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8th Conference of the Media Psychology Division of the German Psychological Society, Sept. 4–6

Last week, CrossWorlds fellows Benny Liebold and Daniel Pietschmann went to Würzburg  to present research papers with their respective working groups on “Emotionally Neutral Cues in Virtual Agent’s Expressive Behavior Impair Recognition of Emotions in Other Modalities” (Liebold) and “Effects of Video Game GUIs on the Construction of Rich Spatial Situation Models and Spatial Presence” (based on the Masters Thesis of and presented by Steve Nebel) at the 8th Conference of the Media Psychology Division of the German Psychological Society. Further talks included “Social Interaction in Massively Multiplayer Online Games: An Evolutionary Perspective” (Pietschmann), “No Evidence for Persuasion Effects of Emotional Advertisement on Attitudes towars Social Groups – The Case of Ageism” (Liebold) and “Gaze Path Analysis of Differences in Task Related Perception of Data Visualization” (Müller). Daniel also participated in the PhD Workshop the day before the conference.

We had a great time at the lab of Prof. Frank Schwab and colleagues in Würzburg and thank the organizers for putting together a great conference for the Media Psychology Division this year.


Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction 2013, Geneva, Sept. 2–5

With the biannual conference on Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction that aims at the intersection of research on human emotion and computational models of emotion, research on emotion both in humans and virtual entities found an important platform for interdisciplinary exchange. This year the 5th conference was held in Geneva, Switzerland, on September 2–5.

On Thursday, September 4, CrossWorlds fellow Benny Liebold gave a talk on “Multimodal emotion expression of virtual agents. Mimic and vocal emotion expressions and their effects on emotion recognition”. The talk addressed human recognition of emotion expressions of virtual agents. It was found that our ability to recognize emotional states from virtual agents is worse when virtual agents use unimodal expressions of emotions compared to multimodal expressions. Even more interestingly, unimodal expressions of emotions together with neutral nonverbal cues are recognized worse than isolated unimodal expressions of emotions. The latter might be a result of users perceiving the neutral expression of virtual agents as a relevant component of the virtual agent’s emotional state. Further results can be obtained from the conference proceedings, which are going to be indexed in IEEE Xplore.

A total number of 55 papers covered a vast area of research from psychological research in human emotions to computational models of emotional processes, such as empathy and automated emotion recognition. We thank the Computer Vision and Multimedia Laboratory and the Swiss Center of Affective Sciences from Geneva University, who did a great job in organizing the conference, putting together a great conference program including the very interesting keynote speakers.


HCI International 2013, Las Vegas, July 21–26


This July the CrossWorlds fellows Anke Tallig, Michael Heidt and Michael Storz presented their paper submissions at the HCI International 2013 Conference in Las Vegas. With its two different thematic areas and nine affiliated conferences the conference had a very broad scope on many different aspects of human computer interaction. The large amount of submissions (1666 Papers and 303 Posters) gave attendees the opportunity to choose between many parallel sessions.

HCII'13 Keynote by Hiroshi Ishii

HCII’13 Keynote by Hiroshi Ishii

Anke Tallig presented on her work Border Crosser A Robot As Mediator Between Virtual and Real WorldMichael Heidt his contribution Examining Interdisciplinary Prototyping in the Context of Cultural Communication and Michael Storz his work Annotate Train Evaluate. A Unified Tool for the Analysis and Visualization of Workflows in Machine Learning Applied to Object Detection and A Support Framework for Automated Video and Multimedia Workflows for Production and Archive for his college Robert Manthey.


International Summer Workshop on E?Learning, Embedded Systems and International Cooperation from July 17th-19th

During the workshop three members of the Crossworlds team presented their contributions in the field of computer engineering and E-Learning. In addition to these presentations of Anke Tallig, Kai-Uwe Martin and Madlen Wuttke from Technische Universität Chemnitz, the conference benefited greatly from contributions of researchers from Russia’s Novosibirsk State Technical University, Mongolia’s University of Science and Technology as well as researchers from India. Dr. Valerie Ruhe from Canada gave a keynote on ‚Evaluation in Distance Education and E-Learning: The Unfolding Model‘ which tied in very well with the Crossworld’s contributions ‚Mobile Learning‘, ‚Robotic Edutainers‘, and ‚Pro-Active Pedagogical Agents‘. All presented talks will be published in the upcoming conference proceedings, while the preparations for the International Summer Workshop in 2014 have already begun.

We thank the organizing committee, chaired by the IBS Foundation and the department of Computer Engineering by Prof. Dr. Hardt, for the enjoyable working environment and the opportunity to participate in the inspiring discussions.


Conference “Games, Cognition, and Emotion”

Daniel PietschmannBenny LieboldLast week, Benny Liebold and Daniel Pietschmann gave invited talks at the Games, Cognition, and Emotion Conference 2013 in Hamburg. Their contributions on States of Mind Are Not Merely Cognitive Phenomena: The Link Between Emotion and Focused Attention Allocation During Gameplay and Spatial Mapping of Input and Output Spaces in Video Games both concentrated on theoretical questions and foundations of their work at Crossworlds. Both talks were followed by positive and insightful discussions with conference participants from different research backgrounds. We thank the organizers, especially Felix Schröter from the Research Center for Media & Communication, for making us part of a great conference.


Guest lecture by Greg Welch

On June 6th, Professor Greg Welch, Ph.D. was giving a guest lecture on “Physical-Virtual Humans for Training and Teleportation”.

Greg Welch is a Research Professor in the Institute for Simulation & Training and the Computer Science division of EECS at The University of Central Florida. In 1986 he received a degree in Electrical Technology from Purdue University (with Highest Distinction), and in 1996 a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to coming to UCF, Welch was a Research Professor at UNC, he worked on the Voyager Spacecraft Project at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and on airborne electronic countermeasures at Northrop-Grumman’s Defense Systems Division.

His current research interests include virtual and augmented reality, human tracking systems, 3D telepresence, computer vision, and stochastic estimation. He has co-authored over 60 publications in these areas, and is a co-inventor on multiple patents. He has co-chaired conferences, workshops, and seminars; served on numerous international program committees; and is an Associate Editor for the journal Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments. He maintains an internationally-recognized web site dedicated to the Kalman filter. He is a member of the IEEE Computer Society, the Association for Computing Machinery, and the Society for Simulation in Healthcare.


CHI ’13 – CrossWorlds Presentation & Workshop-Panel


CHI ’13 Opening Plenary

crossWorlds fellows Kalja Kanellopoulos and Michael Heidt were invited to present their paper ‘Stubborn Materialities / Unruly Aesthetics’ at CHI ’13. The participation in the workshop ‘Crafting Interactive Systems’ included a talk as well as acting as panellists for the session ‘technology as critique’. Focussing on a reconceptualization of the relationship between artistic and scientific practices, both researchers explored the potentials inherent in digital materialities. According to their positions, displacements introduced by interactive art open new expressive possibilities for aesthetic unmasking of power relations. The presentation sparked lively discussions as well as obtaining strongly positive feedback.
Throughout the conference, the field of HCI articulated itself as driven by a highly dynamic community. An atmosphere of openness towards heterodox thought was perceived as helpful intellectual catalyst, creating exciting opportunities for integration of scientific, artistic and designerly practices.
ACM CHI is widely acknowledged as the most prestigious conference in the field of Human-Computer-Interaction. This year’s CHI was the largest and most multicultural event hosted so far with around 3300 attendees, representing a total of 54 nations.


DFG Research Training Groups meet in Dagstuhl

Michael Storz presents his work at Dagstuhl Castle

Michael Storz presents his work at Dagstuhl Castle

From Mai 26th to Mai 29th 2013 the DFG Research Training Groups in Computer Science met in Dagstuhl Castle. About 70 Professors and PhD-Students of 15 RTGs participated. This annual meeting takes place in Dagstuhl since 2007. The general idea of the meeting is to support networking between the young researchers. The RTGs presented their work and discussed their experiences. Maximilian Eibl gave an overview on CrossWorlds and Michael Storz presented his work. Keynotes were given by Frank Kirchner from the DFKI Bremen on “Robotics and Artificial Intelligence” and Bernt Schiele, director of the MPI Informatics Saarbrücken on “Scene Understanding – It’s Time to Address it Again”. An overview of the event can be found here.


Workshop on HRI

K. Dautenhahn & CrossWorlds Fellows

Friday the 3th of May we had the pleasure to welcome Prof. Kerstin Dautenhan in Chemnitz for a talk on Challenges in human Robot Interaction. Kerstin Dautenhahn is Professor of Artificial Intelligence in the School of Computer Science, Faculty of Science, Technology and Creative Arts at University of Hertfordshire. There she is coordinator of the Adaptive Systems Research Group with the main areas of research in Human-Robot Interaction, Social Robotics, Socially Intelligent Agents and Artificial Life. In her talk on challenges in Human-Robot Interaction she gave plenty examples of robots and scenarios the Adaptive Systems Research Group created.

Kerstin Dautenhahn is former member of the Department of Biological Cybernetics at University of Bielefeld, Germany, 1990-1993, and AI-Lab at GMD (now Fraunhofer), Sankt Augustin, Germany, 1993-1996, and VUB Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Brussels, Belgium. In April 2000 she joined the Department of Computer Science (now School of Computer Science) at University of Hertfordshire as Principal Lecturer. She got promoted to full Professor in 2003. We are very happy that she joined her rich experiences in interdisciplinary research – she joined Robotics as a studied Biologist – afterwards with some of our PhDs.

Further information about Kerstin Dautenhahn can be found on her Website.


M&C ’13 Workshop: Methodological Approaches to HCI

Designing interactive systems requires knowledge about actual interaction processes that evolve during HCI. Acquiring this knowledge, however, is a matter of an adequate methodological approach that enables researchers to answer specific questions in the respective contexts that frame the interaction between the user and interactive systems.

With the aim to discuss the adequacy of different methodological strategies for specific applications, CrossWorlds is going to organize a workshop at Mensch & Computer 2013 (M&C) about “Methodological Approaches to HCI”. The workshop will serve as a platform for focused discussions about current interdisciplinary research projects that aim to design or evaluate various interactive systems (computers, robots, virtual agents). We therefore encourage graduate and postgraduate students to submit an extended abstract concerning their current methodological issues in HCI research.

More Information on the schedule and submission deadline will follow in due time.