Accessible Human-Robot Interaction for Telepresence Robots: A Case Study

Katherine M. Tsui 1 , James M. Dalphond 1 , Daniel J. Brooks 1 , Mikhail S. Medvedev 1 , Eric McCann 1 , Jordan Allspaw 1 , David Kontak 1 ,  and Holly A. Yanco 1
  • 1 University of Massachusetts Lowell


The quality of life of people with special needs, such as residents of healthcare facilities, may be improved through operating social telepresence robots that provide the ability to participate in remote activities with friends or family. However, to date, such platforms do not exist for this population.

Methodology: Our research utilized an iterative, bottomup, user-centered approach, drawing upon our assistive robotics experiences. Based on the findings of our formative user studies, we developed an augmented reality user interface for our social telepresence robot. Our user interface focuses primarily on the human-human interaction and communication through video, providing support for semi-autonomous navigation. We conducted a case study (n=4) with our target population in which the robot was used to visit a remote art gallery.

Results: All of the participants were able to operate the robot to explore the gallery, form opinions about the exhibits, and engage in conversation.

Significance: This case study demonstrates that people from our target population can successfully engage in the active role of operating a telepresence robot.

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Journal + Issues

Paladyn. Journal of Behavioral Robotics is a fully peer-reviewed, open access journal that publishes original, high-quality research works and review articles on topics broadly related to neuronally and psychologically inspired robots and other behaving autonomous systems. The journal is indexed in SCOPUS.