papers to ECSCW 2019 that help further the field of computer-supported, cooperative work, addressing themes that include, but are not limited to:

  • Empirical investigations of collaborative practices. Findings, guidelines, and/or studies related to communication, collaboration, and social technologies, practices, or use.
  • System design. How can we support cooperative work in increasingly complex, networked settings? Hardware, architectures, infrastructures, interaction design, technical foundations, algorithms, and/or toolkits that enable the building of new social and collaborative systems and experiences.
  • Methodologies and tools. Methods for investigating human practices: the nature of ethnography and the role of other innovative methods and tools in building systems or studying their use.
  • Theories. Critical analysis or theory with clear relevance to study or design of collaborative settings and systems.
  • Domain-specific social and collaborative applications. Including applications to digital civics, grassroots movements, healthcare, transportation, ICT4D, sustainability, education, accessibility, global collaboration, or other domains.
  • Ethics and policy implications. Analysis of the implications of socio-technical systems, the values that inform them, and the algorithms that shape them.
  • Crossing boundaries. Studies, prototypes, or other investigations that explore interactions across disciplines, distance, languages, generations, and cultures, to help better understand how to transcend social, temporal, and/or spatial boundaries.
  • Design fictions. Discussions and extrapolations of work-practices and technologies, which make a contribution to the core topics of ECSCW. For examples of design fictions from other conferences, please see Proceedings of GROUP 2016 and GROUP 2018 in the ACM Digital Library.

Read more on Call: 17th European Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (ECSCW 2019)…

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AR app platform LAVA turns vinyl records into 3D ‘music you can see’

[This short story from Adweek describes a clever new use of augmented reality to evoke presence; see the original for the 1:04 minute video, and coverage in designboom for more information, the video and several more images. –Matthew]

W+K Amsterdam’s AR App Can Turn a Vinyl Record Into a Mind-Bending Lava Lamp

Agency launches LAVA platform with 11-track album

By David Griner
August 2, 2018

One of the most fascinating tech demos I saw at this year’s Cannes Lions was unfortunately also one I wasn’t allowed to talk about—until today. Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam has launched an augmented-reality platform that blends art and music, creating 3-D animations that hover over a vinyl record and correspond with the specific track that’s playing.

To roll out the platform, the agency partnered with Amsterdam musician Necessary Explosion on his 11-track debut album, SOS. Listeners who download the Necessary Explosion iOS app can watch what W+K describes as “psychedelic AR sculptures that accompany the soulful, ’70s vibe of each song.”

No vinyl record? No problem, you can still watch the animations while listening to the album on Spotify or Apple Music.

You can watch a sample of the AR experience [in the original story or on Vimeo].

What’s hard to convey in such footage is the ability, when used in real life, to move around the player and view the animations from multiple angles. I even pressed the phone into the 3-D creations to see what’s inside, revealing layers of the animation you won’t see from a distance.

LAVA was created by W+K Amsterdam’s Department of New Realities innovation hub in partnership with W+K Portland’s Lodge creative technology group.

The Wieden team worked closely with the musical artist to create animations based on his creative interpretation of each song, and they note that future projects will be stylistically unique to each musician who uses the platform. Read more on AR app platform LAVA turns vinyl records into 3D ‘music you can see’…

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Call: GOODTECHS 18 Special Session on Serious Games to Improve Quality of Life


4th EAI International Conference on
Smart Objects and Technologies for Social Good
Special Session on Serious Games to Improve Quality of Life
Bologna, Italy
28 – 30 November 2018

Extended submission deadline: 3rd September 2018

Gamification techniques and serious games are often used to capture and maintain user’s attention. This is particularly important when dealing with young patients or people with special needs. Patient’s collaboration is crucial for doctors to perform a good diagnosis, and to provide an efficient therapy, but it cannot always be taken for granted. Moreover, serious games are proved to be an efficient tool to incentivize people to improve their lifestyle, e.g., making more physical activity. This track will feature new insights, research, and practice on how to design, develop and use gamification and persuasive technologies to create serious games and applications to improve individuals’ Quality of Life (QoL) and behavior, with a particular focus on people with disabilities.

The track targets researchers, doctoral students, practitioners and other people interested in presenting, discussing, reflecting and networking on central themes associated with the development and use of serious games and applications to help people with special needs. Papers on both theoretical aspects and design method of gamification techniques and serious games are welcomed, which describe and evaluate novel design methods and system prototypes. In addition, the track welcomes full research and work in progress papers and educational cases.

GOODTECHS 18 will be held in Bologna, Italy, from the 28th to 30th of November 2018.


Suggested topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Serious game design for better lifestyle promotion
  • Serious games for people with disability
  • Games for Education and Learning
  • Gamification
  • Pervasive Systems
  • Assistive Technologies
  • Persuasive solutions
  • Methods, models and principles for gamification design
  • Usability and accessibility issues
  • Games for Health and Well-Being
  • Serious Games for social inclusion

Read more on Call: GOODTECHS 18 Special Session on Serious Games to Improve Quality of Life…

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Be Another Lab uses VR and presence to bridge cultures and promote mutual understanding

[This is an encouraging story about people using technology to create presence experiences that bring people together. It’s from Crosscut, where the original includes a second image and a 2:17 minute video. –Matthew]

[Image: The “Machine to be Another” virtual reality environment creates experiences in which you can embody someone else. On the left, a participant is immersed in the first-person story being told in the video as a facilitator gently mimics the motions happening on screen. On the right, the video as seen through a VR headset. Credit: Still image from video by Aileen Imperial/KCTS 9)]

Can virtual reality transform your reality?

A new experience goes beyond the headset to bridge connections and build empathy.

by Brangien Davis
August 16, 2018
Video by Aileen Imperial

Standing in the busy railway station in Utrecht, Netherlands, I feel a billow of air whoosh across my face with each arriving train. I see people pour off the platform and into the corridor; they make quick eye contact with me and walk past. All around, I hear the cacophony of mass transportation. And inside my head, a voice: “I work here in Amsterdam with two other trans guys — we’re called the transketeers.” Two young men walk up to me, smiling warmly. One gives my arm a gentle squeeze and the physical sensation makes me feel grounded, among friends.

Except this isn’t me and I’m not here. I’m in someone else’s body.

This body- and border-crossing moment comes courtesy of The Machine to Be Another, a sci-fi sounding virtual reality (VR) experience developed by an international collective called the Be Another Lab. The group’s focus is on creating empathy-driven experiences that “bridge cultures and promote mutual understanding.”

By combining high-tech VR with low-tech physical interactions (in the above example, a facilitator waved a clipboard back and forth to create the “air” from the trains, and clasped my arm at the same moment as the transketeer in the headset video), the Be Another Lab creates so called “embodied narratives” — academic lingo for stories you feel in your body.

The Lab is compiling first-person day-in-the-life stories from all over the world, and transforming them into embodied narratives for a project called the Library of Ourselves. The idea is that by using The Machine to Be Another, people will be able to “check out” stories and get a full-body, tangible sense of another way of life. Read more on Be Another Lab uses VR and presence to bridge cultures and promote mutual understanding…

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Call: Transhumanism – Special issue of the Journal Scientia et Fides


The Journal Scientia et Fides (ISSN: 2300-7648; E-ISSN: 2353-5636)
Special Issue on Transhumanism, edited by Leandro M. Gaitán (Universidad de Navarra)

Submission deadline: March 1, 2019

During the last two decades, the transhumanist metanarrative has been generating a lot of controversy, both in academic circles and in public opinion. Its proposal of a radical transformation and even of overcoming the human condition by technological means, entails a diversity of both theoretical and practical problems. From the theoretical perspective, some problems are the potential advantages and risks of transhumanism, personal identity, new alterities (robots, cyborgs, etc.), equality and social justice in a posthuman future, human/posthuman evolution, nature and nurture in transhumanism, history of transhumanism, literature and transhumanism, death and immortality, religion and transhumanism, and the meaning of life in a posthuman world. From the practical perspective, some problems are hybridization human-machine, ethics of physical, cognitive, and moral enhancement, defense/security, AI and enhancement, sports and enhancement, and cryonics and mind uploading. The great interest aroused by transhumanism can be observed in the growing number of publications, conferences and workshops that have been dedicated to it. Following this line, Scientia et Fides welcomes submissions of articles concerning (but not limited to) the abovementioned topics.

Read more on Call: Transhumanism – Special issue of the Journal Scientia et Fides…

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First-person report: Why VR is a game-changer for my meditation practice

[In this story from Brit + Co the author reports on her experience using an Oculus Go meditation program; as you’d expect, spatial presence and presence as transportation and immersion play important roles. –Matthew]

Why Virtual Reality Is a Game-Changer for My Meditation Practice

Sarah Garone
Aug 15, 2018

Virtual reality is cropping up everywhere, so it only makes sense that this immersive technology would eventually make a foray into meditation. But what’s it like to meditate with more than just your own consciousness to help you along? Is VR-assisted meditation distracting? Strange? Peaceful? When the folks at Oculus Go offered to let me try out the Guided Meditation app on their VR headset, I had the chance to find out.

Upon first learning about this app, I was a bit skeptical about how I would like it. In my previous experiences with virtual reality, I’ve basically been the person you see in embarrassing YouTube videos groping the air in front of them blindly and screaming in terror on imaginary roller coasters. Plus, I’m more than a little bit claustrophobic, so I harbored some concerns that I might want to rip the device off my head before I even got started.

But I did it anyway, fueled by the belief that new experiences are good for me. Perhaps this app could serve as an interesting avenue for stress relief, I thought, or a helpful tool for overcoming some of the challenges I face in meditation. Here’s what happened… Read more on First-person report: Why VR is a game-changer for my meditation practice…

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Call: Pedagogy in Virtual Worlds – Ten Year Perspective issue of Journal of Virtual Worlds Research

Call for Proposals
Special issue of Journal of Virtual Worlds Research

Abstract submission deadline: August 20, with publication Q4-2018

Pedagogy in Virtual Worlds – Ten Year Perspective will be a special issue on pedagogy and learning in immersive environments to be led by guest editor Dr. Kenneth Y T Lim, from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore


2019 marks the tenth anniversary of a landmark issue of the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, which was themed on ‘Pedagogy.’ Volume 2 Number 1 of the journal was the fruition of a vision of the late Leslie Jarmon. Dr. Jarmon was a pioneer academic in the use of virtual worlds and immersive environments for learning, and the issue at the time (2009) – was the cutting edge of academic thought on what the affordances of virtual worlds are, and how they could be leveraged for learning.

Much has changed since the heady days of the late 2000s, yet many aspects have proved enduring.

This issue aims to document both the present and emerging state-of-the-art, covering the adoption, design, enaction, scaling and translation of immersive and/or mixed-reality environments for learning, and in other contexts of education.

Topics that would be of relevance to this issue include, but are not limited to:

  • The use of virtual worlds and / or immersive environments for learning
  • Mixed-modality / mixed-reality learning environments
  • Augmented reality in contexts of education
  • Virtual reality in contexts of training and / or instruction
  • Emerging research / late-breaking research on such environments with respect to learning
  • Think-pieces on the future of virtual worlds / mixed-reality environments for learning
  • The scaling of such interventions and their translation in to different contexts of learning

SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS Read more on Call: Pedagogy in Virtual Worlds – Ten Year Perspective issue of Journal of Virtual Worlds Research…

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VR and presence help caregivers, family members understand what it’s like to have Alzheimer’s

[In a very positive application of presence, virtual reality is being used to provide caregivers and family members a first-person experience of what it’s like to have Alzheimer’s disease, as reported in this story from the Chicago Tribune. See also the 2013 ISPR Presence News post “Virtual dementia experience for aged care workers.” –Matthew]

[Image: Ann Brennan, director of volunteer services for Chicago Methodist Senior Services, puts a virtual reality headset on Amber Davis at Hartwell Place in Andersonville, as she prepares to go through a lab designed to help caregivers understand how it feels to live with dementia. Credit: Kristan Lieb / For the Chicago Tribune.]

What does it feel like to have Alzheimer’s? Virtual reality programs may help you find out

Lisa Schencker, Chicago Tribune
August 14, 2018

After experiencing the world as a woman with Alzheimer’s disease, Ana Lebron took off her virtual reality headset and began to cry.

She couldn’t pinpoint which part of the experience left her in tears. After all, she works with Alzheimer’s patients every day as an activities coordinator at assisted living facility Hartwell Place in Andersonville.

But when she put on that headset and tried to navigate a virtual grocery store, the lights were overpowering, and the food labels were fuzzy. When people spoke to her, their words were distorted. Her virtual family members shot her frustrated glances before they understood why she kept forgetting holidays, faces and how to cook.

“This brings it home even more,” Lebron, said of the experience.

With 5.7 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s, care facilities and schools are continuously searching for ways to better train caregivers. In recent years, some schools and facilities have turned to a new approach: virtual reality. By putting on a headset, caregivers and others can experience life through the eyes and ears of an individual with Alzheimer’s, even hearing that person’s thoughts. Read more on VR and presence help caregivers, family members understand what it’s like to have Alzheimer’s…

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