ISPR Presence News

Category Archives: Presence in the News

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

Hands-on classes at a distance and the emerging virtual future

[This column from Inside Higher Ed states that we are entering the “Fourth Industrial Revolution…, a way of describing the blurring of boundaries between the physical, digital, and biological worlds,” a movement “from the information age to the experience age.” And it argues that higher education needs to keep up. For specific examples of institutions and people meeting that challenge see the EdTech Magazine story that contains the “experience age” quote, as well as related stories from The Hill and Vox. –Matthew]

[Image: With 100 headsets, Colorado State University’s virtual reality space provides both immersion and interaction. Source: EdTech Magazine]

Hands-on Classes at a Distance and the Emerging Virtual Future

The rush to remote learning this year has prompted concern and a flurry of work-arounds to meet the needs of hands-on classes and curricula.

By Ray Schroeder
September 9, 2020

As much of the curriculum has moved online, faculty members and instructional designers have adapted content delivery methods and modes to meet analogous learning outcomes through online media.… read more. “Hands-on classes at a distance and the emerging virtual future”

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Listen and be transported to woodlands around the world with this forest soundmap

[The project described in this story from Treehugger is about “the world’s first-ever forest soundmap,”a presence-evoking audio experience many of us can really use right now. Coverage from the Kottke.org blog suggests the reader “[s]ee also the work of Gordon Hempton, who is trying to capture the sounds of the very few places left in the world without human noise”; that link leads to an earlier post titled “Silence Is the Presence of Everything.” And my hometown newspaper, The Philadelphia Inquirer, has a related story about TrailOff, [a] soon-to-launch free app that offers GPS-activated audio storytelling for 10 trails in the region.” One of the creators is quoted in it saying, “You know that thing that happens when you’re walking around a city listening to music and it sort of feels like your story mingles with the world?… read more. “Listen and be transported to woodlands around the world with this forest soundmap”

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Penn researchers use VR to train bystanders to respond to overdoses

[Here’s another practical application of presence-evoking technology – an efficient way (especially during a pandemic) to train not just health care experts but members of the public in how to save a life. This story is from The Philadelphia Inquirer. The new published study is available from Science Direct; see also an earlier related ISPR Presence News post. –Matthew]

Penn researchers use virtual reality to train bystanders to respond to overdoses

By Aubrey Whelan
September 7, 2020

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have developed a virtual-reality video that trains people to give overdose victims naloxone, the lifesaving opioid-reversal medicine. And a study the researchers conducted shows the virtual training works as effectively as an in-person session.

Especially during the pandemic, it’s hard to hold in-person training sessions. Plus, drug use remains highly stigmatized. So the study’s authors hope the virtual training can be a more accessible way for people to learn how to reverse overdoses they might observe on a city sidewalk, on the bus, or anywhere else, for a friend or a stranger.… read more. “Penn researchers use VR to train bystanders to respond to overdoses”

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Nintendo announces augmented reality version of Mario Kart

[Though it’s hard on consumer AR generally, this story from Fast Company is among the many with positive assessments after Nintendo’s recent announcement of a new augmented reality version of the game Mario Kart, which seems sure to evoke presence for players. See the original story for the 1:47 minute trailer (also available via YouTube), a different image and three looping videos. The press release is available from Business Wire, pre-order details are available from Inverse, and a five minute narrated video report from TheGamer is available on YouTube. –Matthew]

Nintendo’s newest Mario Kart is the best video game you never knew you wanted to play

Okay, so we got a little excited by a trailer. But hear us out.

By Mark Wilson
September 4, 2020

By now, Nintendo has made exactly 87,493,029 versions of Mario Kart since the game was first introduced in 1992 for the Super Nintendo.… read more. “Nintendo announces augmented reality version of Mario Kart”

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Inside Facebook Reality Labs Research: The future of audio

[Despite some self-promotion, definitional issues and vagueness, this story from Facebook provides intriguing insights into the company’s efforts to create audio technologies that not only reproduce normal perception but enhance it beyond unaided human capabilities (which, when the user habituates, would become a ‘new normal’ and continue to evoke presence). It also addresses ethical issues raised by the technologies. See the original story for eight more images and three videos. –Matthew]

Inside Facebook Reality Labs Research: The Future of Audio

September 3, 2020
By Lisa Brown Jaloza, Technology Communications Manager

The audio team at Facebook Reality Labs Research is working on novel technologies to enable both audio presence and perceptual superpowers, letting us hear better in noisy environments with our future AR glasses. In the latest entry of our Inside Facebook Reality Labs series, we take you behind the scenes with the team for an in-depth look at their current demos and prototype technology.read more. “Inside Facebook Reality Labs Research: The future of audio”

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AARP’s Alcove VR combats isolation and loneliness for pandemic-bound seniors

[This VentureBeat report describes a potentially valuable application of presence, especially now: Alcove, a new virtual reality platform designed by AARP to combat loneliness and isolation among older (and all) people. The original story includes three more images; a 2:55 minute video is available on YouTube; VR Fitness Insider has an extended interview with Alcove’s product lead; and all of the technologies profiled in the Fast Company story “We’re feeling more lonely than ever—here are 5 ways technology can help” involve one or more forms of presence. –Matthew]

Alcove for Oculus Quest entertains pandemic-bound seniors with VR

Dean Takahashi
August 20, 2020

One of the largest advocates for senior citizens is diving into virtual reality today with the release of Alcove for Oculus Quest, a free app that helps friends and families entertain themselves — and each other — while sheltering in place.… read more. “AARP’s Alcove VR combats isolation and loneliness for pandemic-bound seniors”

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Study: Illusion of exercise improves physical and cognitive functions

[A new study from Tohoku University demonstrates the benefits of just the (presence) illusion of physical exercise. Follow the link at the bottom to read the study and learn more about co-author Professor Kawashima, creator of the Brain Age games, in BrainWorld Magazine. –Matthew]

[Image: A schematic theoretical interpretation of the virtual illusion, leading to measurable physiological effects on the person’s body. Credit: Tohoku University]

From Virtual to Reality! Virtual Training Improves Physical and Cognitive Functions

August 31, 2020

Researchers at the Smart-Aging Research Center (IDAC) at Tohoku University have developed an innovative training protocol that, utilizing immersive virtual reality (IVR), leads to real physical and cognitive benefits.

We all know that physical exercise is crucial for overall well-being and helps postpone aging-related disorders; what is more surprising is that physical exercise can have beneficial effects not only on the body but on cognitive functions too.… read more. “Study: Illusion of exercise improves physical and cognitive functions”

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A personal home hologram machine with wide application potential

[ZDNet has more details about the PORTL hologram machine and a new partnership that will add AI to its capabilities, but I chose to post this TechRepublic story about the technology for its broader discussion, and because the company’s CEO-founder is quoted in it saying “We almost called this technology Presence, because it really does bring a real-life presence into the room.” A four minute demonstration video of the PORTL, and a thirty second video of the MINI PORTL, are available via YouTube. More information and many more videos can be found on the company’s website. –Matthew]

Hologram virtual meetings? Envisioning the future of remote collaboration, hiring, and more

This personal home hologram machine could revolutionize the way organizations conduct business in the years to come.

By R. Dallon Adams
August 20, 2020

In recent weeks, companies worldwide have transitioned to remote work to enhance public safety during the coronavirus pandemic.… read more. “A personal home hologram machine with wide application potential”

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Nio’s Nomi Mate is a cute AI dashboard digital assistant interface for your car

[It’s not unusual to speak of having a form of relationship with one’s car but the Chinese car company Nio embodies that relationship with the Nomi Mate smart digital assistant, as described in this short story from Electric Vehicle News. For more information, see:

  • A 1:33 minute demo video from Nio via YouTube
  • A (copy-protected) interview with the developer of Nomi Mate from Just Auto (with lots of indirect references to presence)
  • A 3:23 minute video interview with Nio’s Engineering Director for Machine Learning from Auto Futures
  • A 13 minute user demonstration video of interactions with Nomi via YouTube
  • The Nomi project page for collaborating firm Star
  • A review of the in-vehicle digital assistant market from TU-Automotive
  • A strong negative reaction in CNET to an included 8:24 minute Nio video describing how Nomi ordered a condolence gift for its owners after their cat had died

–Matthew]

NIO’s NOMI – World’s First In-Vehicle Artificial Intelligence

February 12, 2020

In the past, cars gave people the freedom of mobility.… read more. “Nio’s Nomi Mate is a cute AI dashboard digital assistant interface for your car”

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Emmy-nominated “The Messy Truth VR Experience” builds empathy on social and political issues

[As the first, short story below from UploadVR reports, four VR experiences are nominated for Emmy Awards (from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences) this year. One is the particularly timely “The Messy Truth VR,” the focus of the second story, from Yahoo Entertainment. Note the comments of actor/producer Brie Larson about VR as “a step further” beyond film’s ability to create what sounds like presence. The original Yahoo story includes a 2:58 minute trailer and a 5:09 minute interview, and for more information see USA Today for a different short video and Deadline for another interview (which includes discussion of the need to be careful not to create a VR experience that is too intense and traumatizes the audience). For information about the ambitious plans for the virtual Emmy Award ceremony on September 20, see coverage in Variety.… read more. “Emmy-nominated “The Messy Truth VR Experience” builds empathy on social and political issues”

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