ISPR Presence News

Category Archives: Presence in the News

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

Restorative presence: SpaceVR’s “float therapy” simulates astronauts’ Overview Effect experience

[With all the too-often avoidable turmoil and tragedy of the last many months, I think many of us would benefit from the application of presence described in this story from Tatler Hong Kong. See the original version for three more images, and for more details see the SpaceVR website, particularly the FAQ page. –Matthew]

Float Co. Mid-Levels Introduces Asia’s First Virtual Reality Space Experience

By Zabrina Lo
January 7, 2021

With a VR headset and a sensory deprivation tank, aspiring cosmonauts can experience the thrill of being in orbit without having to leave planet Earth

I have alway7s wanted to travel to space. But unless I suddenly find a hidden talent for engineering or Russian, floating in a darkened pod of ultra-salty water is probably the closest I’ll ever come to feeling completely weightless. More than 14,000 kilometres away from Nasa‘s rocket launch site at Cape Canaveral, a sensory deprivation tank in Hong Kong is my portal to the cosmos for an afternoon.… read more. “Restorative presence: SpaceVR’s “float therapy” simulates astronauts’ Overview Effect experience”

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AI-based digital humans are next step in evolution of intelligent chatbots

[This PC Magazine story describes what it’s like to set up and use an AI driven digital human that can carry on emotionally engaged conversations with customers and others, the next step in chatbot technology: it includes this quote from an expert: “Digital humans are considerably more valuable than any alternative [since] they aren’t just transactional, they are ‘interactional.’” See the original story for three more images and a video. –Matthew]

One Step Closer to SkyNet: Your Next Help Desk Chat Might Be With a Digital Human

AI company UneeQ seeks to take the next step in the evolution of intelligent chatbots: Enter the Digital Human.

By Gadjo Sevilla
17 Dec 2020

While chatbot and conversational artificial intelligence (AI) technology is now found in a wide range of consumer solutions—smart speakers, smart TVs, various apps and software experiences—many advances in the technology continue to be driven by the sales and help desk markets.… read more. “AI-based digital humans are next step in evolution of intelligent chatbots”

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We’re ‘maybe five-ish’ years away from Princess Leia holograms

[This Debugger story explains the promise of and our progress toward effective and commonly available holograms (actually volumetric images); our colleague Frank Biocca is one of the experts quoted and the original story includes three videos and an additional image. For related news see USA Today’s story about IKIN’s new RYZ, “the first personal hologram platform”; Digital Trends’ story about Looking Glass Factory’s 3D holographic display and software that transforms any 2D image into a 3D one; and a short Bloomberg video about the Swiss company Inverse’s 3D hologram meeting technology that just won a CES 2021 Best of Innovation Award. –Matthew]

[Image: Credit: Janet Mac]

We’re ‘Maybe Five-ish’ Years Away From Princess Leia Holograms

Or to be more precise, volumetric Princess Leia images

By Angela Lashbrook
January 12, 2021

You’re sitting at your dining room table, drinking wine and chatting with your closest friends and family.… read more. “We’re ‘maybe five-ish’ years away from Princess Leia holograms”

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Holotron is a robotic exosuit that could transform the way we use VR

[Digital Trends reports on the development of a novel exosuit designed to make virtual experiences “indistinguishable from real life”; the original story includes a one minute video and three different images. Coverage in New Atlas adds these details:

Reese has been testing it at a simulated 1/20th of normal Earth gravity, making walking around and jumping less laborious than in real life while still giving a user a sense of force and balance. Currently, there are motors only at the hip and knee joints, but future plans would extend this to five motors on each leg, with more on your arms, hands and back. […]

Reese has built and coded this prototype with just €55,000 (US$67,000) of funding, to the point where he and his collaborators have got it up and running with a few applications. One lets you climb stairs, one simulates being hit with a heavy ball, one lets you balance on a skateboard across rough terrain, one has you walking across a series of moving stones, another has you bouncing on a springy platform. … read more. “Holotron is a robotic exosuit that could transform the way we use VR”

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Locomotion Vault compiles and classifies all known VR locomotion methods

[A January 4, 2021 item in The Ghost Howls blog highlights an interesting and potentially valuable resource, an interactive compilation and classification of over 100 different methods of locomotion in virtual environments. –Matthew]


Discover all the available VR locomotion methods

Some amazing researchers have collected and classified all the known VR locomotion methods, for a total of more than 100! There are all the most common solutions, like smooth movement and teleporting, but also some crazy ones like changing the gravity of the world using your fingers.

All the data is available for free to everyone on GitHub, so if you are doing some research in XR, feel free to use it!… read more. “Locomotion Vault compiles and classifies all known VR locomotion methods”

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All the good VR ideas were dreamt up in the 60s

[The terminology for presence is different, but this story from Hackaday provides a valuable review and assessment of our progress toward compelling presence experiences. See the original version for an additional image. –Matthew]

All the Good VR Ideas Were Dreamt Up in the 60s

By Donald Papp
January 4, 2021

Virtual reality has seen enormous progress in the past few years. Given its recent surges in development, it may come as a bit of a surprise to learn that the ideas underpinning what we now call VR were laid way back in the 60s. Not all of the imagined possibilities have come to pass, but we’ve learned plenty about what is (and isn’t) important for a compelling VR experience, and gained insights as to what might happen next.

If virtual reality’s best ideas came from the 60s, what were they, and how did they turn out?… read more. “All the good VR ideas were dreamt up in the 60s”

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Presence after death: Microsoft could bring you back as a chatbot

[This short story from Forbes describes Microsoft’s efforts to create audio and audio-visual chatbots based on specific people, including people who have died. Other coverage notes the idea’s similarity to the plot of the Black Mirror episode “Be Right Back” and/or refers to the bots as ‘ghostbots.’ For more on this topic see a new 22:46 minute WSJ documentary “How Tech Can Bring Our Loved Ones to Life After They Die,” which is also available via YouTube and is described in a short profile in The Verge. –Matthew]

Microsoft Could Bring You Back From The Dead… As A Chat Bot

By Barry Collins, Contributor
January 4, 2021

Microsoft has filed a patent which raises the intriguing possibility of digitally reincarnating people as a chat bot.

Instead of using the conventional method of training chat bots using conversations and material from a wide sample of users, Microsoft’s patent – as spotted by Ubergizmo – raises the possibility of creating a chat bot from the output of a specific person.… read more. “Presence after death: Microsoft could bring you back as a chatbot”

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Smell Museum: Odeuropa uses AI to recreate historical smells for attractions

[The ambitious project Odeuropa will use AI to analyze descriptions of smells from Europe’s past and then recreate them for use in immersive cultural heritage attractions. This story from Blooloop provides details. The original story includes a second image and for a press release and 2:59 minute video visit the Odeuropa website (which also features a series of interesting blog posts). Coverage in the Minnesota Star Tribune has more details about the challenges of measuring and reproducing smells, and a New York Times item focuses on the idea of a personal smell museum and links to an interactive example:

“The restaurant critic Tejal Rao recently created a ‘personal smell museum’ of her life in Los Angeles, cataloging the aromas she encountered in her home and her office, the scent of vanilla she detected when driving past a commercial bakery. I asked her why she thought a smell museum was such a vital way to document her life.… read more. “Smell Museum: Odeuropa uses AI to recreate historical smells for attractions”

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The Metaverse is coming

[In this short piece from Wired, the CEO and co-founder of online gaming platform Roblox predicts the pandemic-accelerated increase in 2021 and beyond of social and spatial presence experiences in 3D virtual worlds, which will “become a human co-experience utility.” –Matthew]

[Image: Credit: Leonie Bos]

The Metaverse is coming

A 3D virtual world where millions meet online will become our key social hub

By David Baszucki, an inventor and the CEO and Founder of Roblox
January 2, 2021

We will see a shift in the way people play, work, learn or simply hang out in 2021. Some of this connection will move into the Metaverse, a digital place where people seamlessly get together and interact in millions of 3D virtual experiences. Early iterations of the Metaverse emerged in the 1980s with VPL Research’s DataSuit and Linden Lab’s Second Life in 2003.… read more. “The Metaverse is coming”

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How new Star Wars VR experience gets us closer to a theme park ‘metaverse’

[The pandemic has accelerated the development of innovative ways to link and merge virtual/mixed reality and designed physical spaces to create compelling entertainment experiences, as reported in this story from the Los Angeles Times (where the original includes two more pictures). –Matthew]

[Image: “Star Wars: Tales From the Galaxy’s Edge” VR screenshot: View from inside a ship. Credit: ILMxLab / Disney / Oculus]

How the new virtual reality ‘Star Wars’ experience gets us closer to a theme park ‘metaverse’

By Todd Martens, Game Critic
December 28, 2020

After a fulfilling and action-focused ending to the second season of “The Mandalorian,” fans of the “Star Wars” brand are no doubt hungry for other experiences within the space opera universe. Few offer as thrilling a pitch as “Star Wars: Tales From the Galaxy’s Edge.”

The game stands as a showcase for the latest in virtual reality, one that has us engaging in blaster fire with pirates, seeing familiar faces and peering deeper into the mystery of the franchise’s Force-like powers.… read more. “How new Star Wars VR experience gets us closer to a theme park ‘metaverse’”

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