ISPR Presence News

Category Archives: Presence in the News

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

Man-sized teddy bear is the hunky companion that lets you cuddle all day long

[This short DesignTAXI story describes a new human-sized stuffed Teddy Bear created and marketed to evoke medium-as-social-actor presence. See the Loving Bear Puffy website for more information, many pictures, and testimonials including this one: “The first few days I felt a bit strange until I got used to his presence because he seems like a real person, but now I can’t imagine walking in and him not being home.” –Matthew]

[Image: Source: Loving Bear Puffy website]

Man-Sized Teddy Bear Is The Hunky Companion That Lets You Cuddle All Day Long

By Mikelle Leow
November 14, 2022

How often do you seek emotional support and a listening ear, without having your other half “fix” your problems for you? Well, forget the apps, because the companion for you might be here.

Loving Bear Puffy is like that dream partner who’s warm, supportive, snuggly, offers a sense of security, and is, erm, completely bearable.… read more. “Man-sized teddy bear is the hunky companion that lets you cuddle all day long”

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Why authorized deepfakes are becoming big for business

[As this story from VentureBeat reports, companies like Hour One and Synthesia are creating hundreds of thousands of “authorized deepfake” videos for thousands of businesses, which means encounters and interactions with digital “people” will become increasingly common.  –Matthew]

[Image: Source: GRIT Daily]

Why authorized deepfakes are becoming big for business

By Sharon Goldman
November 9, 2022

Natalie Monbiot, head of strategy at synthetic media company Hour One, dislikes the word “deepfakes.”

“Deepfake implies unauthorized use of synthetic media and generative artificial intelligence — we are authorized from the get-go,” she told VentureBeat.

She described the Tel Aviv- and New York-based Hour One as an AI company that has also “built a legal and ethical framework for how to engage with real people to generate their likeness in digital form.”

Authorized versus unauthorized. It’s an important delineation in an era when deepfakes, or synthetic media in which a person in an existing image or video is replaced with someone else’s likeness, has gotten a boatload of bad press — not surprisingly, given deepfakes’ longstanding connection to revenge porn and fake news.… read more. “Why authorized deepfakes are becoming big for business”

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How MSNBC used Unreal Engine and projection tech to bring election night to life

[Mashable reports on how MSNBC’s real-time graphics team developed technology that let them be the “first to seamlessly transition from real life space into a digital one on live television” during coverage of the recent U.S. midterm elections. Note especially the comments at the end about planned future uses of the technology. See the original story for several other pictures and a 1:56 minute video “sample of the Capitol illusion in action.”  –Matthew]

[Image: Screenshot from video in Mashable story]

How MSNBC used tech from ‘The Mandalorian’ to bring election night to life

Inside the beating, bustling, high-tech heart of 30 Rock.

By Elizabeth de Luna
November 11, 2022

It’s 6:55 on November 8th and on the 3rd floor of 30 Rockefeller Center, just beyond a silent sea of empty desks, is the beating heart of election night in America.… read more. “How MSNBC used Unreal Engine and projection tech to bring election night to life”

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Meta’s new finger tracking tech enables improved use of sign language in VR

[The continuing evolution of presence-evoking immersive technologies is enabling valuable use cases that enhance communication and users’ lives, as reported in this story from Futurism. See the original version for a different image, and for more details follow the link to the 14:28 minute video highlighted in the story. For more about Jenny and the Helping Hands community, see March 2022 coverage from Input.  –Matthew]

[Image: Source: Input]  

Sign Language in Virtual Reality Actually Looks Kinda Awesome

Meta’s new finger tracking tech is actually pretty impressive.

By Victor Tangermann
November 1, 2022

Virtual reality isn’t all about legless avatars and forgettable games.

Case in point, members of the deaf community are now taking advantage of modern headsets’ increasingly sophisticated hand tracking to use sign language in virtual reality.

It’s a compelling use case for the technology, allowing those who grew up with sign language as their first language, those who developed hearing problems later in life, and anyone else who speaks using gestures to communicate effortlessly inside virtual worlds.… read more. “Meta’s new finger tracking tech enables improved use of sign language in VR”

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In new extended reality experience ‘Symbiosis’ you’re a hybrid creature in climate-changed world

[This first-person report from Here is Oregon describes what sounds like a very rich multi-sensory presence experience at the Portland Art Museum; see the original story for four more pictures and for more details and images, see coverage from OPB (Oregon Public Broadcasting) and the Portland Tribune, and visit the website of the Dutch design collective Polymorf. –Matthew]

[Image: Participants take part in “Symbiosis,” an extended reality experience from Dutch design collective Polymorf that is making its international debut at PAM CUT in Portland. Credit: Ian Gillingham/Portland Art Museum]

Extended reality experience ‘Symbiosis’ makes international debut in Portland

By Jamie Hale | The Oregonian/OregonLive
November 12, 2022

My body bubbles up around me as I gaze up at the forest above, the air dark and misty, plants visible only by tiny glowing lights that make up their outlines cast in purple and blue.read more. “In new extended reality experience ‘Symbiosis’ you’re a hybrid creature in climate-changed world”

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Teleportation anyone? XPRIZE winner Is the closest you can get – so far

[This story from Forbes reports on the first-place winner of the $10 million ANA Avatar XPRIZE competition, a team from the University of Bonn and their telepresence robot NimbRo; our colleague Jacki Morie is quoted extensively in the story. There’s more information in the EurekAlert! press release and especially on the NimbRo website, which features many pictures and videos. Coverage in SpaceNews provides this interesting context about the motivations for the competition sponsor, the largest airline in Japan:

“’When we think about the world that we live in right now, where only about 6% of the population can travel over long distances using airlines, there’s still quite a large gap that we have to fill to connect the world,’ said Kevin Kajitani, co-founder and chief operating officer of avatarin Inc., a startup that spun out of ANA Holdings Inc. in 2020.… read more. “Teleportation anyone? XPRIZE winner Is the closest you can get – so far”

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Your next job interview could take place in virtual reality

[This BBC News story describes efforts to use presence-evoking VR to prepare students for job interviews with prospective employers (who may also use VR to conduct interviews). Coverage from Inavate includes this:

“Users get feedback on their answers, as well as how the answer was given, whether the interviewee is maintaining eye contact with the avatar as well as the participant’s posture throughout the interview.

The trial will see more than 10,000 learners accessing the experience, with findings due to be published in January 2023.

Sandwell College, a UK based school, took part in the programme, with 84% of participants reporting that they feel ‘more confident’ about interviews in a real-world environment.

Christophe Mallet, CEO, Bodyswaps commented: ‘We’re moving into a new phase for the development of immersive learning. For institutions it’s not about just showcasing innovation anymore, it’s about delivering tangible students outcomes cost-effectively.… read more. “Your next job interview could take place in virtual reality”

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‘Chat’ with Musk, Trump or Xi: Ex-Googlers want to give the public AI

[A new company lead by ex-Google AI experts is bringing the latest chatbot technology directly to consumers so that they can experience medium-as-social-actor presence with a wide variety of personas, despite the inherent dangers of “bias, inaccuracy, and people’s tendency to ‘anthropomorphize and extend social expectations to nonhuman agents,’ even when they’re explicitly aware that they are interacting with an AI.” The details (and in the original version, examples and more images) are provided in this story from The Washington Post. See also the closely related Yahoo! News story “An Elon Musk chatbot tells Insider he wants to buy CNN, reinstate Trump on Twitter, and ‘show people how the sausage gets made.’” –Matthew]

[Image: Character.ai’s co-founders, Noam Shazeer and Daniel De Freitas at the company’s office in Palo Alto, Calif. Credit: Winni Wintermeyer for The Washington Post]

‘Chat’ with Musk, Trump or Xi: Ex-Googlers want to give the public AI

The creators of Google’s LaMDA have launched the chatbot startup Character.ai,read more. “‘Chat’ with Musk, Trump or Xi: Ex-Googlers want to give the public AI”

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VR pioneer Palmer Luckey made a VR headset that kills the user if they die in the game

[Despite its extreme and disturbing nature, a new blog post by the virtual reality pioneer who founded Oculus about his creation of an apparently operational VR headset that can kill the user raises interesting questions about the potential blurring of physical and virtual experience. The story from Vice below provides the basic details, and a March 2021 story from Futurism notes Palmer Luckey’s earlier interest in games that can kill. New stories in Road to VR and Ars Technica note and link to examples of less severe but still impactful consequences for user failures in virtual reality. And We Got This Covered has an interesting piece about a real-time social media simulation of the developments in the fictional Sword Art Online story that inspired Luckey to create the deadly VR device. –Matthew]

Palmer Luckey Made a VR Headset That Kills the User If They Die in the Game

The man who created the Oculus rift has invented a virtual reality headset that will explode the forebrain of a user who dies in a video game.read more. “VR pioneer Palmer Luckey made a VR headset that kills the user if they die in the game”

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David Byrne’s mind-bending immersive “Theater of the Mind” explores subjective, malleable perception

[If you’re a David Byrne and/or Talking Heads fan like me you’ll be especially interested in this story from Westword that describes his latest project, a personalized, experiential, immersive experience inspired by neuroscience experiments that illustrate the subjective nature of perception and memory. Note the hopeful message at the end of the story. See the original version for a 30 second promotional video and Colorado Springs Indy for a 43 minute Radiolab interview with Byrne about the project. –Matthew]

David Byrne’s Mind-Bending, Multi-Sensory Theater of the Mind Is Open in Denver

By Emily Ferguson
August 29, 2022

What is reality? Can you really trust what you see, hear, taste, touch, feel? These are the questions you’ll face as you’re guided through the mind-bending, neuroscience-inspired Theater of the Mind, which finally opened at York Street Yards on Wednesday, August 31, after years of anticipation and pandemic-induced delays.… read more. “David Byrne’s mind-bending immersive “Theater of the Mind” explores subjective, malleable perception”

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