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Feb 19, 2007

Low-cost telepresence for collaborative virtual environments

Low-cost telepresence for collaborative virtual environments.

IEEE Trans Vis Comput Graph. 2007 Jan-Feb;13(1):156-66

Authors: Rhee SM, Ziegler R, Park J, Naef M, Gross M, Kim MH

We present a novel low-cost method for visual communication and telepresence in a CAVE -like environment, relying on 2D stereo-based video avatars. The system combines a selection of proven efficient algorithms and approximations in a unique way, resulting in a convincing stereoscopic real-time representation of a remote user acquired in a spatially immersive display. The system was designed to extend existing projection systems with acquisition capabilities requiring minimal hardware modifications and cost. The system uses infrared-based image segmentation to enable concurrent acquisition and projection in an immersive environment without a static background. The system consists of two color cameras and two additional b/w cameras used for segmentation in the near-IR spectrum. There is no need for special optics as the mask and color image are merged using image-warping based on a depth estimation. The resulting stereo image stream is compressed, streamed across a network, and displayed as a frame-sequential stereo texture on a billboard in the remote virtual environment.

Jan 10, 2007

Metaversal self

Via 3Dpoint.com 

BBC Newsnight’s Geek Week 2.0 examines the nature of the self in cyberspace. The 11-minute segment (click the virtual death link) provides a description of what it means to inhabit a metaversal presence.

Dec 03, 2006

Presence: a unique characteristic in educational virtual environments

Via VRoot

Presence: a unique characteristic in educational virtual environments

Virtual Reality Journal, Volume 10, Number 3-4 / December, 2006, Pages 197-206.

Author: Tassos A. Mikropoulos

This article investigates the effect of presence on learning outcomes in educational virtual environments (EVEs) in a sample of 60 pupils aged between 11 and 13 years. We study the effect of personal presence, social presence and participant’s involvement on certain learning outcomes. We also investigate if the combination of the participant’s representation model in the virtual environment (VE) with the way it is presented gives a higher sense of presence that contributes to learning outcomes. Our results show that the existence of an avatar as the pupils’ representation enhanced presence and helped them to successfully perform their learning tasks. The pupils had a high sense of presence for both cases of the EVE presentation, projection on a wall and through a head mounted display (HMD). Our socialized virtual environment seems to play an important role in learning outcomes. The pupils had a higher sense of presence and completed their learning tasks more easily and successfully in the case of their egocentric representation model using the HMD.

Plan for Telepresence Testbed Announced

National LambdaRail (NLR) announced today that it is developing a plan to implement a Telepresence testbed based on the Cisco Telepresence Meeting solution by mid-2007. With its nationwide optical backbone connected to nearly 20 regional optical networks, it will be simple for researchers to participate in the testbed from key research and education facilities throughout the nation. A call for participation will be issued early next year.

Read the full news release

Oct 05, 2006

First Teleportation Between Light and Matter


Scientific American online reports about a physics experiment conducted by Eugene Polzik and his colleagues at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, which looks like the "Beam-me-up, Scotty" technology of Star Trek: 

At long last researchers have teleported the information stored in a beam of light into a cloud of atoms, which is about as close to getting beamed up by Scotty as we're likely to come in the foreseeable future. More practically, the demonstration is key to eventually harnessing quantum effects for hyperpowerful computing or ultrasecure encryption systems. Quantum computers or cryptography networks would take advantage of entanglement, in which two distant particles share a complementary quantum state. In some conceptions of these devices, quantum states that act as units of information would have to be transferred from one group of atoms to another in the form of light. Because measuring any quantum state destroys it, that information cannot simply be measured and copied. Researchers have long known that this obstacle can be finessed by a process called teleportation, but they had only demonstrated this method between light beams or between atoms...

Read the full story


Teliris Launches VirtuaLive with HSL's Thoughts and Analysis

Via Human Productivity Lab

GlobalTable VirtuaLive 360 Front.jpg

Teliris, a company that develops telepresence solutions, has announced its 4th generation offering. From the press release:

The VirtuaLive(TM) enhanced technology provides the most natural and intimate virtual meeting environment on the market, and is available in a broad set of room offerings designed to meet the specific needs of its customers.

Building on Teliris' third generation GlobalTable(TM) telepresence solutions, VirtuaLive(TM) provides enhanced quality video and broadband audio, realistically replicating an in-person meeting experience by capturing and transmitting the most subtle visual gestures and auditory cues.

"All future Teliris solutions will fall under the VirtuaLive(TM) umbrella of offerings," said Marc Trachtenberg, Teliris CEO. "With such an advanced technology platform and range of solutions, companies can select the immersive experience that best fits their business environment and goals."

VirtuaLive's(TM) next generation of Virtual Vectoring(TM) is at the center of the new offerings. It provides users with unparalleled eye-to-eye contact from site-to-site in multipoint meetings with various numbers of participants within each room. No other vendor offering can match the natural experience created by advanced technology in such diverse environments.

Social behavior and norms in virtual environments are comparable to those in the physical world

Nick Yee and colleagues at Stanford University have investigated whether social behavior and norms in virtual environments are comparable to those in the physical world. To this end, they collected data from avatars in Second Life, in order to explore whether social norms of gender, interpersonal distance (IPD), and eye gaze transfer into virtual environments even though the modality of movement is entirely different.
"Results showed that established findings of IPD and eye gaze transfer into virtual environments: 1) Malemale dyads have larger IPDs than female-female dyads, 2) male-male dyads maintain less eye contact than female-female dyads, and 3) decreases in IPD are compensated with gaze avoidance"
According to Yee and coll., these findings suggest that social interactions in online virtual environments are governed by the same social norms as social interactions in the physical world.

Yee, N., Bailenson, J.N. & Urbanek, M. (2006). The unbearable likeness of being digital: The persistence of nonverbal social norms in online virtual environments. Cyberspace and Behaviour, In Press.


Sep 17, 2006

How computer gamers experience the game situation

Delwin Clarke, P. Robert Duimering.

Computers in Entertainment (CIE), Volume 4 ,  Issue 3  (July 2006)

Very little is known about computer gamers' playing experience. Most social scientific research has treated gaming as an undifferentiated activity associated with various factors outside the gaming context. This article considers computer games as behavior settings worthy of social scientific investigation in their own right and contributes to a better understanding of computer gaming as a complex, context-dependent, goal-directed activity. The results of an exploratory interview-based study of computer gaming within the "first-person shooter" (FPS) game genre are reported. FPS gaming is a fast-paced form of goal-directed activity that takes place in complex, dynamic behavioral environments where players must quickly make sense of changes in their immediate situation and respond with appropriate actions. Gamers' perceptions and evaluations of various aspects of the FPS gaming situation are documented, including positive and negative aspects of game interfaces, map environments, weapons, computer-generated game characters (bots), multiplayer gaming on local area networks (LANs) or the internet, and single player gaming. The results provide insights into the structure of gamers' mental models of the FPS genre by identifying salient categories of their FPS gaming experience. It is proposed that aspects of FPS games most salient to gamers were those perceived to be most behaviorally relevant to goal attainment, and that the evaluation of various situational stimuli depended on the extent to which they were perceived either to support or to hinder goal attainment. Implications for the design of FPS games that players experience as challenging, interesting, and fun are discussed.

Sep 16, 2006

TelePresence World 2007

TelePresence World 2007, will be held June 4-6, 2007 at the University of San Diego.

University of San Diego.jpg

The TelePresence World event series seeks to introduce telepresence technologies and explore their use in industry, government, education, medical and other fields.

Event delegates will have the opportunity to debate and discuss the revolutionary technological developments that have brought telepresence from the realm of science fiction to the reality of everyday business.

To demonstrate the power of telepresence and unified communications to bridge distance and bring people together, TelePresence World 2007 will include a concurrent exhibition to be held in the university's 25,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art pavilion.

Download the entire press release as a .pdf

Download the event "one-pager" as a .pdf


Jul 31, 2006

Immersive Medical Telepresence conference

Phoenix, Arizona, 6-7 September 2006



From the conference website 

The Health Sciences, perhaps more than any other discipline, is dependent of images / video and the analysis of these images to be successful. This is true in biomedical research, health education and of course in clinical care. These images are increasingly digital and improving in resolution by orders of magnitude. This simultaneously allows more flexibility with the analysis of the image and much better analysis. The data resources are logically growing exponentially there is a growing need to share and compare images.

The ability to effectively use and share these resources is often a local issue with individual solutions being developed. There are exceptions and when they are discovered they are often treated as significant success stories. For example, the SUMMIT Project at Stanford University has created a significant set of stereoscopic and haptically enabled Digital Anatomy resources. These resources and the expertise at Stanford will be used across the nation and now internationally to teach anatomy courses.

As the health sciences continue to become more specialized and the educational resources become more difficult to locate, advanced networking that allows secure, reliable access to expertise and high quality resources is critical. The ability to create virtual organizations and collaborate with and among students, professors, researchers, and clinicians irrespective of location is of increasing value.

At the same time, large-capacity research networks (e.g., Internet2 and peered networks, GLORIAD) and high-quality video applications (e.g., DV-over-IP, developed by the WIDE Project and stereoscopic HD video-over-IP realized by GIST are making such virtual collaboration technically possible and financially affordable. However, the absence of (human) networking opportunities has hampered the development of sustainable testbeds and slowed the rate of innovation.

This workshop will focus on our ability to effectively use and manipulate image / video resources irrespective of their location. It will also showcase many emerging technologies relevant to the medical field. Most importantly, it will provide an opportunity for those in the medical community to learn alongside experts in the area of video technologies and large capacity networking about the challenges ahead and to begin a discussion about how those challenges can be met.


Jul 27, 2006

USA Today: Cisco to introduce telepresence in the Fall

From USA today 
In an interview with USA Today, Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers announced that his company will be introducing a new Telepresence offering in the Fall.
According to Chambers, the new telepresence system will make videoconferencing more lifelike, by using "lifesize" high-definition video and directional sound technology that makes voices seem to come from where a user is located at the remote site.

Read the full interview