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Author Archives: Matthew Lombard

Jobs: Paid Summer Internships at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT)

Summer Internships at the University of Southern California (USC) Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT)
http://ict.usc.edu/academics/internships/

The official application process for 2019 ICT Summer Research Program is now open.

View the list of summer research program positions.
Apply now.

THE DEADLINE TO APPLY IS FEBRUARY 3, 2019

ICT offers select interdisciplinary paid internships for creative and technical students wishing to pursue careers in simulation, interactive media and virtual reality fields. ICT aims to create compelling immersive systems for effective learning for military, entertainment and educational purposes.

ICT will also be accepting applications for summer internships at the Army Research Lab West (ARL West), located in Playa Vista at the ICT facilities. ARL West positions will begin with “ARL” in the job title. The ARL West internships are paid through ICT/USC payroll.

PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

Students interested in participating in ICT’s and ARL West‘s Interdisciplinary Summer Research Programs should meet the following requirements:

  • Must be enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate student for the summer 2019 or fall 2019 semester at an accredited college or university in the U.S. or abroad.
  • Be able to commit to a 12-week summer program, full-time, with start and end dates that comply with the applicant’s school session calendar

Students are required to work full-time (40 hours per week) Monday through Friday. If you are interested in applying for a summer research position with ICT, please fill out an application.

Click here for a PDF of frequently asked questions.

If you have any other questions or concerns please email us at internprogram@ict.usc.edu.

All forms of communication regarding the summer research program must be directed to the above email address.

ICT OVERVIEW Read more on Jobs: Paid Summer Internships at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT)…

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From stinky to cookies: Orlando firm creates scents for virtual reality games, military training

[We focus so much on sights and sounds in creating presence it’s easy to forget the importance of smells; this story from the Orlando Sentinel briefly describes the work of one company that creates this part of the illusion – see the original version for a 2:11 minute video featuring the company’s president. –Matthew]

[Image: Global Technology Integrators works with chemicals to make 2,000 scents in all. This bottle contains “Custom 5009” – 90% Raw Seafood B, 5% Fire Damage, and 5% Cordite. Credit: Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda / Orlando Sentinel]

From stinky to cookies: Orlando firm creates scents for virtual reality games, military training

By Marco Santana, Orlando Sentinel
December 11, 2018

In a tiny office in east Orange County, a company called Global Technology Integrators is creating thousands of smells meant to bring even more life to virtual reality.

And that means the hallway that leads to GTI’s office can smell like chocolate chip cookies — or something really, really foul.

The company’s products are helping amusement parks, military trainers and others bring scents into VR, a technology that mostly has focused on sight and sound so far.

“It’s all part of that world that we can simulate to a user,’’ said CEO Tony Oxford, who started the business about three years ago. “Smell is the particular sense your mind hones in on before any other sense.” Read more on From stinky to cookies: Orlando firm creates scents for virtual reality games, military training…

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Call: European Conference on the Impact of AI and Robotics (ECIAIR 2019)

Call for Papers

European Conference on the Impact of AI and Robotics (ECIAIR 2019)
31 October – 1 November
Oxford, UK
https://www.academic-conferences.org/conferences/eciair/eciair-call-for-papers/

Abstract submission deadline: 11 April 2019

This is a first call for papers for the European Conference on the Impact of AI and Robotics (ECIAIR 2019) being hosted by EM-Normandie Business School, Oxford, UK 31 October – 1 November.

The European Conference on the Impact of AI and Robotics (ECIAIR 2019) has come about as a result of the maturing of artificial intelligence and robotics, particularly of the cognitive computing kind, which is producing an unprecedented revolution in the role of work and professionals in society. This Conference aims to focus not so much on the technology itself, but rather its consequence on knowledge work and society. We are looking for research with a broad set of approaches including the future of the professions; knowledge networks enabled by cognitive computing and other technologies; education issues; collaborative robots; ever-more autonomous machines and their relationship with humans; whether we will need to demand ethical or at least acceptable social behaviours on the part of machines; considerations on assigning personhood to machines; to name a few topics.

Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • The consequences of AI and robotics on knowledge work and society
  • The future of the professions
  • Enabling knowledge networks with cognitive computing and other technologies
  • Collaborative robots
  • The impact of ever more autonomous machines and their relationship with humans
  • Ethical and acceptable social behaviours
  • Sectorial applications of AI including:
    • Fintech and the financial services industry
    • Life sciences and healthcare
    • Utilities and transport management services
    • In the development of Smart-cities
    • In government
    • In education

We would also welcome applications of AI to solving some of the World’s global challenges such as to improve the health and wellbeing of children and young people in growing urban environments around the world; to help civilisation migrate from hydrocarbons to non-fossil sources of energy and other activities to mitigate the climate crisis; to contribute to the continued eradication of extreme poverty in the World. Read more on Call: European Conference on the Impact of AI and Robotics (ECIAIR 2019)…

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France’s Molotov creates a VR coffee shop to watch TV together

[A company in France is launching a streaming TV service for virtual reality; this story from TechCrunch describes what it’s like to use it to create a social presence viewing experience. See the original version for two more images. –Matthew]

Molotov creates a VR coffee shop to watch TV together

Romain Dillet
December 11, 2018

French startup Molotov is slowly becoming the leading platform to stream TV in France. With a single account, you can watch TV on your phone, tablet, computer and set-top box. The company is about to release a VR app that lets you watch TV using a virtual reality headset — but there’s a twist.

The new service is called Molotov Together and is an interesting experience in many ways. I tried an early version of the service a couple of weeks ago. Read more on France’s Molotov creates a VR coffee shop to watch TV together…

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Call: ACM Intelligent Virtual Agents Conference – IVA 2019

Call for Papers

ACM Intelligent Virtual Agents Conference – IVA 2019
2-5 July 2019
Paris, France
https://iva2019.sciencesconf.org

Submission Deadline: March 1, 2019

The 19th ACM International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVA) will be held on July 2-5 2019 in Paris, France. The conference is organized by CNRS, Sorbonne University and Paris-Saclay University (France), and sponsored by ACM-SIGAI.

The IVA conference started in 1998 as a workshop on Intelligent Virtual Environments at the European Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Brighton, UK, which was followed by a similar one in 1999 in Salford, Manchester, UK. Then dedicated stand-alone IVA conferences took place in Madrid, Spain, in 2001, Irsee, Germany, in 2003, and Kos, Greece, in 2005. Since 2006 IVA has become a full-fledged annual international event, which was first held in Marina del Rey, California, then Paris, France, in 2007, Tokyo, Japan, in 2008, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, in 2009, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, in 2010, Reykjavik, Iceland, in 2011, Santa Cruz, USA, in 2012, Edinburgh, UK, in 2013, Boston, USA, in 2014, Delft, The Netherlands, 2015, Los Angeles, USA, 2016, Stockholm, Sweden, 2017. IVA 2018 was held in Sydney, Australia.

PAPER SUBMISSION

We invite submissions of research full papers on a broad range of topics, including but not limited to: theoretical foundations of virtual agents, agent modeling and evaluation, agents in games and simulations, and applications of virtual agents. Extended abstracts presenting late breaking work are also welcome.

IVA 2019 is the 19th meeting of an interdisciplinary annual conference and the main leading scientific forum for presenting research on modeling, developing and evaluating Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVAs) with a focus on communicative abilities and social behavior. IVAs are interactive digital characters that exhibit human-like qualities and can communicate with humans and each other using natural human modalities like facial expressions, speech and gesture. They are capable of real-time perception, cognition, emotion and action that allow them to participate in dynamic social environments. In addition to presentations on theoretical issues, the conference encourages the showcasing of working applications.

IVA 2019’s special topic is “Social Learning”, that is learning while interaction socially; agents can learn from the humans and humans can learn from the agents. Agents can take different roles such as tutors, peers, motivators, coaches in training and in serious games. They can act as job recruiter, virtual patient, and nurse to name a few applications. With this topic in mind we are seeking closer engagement with industry and also with social psychologists.

For more information, please visit the IVA 2019 website:
https://iva2019.sciencesconf.org

The papers and extended abstracts will be published in the ACM digital library. All submissions will be reviewed via a double-blind review process. Read more on Call: ACM Intelligent Virtual Agents Conference – IVA 2019…

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Facebook wins patent for human-eye ‘retinal’ resolution VR headset

[Many factors interfere with effective presence illusions in virtual reality but image resolution is one of, if not the, most important. This story from UploadVR describes industry efforts to address the problem. The original story includes four more pictures, and read the comments section for some interesting insights. –Matthew]

Read more on Facebook wins patent for human-eye ‘retinal’ resolution VR headset…

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Call: Free online lecture: “The Appreciator’s Performance. Virtual Reality and The Ontology of Art”

University of Padova, Aesthetics Lecture Series 2018/2019

“The Appreciator’s Performance. Virtual Reality and The Ontology of Art”
Enrico Terrone (University of Barcelona)

Monday, December 10, 2018, 16.30-18.30 (CET)

The talk will be live-streamed and will remain available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOmB1kCTJ9c&feature=player_embedded

Read more on Call: Free online lecture: “The Appreciator’s Performance. Virtual Reality and The Ontology of Art”…

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The robot waiters in this Japanese cafe are controlled by people with paralysis

[Here’s a great example of how telepresence can make it possible for people to participate in activities they’d otherwise be excluded from. See the original story from Digital Trends for two videos. –Matthew]

Read more on The robot waiters in this Japanese cafe are controlled by people with paralysis…

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Call: 32nd International Conference on Computer Animation and Social Agents (CASA 2019)

Call for Papers

32nd International Conference on Computer Animation and Social Agents (CASA 2019)
July 1-3, 2019
Paris, France
https://casa2019.sciencesconf.org

Submission deadlines: March 1, 2019 (full papers), April 15, 2019 (short papers)

The 32nd International Conference on Computer Animation and Social Agents (CASA 2019) will be held on July 1-3, 2019 in Paris, France. The conference is organized by Sorbonne (France), in cooperation with ACM-SIGGRAPH, under guidance of the Computer Graphics Society (CGS).

CASA was founded in 1988 in Geneva, Switzerland, and it is the oldest international conference in computer animation and social agents in the world. In the last ten years, CASA was held in Korea (2008), Netherlands (2009), France (2010), China (2011), Singapore (2012), Turkey (2013), United States (2014), Singapore (2015), Switzerland (2016), Korea (2017), China (2018).

[WARNING: There is a conference called ICCASA 2019 that claims to be the 21st International Conference on Computer Animation and Social Agents in Bali in January 2019. This conference is not the official CASA and is launched by an organization World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology that is unfortunately very famous for its predatory publishing practices. Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Academy_of_Science,_Engineering_and_Technology)

Please note that no paper submitted to ICCASA 2019 in Bali will be published in the journal Computer Animation and Virtual Worlds. Only accepted papers submitted to CASA 2019 in Paris will be published in the journal.]

PAPER SUBMISSION

We invite submissions of research full papers, short papers, and posters on a broad range of topics, including but not limited to Computer Animation, Embodied Agents, Social Agents, Virtual and Augmented Reality, and Visualization (see below for a detailed list).

For more information, please visit the CASA 2019 website:
https://casa2019.sciencesconf.org

28 accepted full papers will be recommended to publish in a special issue of the Computer Animation and Virtual Worlds Journal published by Wiley (CAVW). The short papers and posters will be published in the ACM digital library. All submissions will be reviewed via a double-blind review process. Read more on Call: 32nd International Conference on Computer Animation and Social Agents (CASA 2019)…

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The future of VR gaming is in arenas

[This story from The Daily Dot describes MassVR’s new presence-based gaming environment, designed to offer more settings and social interaction than competing models. See the original story for more pictures. –Matthew]

The future of VR gaming is in arenas

Nick Moutvic
December 3, 2018

“Go ahead,” a voice probes me. “Take the leap.”

I look down. I’m 20, maybe 30 feet up, defending my fortress from invaders. Looking across the courtyard, then down at the precipitous drop below me, I know that if I step off the edge, I won’t really fall. But the digital world I’m inhabiting looks real enough to make me hesitant to move forward.

I finally lift one foot off the edge of the platform I’m protecting, and in an instant, I’m airborne.

To an observer, it may just look like I’m walking, albeit a bit awkwardly, but from my perspective, I’m falling through the air, as gunfire erupts around me. As I take in my surroundings—a futuristic space compound, ripped from the pages of a comic book—it’s easy to forget that back in reality, I’m just standing in the middle of a 6000-foot warehouse, as unassuming as any other on the northwest side of Chicago.

I’m wearing a VR headset, participating in MassVR’s new ambitious gaming experiment. While based on some of the same technology as the ballyhooed consumer VR releases from Oculus and HTC a couple of years ago, MassVR is a different vision for what the future of VR can be. Think multiplayer VR meets laser tag arena. Read more on The future of VR gaming is in arenas…

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