RAVE-08 Opening

Good morning everyone and welcome to the RAVE.

It is fantastic to see how many of you have joined us today. Certainly more than we anticipated!

RAVE means Real Actions in Virtual Environments. As you have not doubt inferred, this is an event in the context of Presence research but with a sharper focus: eliciting and measuring real actions in virtual environments.

I am here representing  PEACH, the FET Coordination Action under the theme of Presence Research in Action. The objective of PEACH is to support and help unite the Presence community under well defined themes. The general objective of this field is to  produce "real"-feeling experiences through sensorial replacement, sensorial augmentation and interaction with "bits" or digital media  (full or partial immersion in simulated reality). As a result, Presence is a scientific and technological multi-disciplinary field requiring joint work in Human Cognition (how does the brain work and how can we "hack" it?), Human-Machine interaction (how can we establish efficient bidirectional links?) and Machine Cognition (how can we automatize the creation of "real"-feeling content?). A simple measure of success in Presence is this: If it feels real then it is Presence. Or more precisely, as it will be emphasized here, if you act as if it were possibly real, then it is Presence.

As a field, Presence is so intensely interdisciplinary that it can easily be susceptible to dispersion and defocusing. RAVE is certainly one of the strong themes that can help bring together the community and provide focus for advancement in science and engineering. So today, we will focus on something we can easily measure: real actions in virtual environments. Why does it happen that people respond as if they were in a real situation, when they are fully aware they are not? How can we better control this phenomenon, and so on. The scientific applications are many, but I would highlight the potential to shed some light on the mechanisms the brain uses to construct that fiction we call reality, which includes space, time, and agency.

RAVE-08 aims to be the first of an Annual Workshop Series  focusing on the whys and hows of realistic action in virtual environments. I hope you enjoy the very interesting program we have put together with the support of the community, our keynote speakers, and the poster+music+wine session we have prepared for last. 

Thank you for coming and have a great time.