Members of Microsoft Research as we speak launched Virtual Robot Overlay for Online Meetings (VROOM), a strategy to mix AR and VR and produce life-sized avatars into the office by way of telepresence robots. Makers of VROOM detailed the system in a recently released paper and mentioned it’s meant to make each the individual working remotely in VR and the one who is working within the workplace and carrying a HoloLens AR headset really feel like they’re in the identical place.
As a Windows Mixed Reality headset tracks pose and head motion of the distant employee, they’ll have a 360-degree view of the environment and motion by way of the telepresence robotic. A Unity app is used to animate the avatar for the individual carrying the HoloLens primarily based on the motion of the distant employee.
Hand gestures and arm motion are recorded by controllers and seen by each members. The system provides mouth motion when persons are speaking, in addition to blinking and idle actions to make the avatar appear extra life-like.
VROOM converts a 2D picture right into a 3D avatar to position the distant employee’s face on the top of the avatar.
The VROOM system additionally provides the VR person a first-person view, so the distant employee can see their hand actions and gestures in addition to the individual utilizing a HoloLens headset. The avatar then seems to stroll when the distant employee instructs the robotic to maneuver.
VROOM was written by Simon Fraser University PhD candidate and Microsoft Research intern Brennan Jones, Microsoft Research engineer Yaying Zhang, Microsoft Research social communication tech senior researcher Sean Rintel, and Microsoft researcher Priscilla Wong.
“Although we used a telepresence robot with a screen so that we could run a comparison between standard robotic telepresence and VROOM (to be reported in a future paper), the screen would be unnecessary in a space where all local users wore a headset. Thus, a future iteration could use any drivable robot with a 360-degree camera on a pole reaching head-height,” the authors mentioned within the paper.
The authors anticipate that tech like VROOM could also be greatest utilized to industries the place work includes whiteboard or design periods, so you may see the gaze and a spotlight and take part on an equal stage.
Other documented makes use of of telepresence robots embrace purposes in museums, distant tutorial convention attendance, and long-distance relationships.
VROOM demonstrates solely one-on-one interactions. Future work with VROOM could discover purposes with a number of individuals, experiments in shared combined actuality workspaces, or work with inexpensive cell robots.
VROOM was accepted for publication at ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing System as a sequel to a prior research contribution. The convention was scheduled to happen in Hawaii final week however was largely canceled as a consequence of COVID-19 and world shut down orders. Previous ACM CHI work revealed in 2018 launched Mini-Me, a strategy to deliver avatars into conferences for conferences and interplay in combined actuality.
In different latest VR office purposes, final month the Spaces app was launched for VR Zoom conferences, and final week HTC launched a Vive Sync app for conferences and collaboration in digital actuality.