The Outer Limits – CSf Endorsed tracks, workshops & conference activities


 Forming a Research Vision

What are your hopes for your research area? How do you see your research changing the world? You probably have a vision for where your research is going but most workshops and conferences are generally only forums that allow you to tell people about what you have already done (backed up will well worked theory and experiments), rather than to allow you to describe or engage in discussion about where your research might go! ‘Might‘ is a very appropriate word, as the future is uncertain and so such discussion will always be a little speculative, although without such dreams many of the advances we have witnessed would not take place! So,how can these dreams for research be shared and discussed it a way that is grounded in credible research; The Creative Science  “Outer Limits” programme is one such approach.

The Outer Limits – A Mechanism To Promote Discussion on the Future

The Creative Science ‘Outer Limits‘ scheme provides conference and workshop organisers with a means (a set of concepts and organizational templates) to add a small visionary session to promote discussion about future directions for research. It is intended to be a small add-on session, so as not to unbalance the main focus of the conference or workshop, while providing the opportunity to open up discussion about the future.

Why The Outer Limits?

The name for this session The Outer Limits is is derived from an American TV series that aired on ABC during the period 1963 to 1965 which had an  emphasis on science fiction. It was quite a pioneering series taking viewers on a trip to the extremities of what the future might be like. A particularly memorable feature of this series was that each episode started by the suggestion that your TV was being taken out of your control (by some unknown higher forces) for the duration of the programme! Many of the organizers of Creative Science were fans of that series, and have thus adopted this name as description of our methodology for extending conference and workshop sessions to take a brief excursion to examine where their research areas might be heading. The idea is that conference or workshop organisers would provide a small period for more speculative visions of the future (departing from more formal result driven work) with the hope of promoting more innovative thinking relating to their areas.

How it Works

Its simple to participate in the Creative Science Foundation  ‘Outer Limits‘ programme; all you need to do is to provide time in your conference or workshop for a few slots where people can present a future vision for their research. We will provide you with a template (and guidance) for how this might be framed. We use a methodology called Science-Fiction Prototyping (SFP) which was created by Brian David Johnson (Intel’s Futurist) as a means to help Intel engineers think about the applications for integrated circuits. This was a particular challenge to Intel as it can take 7-10 years from concept to manufacture (up to 3 generations of computer or 6 generations of mobile phone away!). In that respect, SFP provides  a way to think about that future, and to hold conversations with the stakeholders of that future. In conferences and workshops this can be used as a means to extrapolate current research forward in time, to describe what it might look like, or how it is used. Generally, a SFP is set in a context that goes beyond just the technology and shows how it affects peoples lives.  In this way it serves as to act as a catalyst  to extend research and to inspire new directions of work. By way of templates for this approach  there are a number of earlier events and journals you can use, but we would recommend looking at the two workshops that started SciFi prototyping movement, namely  Creative Science 2010 or Creative Science 2011. Alternatively, more information and a more comprehensive list of publications can be found on the main Creative Science website. In addition, if you inform us about your event, we will add links to it from this web page and, even make such papers available from here (thereby establish a wider body of such work), see following section. The Creative-Science Logo can also be used in events that incorporate the SFP methodology and are listed on this website.

earlier  ‘Outer Limit’ events

Special Track at ‘iLRN 2016’ (27th June – 1st July 2016)

The Future of Education –  This is a CSf endorsed ‘Outer Limits’ event took the form of a special track at iRN’16 that explored issues relating to the future immersive learning. The presentations were of two types, Science Fiction prototypes (taking an imaginative look at immersive education) and factual forward looking papers. In particular the following papers were presented:

Science Fiction Prototypes
* Paul McCullagh. “Mind, the Gap
* Carly A. Kocurek, Jennifer L. Miller, “Olive Dreams of Elephants: Game-Based Learning for School Readiness and Pre-literacy in Young Children

Factual papers
* Vic Callaghan, Marc Davies, Shumei Zhang. “An Online Immersive Reality Innovation-Lab
* Samah Felemban, Michael Gardner, Victor Callaghan, “Virtual Observation Lenses for Assessing Online Collaborative Learning Environments
* Chantel Dan Chen, Florence Myles, Victor Callaghan, “The 21st Century Interpreter: Exploring the use of smart-glasses for technology-augmented interpreting

Special Session at ‘The Cloud-of-Things 2013’ (16-17th July 2013)

Things – This was the first ‘Outer Limits‘ session which was hosted by the Cloud-of-Things workshop and contained the following 4 papers:

* Tiina KYMÄLÄINEN, (Aalto University, Finland), IF Alice Arrives, THEN Wonderhome Incites
* Yu HUANG (University of Southern California), Hsuan-Yi WU (National Taiwan University, Taiwan), “The Programmer and the Widow: Exploring the Effects of Total Immersion in Augmented Realities
* Yevgeniya KOVALCHUK (King’s College London, UK), “Talking Things
* Vic CALLAGHAN (University of Essex, UK), “The Maker Fables