Keynote Speakers

Mar Gonzalez-Franco

Metaverse From Fiction to Reality and the Research Behind It

Tuesday, 5 October
14:00 CEST UTC+2

YouTube Stream (non-interactive): Coming Soon
Discord Channel w/ Zoom and Interactive Q&A Access (registered attendees only): Coming Soon

For the Metaverse to become the reality we not only need better adoption of devices, and good networking tools. We also need to understand how people will be represented and interact with each other and the objects in the Metaverse. There is research to be done and existing research that is relevant. In this keynote we present a body of work on two main underserved areas: avatars and Haptics. Both areas of research are deeply connected to human perception and behaviour. We will also talk about the difficulties of creating the on the wild applications that will bring us the Metaverse.

Dr. Mar Gonzalez-Franco is a Researcher in the EPIC (Extended Perception Interaction and Cognition) team at Microsoft Research. In her research Mar focuses on exploring human behavior and perception to help build better technologies on the wild. A part of her prolific scientific output, her work has also transferred to products used in daily basis by many around the world, such as Together mode in Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Soundscape.

Mar holds a BSc in Computer Science (URL, Barcelona) and MSc in Biomedical Engineering (Universitat de Barcelona and Tsinghua University). She earned her Ph.D. in Immersive Virtual Reality and Clinical Psychology under the supervision of Prof. Mel Slater at the EVENT-Lab, affiliated as a visiting student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MediaLab. She completed her postdoctoral studies at University College London.

Domenico Prattichizzo

Wearable Haptics for Virtual and Augmented Reality

Wednesday, 6 October
14:00 CEST UTC+2

YouTube Stream (non-interactive): Coming Soon
Discord Channel w/ Zoom and Interactive Q&A Access (registered attendees only): Coming Soon

In the last decade, we have witnessed a drastic change in the form factor of audio and vision technologies, from heavy and grounded machines to lightweight devices that naturally fit our bodies. However, only recently, haptic systems have started to be designed with wearability in mind, which enables novel forms of interaction in virtual and augmented reality. The development of wearable haptic devices for virtual and augmented environments faces the challenge of providing users with consistent sensory inputs. The problem often stems from the compromise linked with the concept of wearability: it is fundamental to find the right equilibrium between realism of the perception and design constraints for wearability, in order to avoid that the haptic feedback quality becomes inversely proportional to the overall degree of device wearability. In this keynote, I will present a brief excursus on the most relevant challenges of haptics for AR and VR in a wearable perspective, together with a discussion on the future perspectives of haptics in virtual and augmented reality.

Domenico Prattichizzo is a Full Professor of Haptics and Robotics at University of Siena; Senior Scientist of the IIT in Genova; Co-founder of two startups: WEART and EXISTO on wearable haptics and wearable robotics; IEEE Fellow; Editor in Chief of IEEE Transactions on Haptics; President of Eurohaptics society. Human and robotic hands, along with haptic perception and the art of manipulating objects, have polarized his research, which is increasingly oriented towards highly wearable haptics for virtual and augmented reality. Scientific Coordinator of several research projects funded by European Union, USA and Japan. In 2013 he pioneered the field of haptics with a seminal contribution on wearability in haptics. He is the author of more than 500 publications in scientific journals, books and conference proceedings. He is the inventor of more than 12 patents filed of haptics, robotics and wearables.

Doug A. Bowman

User Experience Considerations for Everyday Augmented Reality

Thursday, 7 October
14:00 CEST UTC+2

YouTube Stream (non-interactive): Coming Soon
Discord Channel w/ Zoom and Interactive Q&A Access (registered attendees only): Coming Soon

Future AR glasses will be much like today’s smartphones, as our everyday information access and productivity devices. Technical challenges in optics, power, and tracking remain, but are solvable. However, technical achievements alone are insufficient to ensure that everyday AR systems will be productive, usable, useful, and satisfying. We must also design effective methods for interacting with and managing AR content, and we must understand the effects of always-on AR, on both individuals and communities. In this talk, I will present a vision of future everyday AR use cases, and discuss recent user experience (UX) research aimed at enabling this vision. I will discuss UX design recommendations for making information access through AR more convenient and usable than today’s smartphones and smartwatches, while at the same time not distracting users from what’s going on in the real world around them. I will conclude with a call to action for researchers and designers to carefully consider how everyday AR can benefit society and how to avoid potential pitfalls.

Doug A. Bowman is the Frank J. Maher Professor of Computer Science and Director of the Center for Human-Computer Interaction at Virginia Tech. He is the principal investigator of the 3D Interaction Group, focusing on the topics of three-dimensional user interface design and the benefits of immersion in virtual environments. Dr. Bowman is one of the co-authors of 3D User Interfaces: Theory and Practice. He has served in many roles for the IEEE Virtual Reality Conference, including program chair, general chair, and steeering committee chair. He also co-founded the IEEE Symposium on 3D User Interfaces (now part of IEEE VR). He received a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation for his work on 3D Interaction, and has been named an ACM Distinguished Scientist. He received the Technical Achievement award from the IEEE Visualization and Graphics Technical Committee in 2014. His undergraduate degree in mathematics and computer science is from Emory University, and he received his M.S. and Ph.D. in computer science from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

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