ISPR Presence News

Category Archives: Presence in the News

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

A VR test drive and other presence stories from The New Yorker

[The New Yorker has a long and lively first person report on a variety of presence experiences via virtual reality; just the beginning and end of the story are below (note the specific reference to presence at the end of the third paragraph and the example of inverse presence at the very end). The original story also includes a 38 minute audio version. The publication has two other recent presence-related stories, one about its new Animate Objects iOS app, “an augmented-reality feature that allows you to discover the secret thoughts of everyday items, as drawn by the New Yorker cartoonist Liana Finck,” and the other a short interview with artist Christoph Niemann “about his work and his feelings about technology” along with several examples of his clever animated drawings featured in and on the cover of the magazine. –Matthew]

[Image: With my Oculus, I had adventures right out of a Looney Tunes cartoon.read more. “A VR test drive and other presence stories from The New Yorker”

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VR game uses presence to show users the deadly consequences of not getting flu shot

[This story from Fast Company describes more evidence that presence-evoking technologies can build empathy and other positive effects, in this case to encourage users to get a flu vaccination. This quote from the research PI is noteworthy: “It turned out that neither the tablet nor the video were able to create this sense of presence, this sense of you feel like you’re involved in the story … The only modality that did that was virtual reality.” By the way, our colleague Sun Joo (Grace) Ahn is one of the project researchers. For more information see coverage by UGA Today and the article in Vaccine via ScienceDirect.–Matthew]

[Image: CREDITS/SOURCES: Lucrezia Carnelos/Unsplash, scyther5/iStock]

What happens if you skip your flu vaccine? This VR game shows you the deadly consequences

Flu vaccine rates are disturbingly low. What can move the needle?read more. “VR game uses presence to show users the deadly consequences of not getting flu shot”

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Audio website Quinn streams erotica to your ears – and your imagination

[They don’t use the term, but most stories about the new audio erotica website Quinn, including the one below from Wired, discuss presence. Mashable’s begins with this example:

“The 10-minute recording features the soft voice of a French man (or at least, a man putting on a French accent) as he fingers his lover — the listener — one last time before he boards a plane to Paris the next morning.”

The New York Times’ story quotes a voice-over actress who says contributing to the site allows her to “connect with audiences in a much more intimate way” and notes that audio erotica “could also be a more disruptive format than, say, virtual reality porn, which has all of regular porn’s problems and then some.”

And The Guardian describes a user’s (presence) experience this way:

“With audio erotica, [27 year old] Fatima [not her real name] says, her body feels more engaged.… read more. “Audio website Quinn streams erotica to your ears – and your imagination”

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Why kids don’t trust Alexa

[While in some ways children are more vulnerable to experiencing presence illusions, interesting research reviewed in this story from MIT Technology Review suggests that, sadly given current media and political trends, they’re more skeptical of information from new sources like voice assistants and the internet generally than adults, that “we, as humans, have an ingrained sense of skepticism about unknown sources that somehow gets fuzzier as we grow older.” For more information see the links in the story and a column by Professor Danovitch in The New York Times. –Matthew]

Why kids don’t trust Alexa

We tend to think of children as blindly trusting of whatever information comes their way. They’re not.

by Tanya Basu
December 6, 2019

One day, Judith Danovitch overheard her son interrogating Siri on the family’s iPad.

“What color shirt am I wearing?” the then four-year-old asked.… read more. “Why kids don’t trust Alexa”

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Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 makes primetime debut on Fox TV show ‘The Resident’

[The use of presence in the operating room was highlighted in a recent episode of the FOX TV medical drama “The Resident,” as reported by Next Reality. As I noted when I saw it and as the story notes, the technology wasn’t treated as novel or new, or even discussed by the characters. See the original story for six animated gifs from the episode, and see coverage in OnMSFT for a 2:05 minute video about the technology. –Matthew]

[Image: From the video “Microsoft HoloLens 2: Partner Spotlight with Philips.” Source: OnMSFT]

Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 Makes Primetime Debut on Fox TV Show ‘The Resident’

By Adario Strange
December 4, 2019

The HoloLens 2 hasn’t even reached most of the market, but it’s already a big-time TV star.

Microsoft’s augmented reality device made its primetime debut on FOX TV last night on an episode of the hospital drama The Resident.read more. “Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 makes primetime debut on Fox TV show ‘The Resident’”

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Yale researchers develop VR game to combat teen vaping

[Here’s another story about a potentially valuable effect of virtual reality and presence in the area of health. The original story from Connecticut Public Radio includes two different pictures and a 4:21 audio version; for more information see the project’s website, which features a 1:57 minute video, and an earlier story from Yale. –Matthew]

[Image: Space Cats, the minigame is one of our favorite features in #InviteOnlyVR. Earn extra lives to fend the hordes of robots with witty responses to misconceptions around #JUUL and attempts to pressure your hero to vape. InviteOnlyVR is FREE to play NOW on the @oculus store!! Source: play4REAL Lab at Yale‏ @play4rlab via Twitter.]

Yale Researchers Develop Virtual Reality Game To Combat Teen Vaping

By Nicole Leonard
December 4, 2019

On a typical day at East Shore Middle School in Milford, the library is where students spend time using the computers, working on projects and checking out books.… read more. “Yale researchers develop VR game to combat teen vaping”

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MIT project demonstrates power of deepfake tech to rewrite history

[A project from MIT uses a sophisticated deepfake video presented in an immersive installation to illustrate the potential of the presence-evoking technology to not only alter our perception of current reality but to “rewrite” our understanding of past events, in this case the 1969 moon landing. As one of the project’s creators notes, “people have said history is written by the victors, or that history is fluid; but now, with deepfake technology, history is even more fragile.” The original version of the story below from Motherboard contains a different image and a 0:47 minute clip from the deepfake video. For more information see coverage from MIT and the project’s website (which features a trailer video). In related news, the film Apollo 11 is returning for a one-week engagement in IMAX theaters; see the IMAX website for details. –Matthew]

Artists Used Deepfake Tech to Tell Alternate Moon Landing History

A deepfake resurrects Richard Nixon to give an alternate moon landing speech.read more. “MIT project demonstrates power of deepfake tech to rewrite history”

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Virtual reality won’t make cows happier, but it might help us see them differently

[You may have seen the story (linked below) about Russian farmers testing the ability of VR and the presence illusions it creates to increase cows’ milk production (!). This story from The Conversation is a nice summary of what researchers know about when/if animals may experience, and enjoy, presence via human technologies. See the original version for a second image and a 0:57 second video. –Matthew]

[Image: The grass may be greener in virtual reality, but you can’t eat it. Credit: Moscow Ministry of Agriculture and Food.]

Virtual reality won’t make cows happier, but it might help us see them differently

November 28, 2019
Sarah Webber, Research Fellow in Human-Computer Interaction and Animal-Computer Interaction, University of Melbourne
Marcus Carter, Lecturer in Digital Cultures, SOAR Fellow, University of Sydney

Earlier this week, Russian farmers announced they are testing virtual reality (VR) for dairy cows.… read more. “Virtual reality won’t make cows happier, but it might help us see them differently”

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Japan cosmetics maker develops tech for spray-on ‘artificial skin’

[While we usually focus on digital technologies that produce or supplement sensory inputs, glasses, hearing aids and even make-up are technologies designed to evoke presence illusions. Somehow that’s more clear with the “artificial skin” innovation described in this short story from The Asahi Shimbun. See the original for three more images, and see press releases from Kao here and here for more information including short videos. –Matthew]

[Image: An ultra-fine fiber membrane can be applied to the face or elsewhere to keep skin moist. Credit: Kao Corp.]

Japan cosmetics maker develops tech for spray-on ‘artificial skin’

By Toshihiko Katsuda / Staff Writer
November 25, 2019

Tokyo-based cosmetics maker Kao Corp. has developed technology to create spray-on “artificial skin” that could be used to conceal moles and other facial blemishes.

It said the Fine Fiber Technology involves a specially designed diffuser that sprays ultra-fine fibers to form a thin layered membrane on the skin.… read more. “Japan cosmetics maker develops tech for spray-on ‘artificial skin’”

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Alexa can now show more emotion, use different voice styles, and be in more devices

[As reported in Digital Trends, Amazon is adding emotional qualities to its virtual assistant Alexa’s voice (the Amazon blog post mentioned has more examples of ‘her’ new abilities). In separate news, Amazon is making it possible to interact with Alexa through more devices – as a post in the AWS blog notes, “customers can now cost-effectively build new categories of differentiated voice-enabled products such as light switches, thermostats, and small appliances. This allows consumers to talk directly to Alexa in new parts of their home, office, or hotel rooms for a truly ambient experience.” Both developments are likely to increase presence responses like the ones in a new case study that found that “Voice Assistants Reduce Loneliness in Older People” (follow the link to Voicebot for details and a video). –Matthew]

[Image: Source: Voicebot]

Alexa can now show more emotion when your sports team loses

By Trevor Mogg
November 26, 2019

Folks who converse with Alexa on a regular basis may be interested to know that Amazon’s voice-activated digital assistant will soon be putting a lot more feeling into her responses.… read more. “Alexa can now show more emotion, use different voice styles, and be in more devices”

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