Luis Almeida PhD Project:

Augmented reality framework for socialization between elderly people

This research proposes an augmented reality framework to support three-dimensional conferencing based on tele-presence with objective "sense of presence" measures. The goal is to study and develop an incremental on-line 3D human reconstruction solution useful for real-time interaction on mixed reality workspaces. The approach explores virtual view synthesis through motion body estimation and hybrid sensors composed by video cameras and a depth camera (ex: structured light). By exploring computers graphics, spatial audio and artificial vision capturing techniques we intend to induce sensations of being physical in the presence of other people and by investigating people's reaction we expect to obtain an objective evaluation of "sense of presence" on AR environments.

Immersive teleoperation of mobile robots

The research also investigates approaches capable of inducing sensations of tele-presence in robotic tele-operations. Operator's control actions are simpler, if he feels being in the remote environment. The goal is to replicate some conditions of the remote environment to let operator's perception behaviours approximate to the natural ones. Since immersion aims at providing stimulus to trick the sensory system, we pursue a consistency between outside sensory feedbacks and inside sensory proprioceptive, vestibular information and cognitive models. Seeking operations enhancement, we explore the embodiment concept by virtually place the operator inside the robot. This research develops and evaluates natural-based interfaces for immersive tele-operation. The results indicate a decrease in cognitive workload with gains in task performance.