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Author Archives: Matthew Lombard

Job: Internship in Augmented Reality for Environmental Applications at Luxembourg Inst of Sci and Tech (LIST)

MASTER STUDENT INTERNSHIP IN AUGMENTED REALITY FOR ENVIRONMENTAL APPLICATIONS (M/F)

Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST)
Duration: 6 months during Spring/Summer 2018
Place: Belvaux, Luxembourg

https://www.list.lu/en/jobs/interns/internship-offer/erin-2018-intern-004/

CONTEXT

The “Environmental Research and Innovation” (ERIN) department of LIST has an opening for an Intern position. The intern will be integrated in the e-Science unit, which focuses on data analytics & visualization and their applications.

DESCRIPTION

Climate change is foreseen to cause an increasing number of extreme events. In addition, the population is nowadays very sensitive to various types of pollution due to human activities. Managing environmental disasters such as flooding, biological or chemical damage is a complex task which requires a sound level of situational awareness. This internship project will focus on using augmented reality technologies to assist those managing an environmental disaster, with a particular emphasis on information visualisation in a multi-user setting.

The intern will focus on developing new augmented reality interfaces for a chosen scenario which will leverage an existing platform developed at LIST. The project will involve software and hardware engineering challenges, alongside more research oriented topics such as visualisation and situational awareness.

The e-Science unit has a number of Horizon 2020 projects with partners from across Europe working on related topics. Therefore the intern will have the opportunity to work alongside international partners from these projects.

PROFILE Read more on Job: Internship in Augmented Reality for Environmental Applications at Luxembourg Inst of Sci and Tech (LIST)…

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U.S. Army deletes bureaucracy to develop advanced training simulations

[This story from Breaking Defense outlines the U.S. Army’s current efforts to create effective presence illusions to train soldiers. Note especially the “Four Parts” section. –Matthew]

[Image: Army aviators train in a CH-47 Chinook simulator.]

War Games: Army Deletes Bureaucracy To Get Sims Fast

There is real uncertainty whether such things as robotic tanks and high-speed scout helicopters are possible on the Army’s timeline. But if there’s one area where a high-speed approach can work, it’s training simulations, where the Army can piggyback on the rapid development in commercial gaming.

By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.
April 20, 2018

FORT BELVOIR: To train its troops for future wars, the US Army wants to build the ultimate video game. To get that game ASAP, the Army is blowing up the usual bureaucracy and borrowing high-speed development techniques from private sector software companies.

The service has already held two industry days on different aspects of the technology, with a third coming up in May, and combat soldiers have already tried out some industry offerings, said Maj. Gen. Maria Gervais. She’s the head of the Army’s Synthetic Training Environment effort, which was launched just last fall.

Some software will be ready to go on the Army’s new multi-function helmet-mounted display, the ENVG-B, when it enters service in December, Gervais said. A full augmented reality training system will be ready by 2021, complete with interior maps of buildings around the world and simulated civilians going about their day.

It’s not the typical Army process, Gervais told me in an impromptu interview on the sidelines of an Army tech demonstration here. Instead, she said, her Cross Functional Team — so-called because it pulls together experts from across the Army — is working intimately with industry in a tight cycle: “let me see the products you have, let’s give you feedback, let’s continue to develop this thing, over and over.”

Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley [has] set some ambitious goals for his Big Six modernization program. There is real uncertainty whether such things as robotic tanks and high-speed scout helicopters are possible on his timeline. But if there’s one area where a high-speed approach can work, it’s training simulations, where the Army can piggyback on the rapid development in commercial gaming.

Four Parts

Just to make it more complex, there are four interdependent pieces that Gervais is developing in parallel. Read more on U.S. Army deletes bureaucracy to develop advanced training simulations…

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Job: Research Associate on Digital Narratives (DiNar) project, University of York

Research Associate Position
Digital Narratives (DiNar) project
Digital Creativity Labs, University of York, UK
Vacancy reference: 6590

Closing date: 01 May 2018
Interview date: 11 May 2018

Find out more and apply: https://goo.gl/aPkZAL

We seek an outstanding interdisciplinary researcher for a six month fixed term position as a Research Associate on the Within the Walls of York Gaol project. Within the Walls of York Gaol is an interdisciplinary and multi-institutional project set up to research the application of Virtual Reality technology within a museums context. The project is situated in York’s Digital Creativity (DC) Labs (http://www.digitalcreativity.ac.uk), an impact-driven research centre that explores and develops new forms of digital creativity and interactive media experience. The post is funded by the AHRC Next Generation of Immersive Experiences funding scheme and will be part of a collaborative project between the University of York, University of Glasgow and York Museums Trust.

The Within the Walls of York Gaol project investigates the use of Virtual Reality to deliver enhanced experiences of museums and heritage environments to audiences. The focus of the project will be on the re-interpretation of York Castle Museum Debtor’s Prison using immersive technologies. The successful candidate will play a central role in the development and evaluation of experimental immersive installations and will work closely with staff from all of the collaborating institutions. Read more on Job: Research Associate on Digital Narratives (DiNar) project, University of York…

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The Uncanny Valley of haptics

[This first-person report on research conducted by Microsoft and the California Institute of Technology on haptic illusions and how to use them to create presence illusions is from Scientific American’s Observations blog, where it includes more images, a 1:14 minute video, and author bios. –Matthew]

If (Virtual) Reality Feels Almost Right, It’s Exactly Wrong

How adding touch to VR can lead to an “uncanny valley” of sensations—and what we can do about it

By Mar Gonzalez-Franco, Christopher C Berger and Ken Hinckley
April 19, 2018

We can all remember the crisply beveled edges of our cheery-yellow No. 2 pencil, the cool, smooth feel of a chalk-powdered blackboard, the gritty red bricks of the schoolhouse walls. Surely that all wasn’t just an illusion?

No, of course not.

But—as it turns out—it kind of is.

The sense of touch (and indeed, all of our senses) is more or less illusory because no sensation stands alone. Stretch out your hands and snap your fingers. This, of course, feels very real. But you’re seeing your fingers, hearing your fingers, and feeling your fingers—and all of these sensations fully correspond.

Now, what if they didn’t?

Virtual Reality (VR) is a great tool for revealing this strange and otherworldly foundation of our everyday sensory perceptions. Sneaky (but, of course, highly ethical) experimentalists such as ourselves can render a completely computer-generated world. If we hand you a pair of controllers that can vibrate on command, we can play tricks.

We can even use this simple apparatus to produce a sensation of touch that “feels like” it originates in the completely empty space between your outstretched hands—an experiment we discuss in our paper in the current issue of Science Robotics. Read more on The Uncanny Valley of haptics…

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Call: VR/AR Conference: VR and AR to Enhance Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

VR/AR Conference 2018:
Virtual & Augmented Reality to Enhance Learning and Teaching in Higher Education
September 12th, 2018
Swansea University
Swansea, UK
http://www.swansea.ac.uk/vr-in-teaching/
http://www.swansea.ac.uk/vr-in-teaching/vr-conference/

Submission deadline: June 8, 2018

Swansea will be hosting our first VR/AR conference on September 12th 2018. The theme will be Virtual and Augmented Reality to Enhance Learning and Teaching in Higher Education.

Read more on Call: VR/AR Conference: VR and AR to Enhance Learning and Teaching in Higher Education…

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Japanese company makes virtual shadow boyfriends to help protect women who live alone

[This story from SoraNews24 describes an unusual example of presence; see the original version for more images and seven videos. For more information see the Leo Palace 21 website. –Matthew]

Japanese company makes virtual shadow boyfriends to help protect women who live alone

Silhouettes of karate fighters, bodybuilders, and domestically dedicated dudes make would-be criminals think you’ve got a live-in boyfriend.

Casey Baseel
March 31, 2018

Not only is Tokyo Japan’s largest city in terms of population, it’s also where you’ll find, by far, the most educational, economic, and artistic opportunities. Because of that, many young people head to Tokyo when they move out of their parents’ home, in order to be closer to their workplace or college.

Because most Japanese people don’t really like the idea of having a roommate, a lot of these young people end up living alone, including young women. But while Tokyo is much safer than large cities in many other countries, crimes do happen, and criminals often consider young women who live alone to be easy targets.

To help address this problem, and also to put the minds of female tenants at ease, apartment management company Leo Palace 21 has developed what it calls the Man on the Curtain system, which is shown starting at the 1:15 mark in the [3:29 minute] video [in the original story].

Using a projector controlled by/attached to a smartphone, Man on the Curtain throws a silhouette of a man onto your curtains, so that when people outside look at your windows, there will appear to be a guy inside, thus masking that you live alone. Read more on Japanese company makes virtual shadow boyfriends to help protect women who live alone…

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Call: “When Robots Think. Interdisciplinary Views on Intelligent Automation.” (Conference)

Call for Papers

When Robots Think.
Interdisciplinary Views on Intelligent Automation
November 14–16, 2018
Münster, Germany
http://iasymposium.rwth-aachen.de/

Submission deadline for talk abstracts: July 31st
Submission deadline for poster abstracts: August 15th

In Western societies, we are surrounded by artificially intelligent systems. Most of these systems are embedded in online platforms like Facebook. But embodiment of AI, be it by voice (Siri, Alexa, Cortana) or by actual physical embodiment (as in the case of robots) give artificially intelligent systems another dimension in terms of their impact on how we perceive these systems, how they shape our communication with them and with fellow humans and how we live and work together. The purpose of the conference is to bring together some of the best national and international researchers to discuss and evaluate the state of the art of intelligent automation and its impact on individuals and society. To achieve this goal, the conference is divided into five sections: Read more on Call: “When Robots Think. Interdisciplinary Views on Intelligent Automation.” (Conference)…

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Tangible and social: Virtual reality at Tribeca Immersive

[All kinds of interesting presence experiences are available in Tribeca Immersive programming at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. This overview is from The Villager, where the story includes more images. –Matthew]

[Image: The Tribeca Film Festival will have an early look at the recently announced “Shadow of the Tomb Raider” game. Image courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival]

Tangible and social: Virtual reality at Tribeca Immersive

April 18, 2018
By Charles Battersby

The stereotype of Virtual Reality (VR) is an isolated person sitting alone in a room, their head sealed within a helmet, master of a lonesome utopia. Early efforts at VR often met this cliché — but the “Tribeca Immersive” programming at the Tribeca Film Festival (TFF) aims to make virtual reality a more tangible and social experience. Tribeca Immersive includes a Virtual Arcade of VR experiences (Apr. 20-28), along with a festival of films shot in 360 degrees. Both are running at the same time at TFF this month (Apr. 18-29), and will give even hardcore VR users an excuse to leave home and experience these site-specific installations at the festival’s headquarters.

Almost any smartphone can be converted to a VR rig, but the top-end hardware continues to grow more elaborate. In the last two years, Tribeca Immersive had experiences that used motion-sensing controllers, and digital cameras that recorded the user’s movements around a room. This year, the event goes even further, with VRs that stimulate the senses using scent, heat, and elaborate physical set pieces. Read more on Tangible and social: Virtual reality at Tribeca Immersive…

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Call: “Human Computer Interaction in Education” special issue of Multimodal Technologies and Interaction

Call for Papers

“Human Computer Interaction in Education” a special issue of Multimodal Technologies and Interaction (ISSN 2414-4088)

Guest Editors:
Dr. Omar Mubin, Western Sydney University, Australia
Dr. Mohammad Obaid, Uppsala University, Sweden

Submission Deadline: 28th June, 2018

OVERVIEW:

Technology-enabled education and pedagogy has, in recent times, gained ascendancy due to the advancements in digitisation and the overall acceptance of blended forms of learning. Learning mechanisms driven by technology (MOOCs, tablets, smart devices, social media, intelligent artefacts) provide a number of overarching benefits to the learner’s experience (such as engagement, proficiency, ease of use, profiling and customisation). Gradually, the mediation between teacher, student and technology has extended beyond 2D mediums to 3D and physical embodiments such as humanoid robots and agents. With the uptake of such novel forms of interaction both in the classroom and at home, several key questions are now being raised related to their effectiveness, particularly due to saturation, technical considerations, cultural differences, ensuing isolation of the teacher and learner distraction amongst others. Therefore, in order to discuss these and many other similar interesting viewpoints; in this Special Issue we call for submissions related to the entire spectrum of educational technology, specifically related to the design, implementation and evaluation of such forms of digital advancements.

TOPICS OF INTEREST:

  • Educational Robots
  • Educational Technology
  • Inclusive Educational Technology
  • HCI In Education (HCI Curriculum)
  • STEM Learning
  • Novel Interaction Methods and Techniques for Education (VR/AR, Robots, Mobile Computing, Tabletops, NUI’s, Haptics and Tangible artifacts)
  • User studies/case studies/Reflections on Educational Technology
  • Overview or survey articles on Educational Technology
  • HCI related aspects in Blended Learning and other digital mediums such as social media
  • Serious Games (for Education)
  • Adaptive Educational Technologies
  • Educational Technology from a Teacher/Tutor/Instructor Perspective

Read more on Call: “Human Computer Interaction in Education” special issue of Multimodal Technologies and Interaction…

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Medium-as-social-actor presence: Should robots be granted ‘personhood’?

[This interesting story reinforces the importance of medium-as-social-actor presence today and into the future. It’s from Politico and unlike a lot of the coverage of the issue isn’t sensationalized or simplistic; see the original version for more images. –Matthew]

Europe divided over robot ‘personhood’

In letter to Commission, 156 experts from 14 countries warn against adopting EU Parliament proposal.

By Janosch Delcker
April 11, 2018; Updated April 13, 2018

BERLIN — Think lawsuits involving humans are tricky? Try taking an intelligent robot to court.

While autonomous robots with humanlike, all-encompassing capabilities are still decades away, European lawmakers, legal experts and manufacturers are already locked in a high-stakes debate about their legal status: whether it’s these machines or human beings who should bear ultimate responsibility for their actions.

The battle goes back to a paragraph of text, buried deep in a European Parliament report from early 2017, which suggests that self-learning robots could be granted “electronic personalities.” Such a status could allow robots to be insured individually and be held liable for damages if they go rogue and start hurting people or damaging property.

Those pushing for such a legal change, including some manufacturers and their affiliates, say the proposal is common sense. Legal personhood would not make robots virtual people who can get married and benefit from human rights, they say; it would merely put them on par with corporations, which already have status as “legal persons,” and are treated as such by courts around the world.

But as robots and artificial intelligence become hot-button political issues on both sides of the Atlantic, MEP and vice chair of the European Parliament’s legal affairs committee, Mady Delvaux, and other proponents of legal changes face stiffening opposition. In a letter to the European Commission seen by POLITICO and expected to be unveiled Thursday, 156 artificial intelligence experts hailing from 14 European countries, including computer scientists, law professors and CEOs, warn that granting robots legal personhood would be “inappropriate” from a “legal and ethical perspective.” Read more on Medium-as-social-actor presence: Should robots be granted ‘personhood’?…

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