Being There: Augmented Reality for Remote Collaboration
Collaborating remotely on tasks that require engagement with the physical environment is difficult with existing videoconferencing technologies, since they do not adequately support a shared 3D space or ways to effectively communicate spatial information. We propose a framework for unobtrusive mobile telecollaboration that integrates the physical environment, supporting rich interaction by using computer vision-based tracking and mapping, along with augmented reality techniques to communicate spatial information about a novel scene. This allows for a decoupling of the participants’ views of the environment based on a real-time tracking and mapping technique that supports general camera motion (both rotation-only and translational movement) in the 3D environment. The approach effectively integrates panorama mapping and tracking with a keyframe-based SLAM system, behaving like one or the other depending on the camera movement, with no prior information about the environment. We describe the framework and prototype system, user studies to evaluate the benefits of the interface, and promising applications of the technology.