Project Description


PRESENCCIA is an Integrated Project funded under the European Sixth Framework Program, Future and Emerging Technologies (FET), which is tackling the phenomenon of presence from a number of different angles. In the context of the project, p

The PRESENCCIA project is highly interdisciplinary, combining neuroscience, computer science, psychiatry, psychology, psychophysics, mechanical engineering, philosophy, and drama.

The Persistent Virtual Community

Within the PRESENCCIA project, SPECS is developing the Persistent Virtual Community (PVC), which is one of the main goals of the PRESENCCIA project. The PVC serves as a platform to conduct experiments on presence, in particular, social presence in mixed reality.

The PVC provides a venue where entities of different degrees of virtuality can meet and interact.

These entities are:

  • Real visitors in the XIM.
  • Avatars i.e. alter egos of remote visitors.
  • Fully synthetic characters controlled by neurobiologically grounded models of perception and behavior.

The mixed-reality world of the PVC consists of the Garden, the Clubhouse, and the Avatar Heaven. The Garden of the PVC is a model ecosystem. Its development and state depend on the interaction with and among visitors. The Clubhouse is a building in the Garden and houses the virtual XIM. This virtual version is a direct mirror of the physical installation: any events and output from the physical installation are represented in the virtual XIM and vice versa. This means e.g. that an Avatar crossing the virtual XIM, will be represented in the physical installation as well. Conceptually the physical installation is “embedded” into the virtual world, meaning that visitors in the physical installation looking out of the space will see into the virtual world. The major difference between real and virtual XIM is that in the virtual version, the space is able to control the influx of visitors to the space.

Access to the PVC is given via three portals: Visitors will either access through XIM, by way of a Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE), or via the internet from a PC.

Ultimately the mixed-reality installation of the PVC will be open to the general public. In this way, the PVC provides a showcase for the key technologies developed in the PRESENCCIA project.