ISPR Presence News

Category Archives: Presence in the News

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

Boosted by virtual reality and AI, telesurgery is on the rise

[This interview with neurosurgeon Sam Browd provides enlightening details about how virtual reality, AI and presence can and hopefully will increasingly improve surgical training and performance. The interview is from Healthcare IT News. –Matthew]

[Image: Dr. Sam Browd. Credit: Proprio]

Boosted by virtual reality and AI, telesurgery is on the rise

“The goal is surgeons who have the world’s best expert surgeon virtually at their side in every case and the experience of thousands of cases,” says University of Washington’s Dr. Sam Browd.

By Bill Siwicki
September 21, 2021

Dr. Sam Browd is a Seattle neurosurgeon who is taking telemedicine and virtual reality technology to a different, unexpected place – the operating room.

Browd is professor of neurological surgery at the University of Washington, an attending neurosurgeon at Seattle Children’s Hospital, and cofounder and chief medical officer at health IT vendor Proprio.… read more. “Boosted by virtual reality and AI, telesurgery is on the rise”

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Researchers create holograms you can touch – you could soon shake a virtual colleague’s hand

[A new variation on the Pepper’s Ghost illusion that uses “affordable, commercially available parts to pair computer-generated graphics with carefully directed and controlled jets of air” is said to create a convincing sensation of touch for users, as described in this story from The Conversation. See the linked article in Advanced Intelligent Systems for more details and a video (in the “Supplementary Materials”). –Matthew]

[Image: Credit: Design_cells/Shutterstock]

We created holograms you can touch – you could soon shake a virtual colleague’s hand

By Ravinder Dahiya, Professor of Electronics and Nanoengineering, University of Glasgow
September 17, 2021

The TV show Star Trek: The Next Generation introduced millions of people to the idea of a holodeck: an immersive, realistic 3D holographic projection of a complete environment that you could interact with and even touch.

In the 21st century, holograms are already being used in a variety of ways such as medical systems, education, art, security and defence.… read more. “Researchers create holograms you can touch – you could soon shake a virtual colleague’s hand”

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Face computers are poised to replace the smartphone

[Without using the term itself, this New York Times opinion column explains how a “face computer” evokes presence, with both positive and negative consequences, and predicts that the technology will replace our smartphones. While presence scholars will be familiar with many of the points made, one I hadn’t thought of concerns how wearing masks has increased our personal and social comfort with wearing something on our faces. –Matthew]

[Image: Credit: Claire Merchlinsky/The New York Times; photograph by RollingCamera, via Getty Images]

Apple and Facebook Are Coming for Your Face Next

By Farhad Manjoo, Opinion Columnist
September 16, 2021

It is difficult to avoid sounding vulgar, somehow, when discussing the future of facial computing. There is something inescapably crude, isn’t there, about the prospect of everyone walking around with computers on our faces?

And yet I suspect the world may adopt face computers anyway, and not long from now, perhaps even within the coming decade.… read more. “Face computers are poised to replace the smartphone”

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National Robotarium project uses “socially pertinent robots” and MASA presence to reduce patient anxiety

[An ambitious project titled “Socially Pertinent Robots in Gerontological Healthcare” (SPRING) utilizes medium-as-social-actor presence to assist hospital and care patients, as described in this story from The Scotsman based on information from the National Robotarium research centre. For more about SPRING, including a 2:55 minute video, see the Heriot-Watt University website and also the PAL Robotics site, and for more about the National Robotarium and other research projects there see the Centre‘s page of the Heriot-Watt University site and coverage in E&T. –Matthew]

Three National Robotarium-linked projects which have the potential to changes lives

Robots are rising to a range of modern challenges, from talking to anxious hospital patients to ensuring social distancing is observed to reducing risks to life in hazardous industrial settings.

Promoted by Heriot-Watt University
26th August 2021

The National Robotarium, a world-leading centre for robotics and artificial intelligence research at Heriot-Watt University, is at the forefront of this work – and its facilities will be significantly enhanced when a new dedicated building for the centre opens on the university’s campus in Edinburgh next year.… read more. “National Robotarium project uses “socially pertinent robots” and MASA presence to reduce patient anxiety”

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Google’s new jaw-dropping AI photo upscaling tech makes it easier to evoke presence

[Google has developed a new way to create high resolution images from low resolution ones, meaning that it’ll be easier to create visuals that evoke presence for use in a variety of media. The original version of this PetaPixel story includes lots of examples; coverage in CineD mentions some possible applications:

“This approach could be a perfect fit for security cameras. Also, it could be used in post-production pipelines for not only single images, but for video, and computer graphics […], reducing the strain on the GPU. Future cameras could record 1080p images with better color reproduction and dynamic range and then be upscaled to 4K in post. Even Netflix [and other streaming services could benefit].”

–Matthew]

Google’s New AI Photo Upscaling Tech is Jaw-Dropping

By Michael Zhang
August 30, 2021

Photo enhancing in movies and TV shows is often ridiculed for being unbelievable, but research in real photo enhancing is actually creeping more and more into the realm of science fiction.… read more. “Google’s new jaw-dropping AI photo upscaling tech makes it easier to evoke presence”

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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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