Help! I Need a Remote Guide in My Mixed Reality Collaborative Environment

frontiersin

The help of a remote expert in performing a maintenance task can be useful in many situations, and can save time as well as money. In this context, augmented reality (AR) technologies can improve remote guidance thanks to the direct overlay of 3D information onto the real world. Furthermore, virtual reality (VR) enables a remote expert to virtually share the place in which the physical maintenance is being carried out. In a traditional local collaboration, collaborators are face-to-face and are observing the same artifact, while being able to communicate verbally and use body language, such as gaze direction or facial expression. These interpersonal communication cues are usually limited in remote collaborative maintenance scenarios, in which the agent uses an AR setup while the remote expert uses VR. Providing users with adapted interaction and awareness features to compensate for the lack of essential communication signals is therefore a real challenge for remote MR collaboration. However, this context offers new opportunities for augmenting collaborative abilities, such as sharing an identical point of view, which is not possible in real life. Based on the current task of the maintenance procedure, such as navigation to the correct location or physical manipulation, the remote expert may choose to freely control his/her own viewpoint of the distant workspace, or instead may need to share the viewpoint of the agent in order to better understand the current situation. In this work, we first focus on the navigation task, which is essential to complete the diagnostic phase and to begin the maintenance task in the correct location. We then present a novel interaction paradigm, implemented in an early prototype, in which the guide can show the operator the manipulation gestures required to achieve a physical task that is necessary to perform the maintenance procedure. These concepts are evaluated, allowing us to provide guidelines for future systems targeting efficient remote collaboration in MR environments.


Source: frontier

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