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[Defense] An Internet-based Telepresence Robotic Avatar System for Real-time Mediated Interpersonal Communication

Friday, April 8, 2022

10:30 am - 11:30 am

In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science
Kunpeng Zhang
will defend his thesis
An Internet-based Telepresence Robotic Avatar System for Real-time Mediated Interpersonal Communication


Telecommunication had been achieved for more than one century, from telegraph (1855), wired telephone (1876) to the mobile phone (1973), Internet-based (the 1990s) video conferencing, and games. The progress of telecommunication had changed people’s life. The requirement for telecommunication is higher and higher, which is not limited to audio, video, and real-time. How to increase telepresence during telecommunication is a focus of recent research. In this paper, we proposed a novel Internet-based telepresence robotic avatar system that is specifically designed for real-time, mediated interpersonal communication applications. The system consists of a mobile phone App and a robot. The goal of the system is to provide the remote mobile phone user and local robot user with enhanced telepresence experiences. First, on top of an experimental tabletop robot platform, we design a smartphone App to remotely connect and control the gesture interface of the humanoid robot through the Internet, where the gesture movement (including head movement, gaze, and mouth movement) of the remote participant is real-time tracked, encoded, and transmitted to the telepresence robot along with the audio stream. Meanwhile, the audio/video acquired by the video camera and microphone embedded in the robot is transmitted to the mobile side in real-time. Embodied with the remote participant, the robot can thus perform face-to-face interaction with the local participant in the same physical space in real-time. Then, through a comparative study between the proposed system and the widely used Zoom Video Conferencing system for interpersonal communication applications, we found that our proposed system can be measurably comparable to the Zoom video conferencing system in terms of most of the studied measures. Under the circumstance of lack of video support, but only with the robot’s tangible body, lively facial expressions, and audio, the telepresence was obviously enhanced to the face-to-face level.

Friday, April 8, 2022
10:30AM - 11:30AM CT
Online via  MS Teams

Dr. Zhigang Deng, thesis advisor

Faculty, students and the general public are invited.

Masters Thesis Defense