Telepresence robots are remote controlled cameras on wheels that are connected via Wi-Fi to a user’s computer, mobile phone or tablet. The user can communicate via a “human-scale” robot with other people and move around a workplace or home.
Researcher Giovanni Mosiello from the Department of Technology at Örebro University, has investigated how to enhance depth perception when using a telepresence robot. In his experiments he found that users often do not have any knowledge of how to drive a robot, and in most cases are not even familiar with the typical movement commands in the field of 3D gaming. Users do not feel like they are part of the remote environment where the robot is driving. This kind of perception however is critical because it allows the users to effectively estimate the distance between objects and avoid collisions. The main goal of the project was to provide a user interface that improves the user’s depth perception through 2D visual feedback and, as a secondary goal, to allow non-expert users to become familiar with the robot control interface. In his thesis “Telepresence robot: an effective drive interface using the augmented reality” Mosiello describes how a more user friendly interface can reduce the effort needed to drive the robot properly, especially for non-expert users.