Immersed Remotely: Evaluating the Use of Head Mounted Devices for Remote Collaboration in Robotic Telepresence

Abstract

Mobile Telepresence Robots (MTR) are an emerging technology that extend the functionality of telepresence systems by adding mobility. MTRs nowadays, however, rely on stationary imaging systems such as a single narrow-view camera for vision, which can lead to reduced operator performance due to view-related deficiencies in situational awareness. We therefore developed an improved imaging and viewing platform that allows immersive telepresence using a Head Mounted Device (HMD) with head-tracked mono and stereoscopic video. Using a remote collaboration task to ground our research, we examine the effectiveness head-tracked HMD systems in comparison to a baseline monitor-based system.
We performed a user study where participants were divided into three groups: fixed camera monitor-based baseline condition (without HMD), HMD with head-tracked 2D camera and HMD with head-tracked stereo camera. Results showed the use of HMD reduces task error rates and improves perceived collaborative success and quality of view, compared to the baseline condition. No major difference was found, however, between stereo and 2D camera conditions for participants wearing an HMD.