Embodied desktop telepresence

Advances in processing hardware, encoding techniques, and broadband networks are driving a rise in the adoption of video-based communication technologies, especially in the workplace. These technologies have been shown to increase the frequency of communication between co-workers and, in some cases, improve productivity. Despite the benefits, limitations still exist.  Past research has shown that remote users still face a disadvantage when compared to their co-located colleagues. Remote collaborators participate less in conversations, take less dominant roles in groups, and feel less connected to distant coworkers.

The Jarvis project is part of an emerging class of technologies that seek to mitigate the social disadvantages of video-based communication by providing remote collaborators with a local embodiment.  These devices have been shown to provide distributed teams with an increased sense of their remote colleagues’ presence in the local environment and a reciprocal sense of “being there” for that remote worker.  FXPAL is building and studying telepresence technologies, like Jarvis, to better understand the future office communication landscape.

Related Publications



In this paper, we report findings from a study that compared basic video-conferencing, emergent kinetic video-conferencing techniques, and face-to-face meetings. In our study, remote and co-located participants worked together in groups of three. We show, in agreement with prior literature, the strong adverse impact of being remote on participation-levels. We also show that local and remote participants perceived differently their own contributions and others. Extending prior work, we also show that local participants exhibited significantly more overlapping speech with remote participants who used an embodied proxy, than with remote participants in basic-video conferencing (and at a rate similar to overlapping speech for co-located groups). We also describe differences in how the technologies were used to follow conversation. We discuss how these findings extend our understanding of the promise and potential limitations of embodied video-conferencing solutions.