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Design and evaluation of a head-mounted display for immersive 3D teleoperation of field robots

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 May 2014

Henrique Martins
Institute for Systems and Robotics, Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon, Portugal
Ian Oakley
School of Design and Human Engineering, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, Ulsan 689-798, Republic of Korea
Rodrigo Ventura*
Institute for Systems and Robotics, Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon, Portugal
*Corresponding author. E-mail:


This paper describes and evaluates the use of a head-mounted display (HMD) for the teleoperation of a field robot. The HMD presents a pair of video streams to the operator (one to each eye) originating from a pair of stereo cameras located on the front of the robot, thus providing him/her with a sense of depth (stereopsis). A tracker on the HMD captures 3-DOF head orientation data which is then used for adjusting the camera orientation by moving the robot and/or the camera position accordingly, and rotating the displayed images to compensate for the operator's head rotation. This approach was implemented in a search and rescue robot (RAPOSA), and it was empirically validated in a series of short user studies. This evaluation involved four experiments covering two-dimensional perception, depth perception, scene perception, and performing a search and rescue task in a controlled scenario. The stereoscopic display and head tracking are shown to afford a number of performance benefits. However, one experiment also revealed that controlling robot orientation with yaw input from the head tracker negatively influenced task completion time. A possible explanation is a mismatch between the abilities of the robot and the human operator. This aside, the studies indicated that the use of an HMD to create a stereoscopic visualization of the camera feeds from a mobile robot enhanced the perception of cues in a static three-dimensional environment and also that such benefits transferred to simulated field scenarios in the form of enhanced task completion times.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2014 

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