ISPR Presence News

Category Archives: Presence in the News

News stories explicitly or implicitly related to presence from a wide variety of sources

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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Should VR become ultra-realistic? We asked a philosopher

[The author of this PC Gamer story interviews philosopher James Tartaglia in addressing some provocative questions raised by the continuing evolution of virtual reality and its ability to evoke presence. See the original story for four more images. –Matthew]

[Image: Credit: Yagi Studio, Getty Images]

Gamer beware, ultra-realistic VR is a philosophical minefield for humanity

Should VR become ultra-realistic? We asked a philosopher.

By Jacob Fox
September 10, 2021

Virtual reality has come on leaps and bounds over the past few years. Whether we’re talking about the capabilities of the VR tech itself, its price, or the VR games now available to us, there’s no question that virtual reality has improved. While the Valve Index is still pricey, there are plenty of great budget options now available. The Oculus Quest 2 can be bought for a humble $300, and it’s a damn good headset by all technical standards.… read more. “Should VR become ultra-realistic? We asked a philosopher”

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AHRC-funded Telepresence Stage project explores collaborative solutions for the performing arts

[The telepresencestage.org website describes and provides free resources from “Collaborative Solutions for the Performing Arts: A Telepresence Stage,” a project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Excerpts from the website’s pages are below; see the site for more details and images. –Matthew]

Collaborative Solutions for the Performing Arts: A Telepresence Stage

OVERVIEW:

In our safe distancing times, this research is developing effective and affordable techniques to connect theatre and dance performers from their separate homes and place them within virtual sets online to create, rehearse and perform together as if on a real stage.

The website provides helpful DIY how-to-guides and resources, including audio-visual materials and analysis of ongoing residency projects with eight UK performance companies.

DESCRIPTION:… read more. “AHRC-funded Telepresence Stage project explores collaborative solutions for the performing arts”

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A horrifying new AI app swaps women into porn videos with a click

[In this depressing story about the perils of presence, MIT Technology Review reports on the latest developments in the evolution of pornographic deepfake technology. –Matthew]

[Image: Animated gif by Pedro Nekoi]

A horrifying new AI app swaps women into porn videos with a click

Deepfake researchers have long feared the day this would arrive.

By Karen Hao
September 13, 2021

The website is eye-catching for its simplicity. Against a white backdrop, a giant blue button invites visitors to upload a picture of a face. Below the button, four AI-generated faces allow you to test the service. Above it, the tag line boldly proclaims the purpose: turn anyone into a porn star by using deepfake technology to swap the person’s face into an adult video. All it requires is the picture and the push of a button.

MIT Technology Review has chosen not to name the service, which we will call Y, or use any direct quotes and screenshots of its contents, to avoid driving traffic to the site.… read more. “A horrifying new AI app swaps women into porn videos with a click”

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Mercedes ‘Avatar’-inspired car features intuitive BCI interaction and immersive VR and AR

[The Detroit Bureau reports on the recent demonstration of Mercedes-Benz’ AVTR concept car that features technology designed to evoke multiple forms of presence. See the company’s press release and vehicle profile web page for more information, images and videos. –Matthew]

[Image: Source: PC Magazine]

Powered by Thought; Mercedes Reveals Update of Vision AVTR Concept

Show car explores the use of brain-computer interface applications in cars.

By Paul A. Eisenstein, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief
September 07, 2021

When the first navigation systems came to market, motorists had to manually type in a destination. Now, they simply have to speak and, in most vehicles, a voice control system will do the rest. But there may soon come a day when you just have to think about where you want to go before your vehicle takes you there autonomously.

That, at least, is the idea behind the updated Vision AVTR concept that Mercedes-Benz is showing off at this year’s Munich Motor Show.… read more. “Mercedes ‘Avatar’-inspired car features intuitive BCI interaction and immersive VR and AR”

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‘Surviving 9/11’ uses VR and presence to commemorate 20th anniversary through one woman’s inspiring story

[A new virtual reality experience tells the story of Genelle Guzman-McMillan, who survived 27 hours trapped under the rubble of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001; in this interview from the Oculus Blog the creators describe how they used the technology to create both spatial and social presence, what they’ve learned about storytelling with VR, and how the medium is uniquely suited to preserving historical events. The original blog post includes four more images and a trailer (also available via YouTube). For more about the survivor stories of Ms. Guzman-McMillan and others, see “In the shadow of the towers: Five lives and a world transformed“ in The Washington Post. –Matthew]

‘SURVIVING 9/11’ COMMEMORATES 20TH ANNIVERSARY THROUGH ONE WOMAN’S INSPIRING TESTIMONY

Oculus Blog
September 7, 2021

As the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks approaches, now is an opportune time to reflect on the lives lost as well as the light that shone through the darkness as New Yorkers and the world came together to heal and rebuild.… read more. “‘Surviving 9/11’ uses VR and presence to commemorate 20th anniversary through one woman’s inspiring story”

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Can virtual reality (and presence) save the planet?

[In this interview from the Columbia University Climate School, educator and StudioTEKA design firm principal Vanessa Keith describes her vision for the use of virtual reality and presence to help bring awareness and innovative solutions to the serious challenges of climate change. See the original story for two more pictures. –Matthew]

[Image: An image of an NYC alley at night from the virtual reality world “2100.” Credit: StudioTEKA]

Can Virtual Reality Save the Planet?

By Kristen French
August 18, 2021

On Aug. 9, the U.N. released a dire climate report, the first since 2018, that warned of accelerated warming of the planet and splashed code red alert headlines across the world. To bring the Earth back from the brink will demand powerful collective action, the authors of the report wrote. But while the urgency of the message is growing in the public sphere, scientists, journalists, artists and creators have still so far struggled to communicate it effectively to large numbers of global citizens.… read more. “Can virtual reality (and presence) save the planet?”

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How virtual reality (and presence) could help reduce soccer brain injuries

[This Reuters story describes a new effort to reduce concussions from playing soccer by training in virtual reality. See the original story for a 2:03 minute video and four more images, and for a first-person review of the previous version of the VR software see Engadget. –Matthew]

[Image: Journalist Pete Hall checks the virtual reality headset “Player 22” by Rezzil, used by pro footballers to combat the risks of concussion from heading, in Manchester, Britain, August 24, 2021. Credit: Reuters/Peter Powell]

How virtual reality could help reduce brain injuries

By Peter Hall
September 1, 2021

MANCHESTER, England, Aug 27 (Reuters) – Heading is an integral part of soccer, but its links to lasting brain injuries are proving hard to ignore.

However, one software company feels it has a solution to the damaging impact it can have – virtual reality.

Two more former players announced their dementia diagnosis this week, while five of England’s 1966 World Cup-winning team – Ray Wilson, Martin Peters, Nobby Stiles, Bobby Charlton and Jack Charlton – have all suffered with the degenerative disease.… read more. “How virtual reality (and presence) could help reduce soccer brain injuries”

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ABBA’s virtual concert, the metaverse and the future of entertainment

[In the Forbes story below Bernard Marr considers the implications of the recent announcement that the group ABBA is reuniting after 40 years for a new album and a concert series in which the members’ recorded de-aged digital avatars will perform with a live band. For more about the concert see coverage in VRScout and a segment (beginning at 23:15) in the official announcement video on YouTube, and for more about ABBA and the album and concert see The Independent. –Matthew]

[Image: Source: VRScout]

ABBA’s Virtual Concert, The Metaverse And The Future Of Entertainment

By Bernard Marr
September 6, 2021

Even pop legends are not immune to the ongoing digitization of every aspect of life and society. Recently it was announced that Abba fans would get to experience the Swedish supergroup in their prime, as their “Abba-tars” take to the stage in London next year.… read more. “ABBA’s virtual concert, the metaverse and the future of entertainment”

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Reality might be a simulation, scientists think it’s possible to find out for sure

[This Road to VR story describes how physicists and philosophers think we can, and whether we should, gather evidence for the simulation hypothesis. See also a Space.com interview with Rodney Ascher, the director of the new documentary A Glitch in the Matrix that “tackles the theory head-on”; that story includes the film’s trailer (also available via YouTube); here’s an interview excerpt:

“SPACE.COM: How did making this film either confirm your belief in simulation theory or make you question it?

RODNEY ASCHER: Well there are two ways of looking at simulation theory, either as a scientific possibility that changes everything we think we know about the world around us or, secondly, as a metaphor. For the first, I believe I understand the premise after being immersed in the project for two years, but the idea still hasn’t crossed the threshold of ‘extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence’ as best I can tell.… read more. “Reality might be a simulation, scientists think it’s possible to find out for sure”

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