An idea has emerged from Mr Norikazu Takagi (from Ducklings Japan) to let his grandmother who is a resident in Nagoya prefecture to join an important personal event of him, his wedding ceremony held in Tokyo. However, due to her medical conditions she cannot attend the ceremony physically.
So in a cross collaboration between our research group in Keio Media Design, CREATIVE ORCA, and FOVE, we designed a user friendly system to let her “Virtually” attend the ceremony. And to realize this idea, we used the concept of telepresence using a Head Mounted Display to provide immersive stereo visuals of the event in the remote site. At the ceremony, we used Pepper robot as a platform to build our system on top of it. A custom 60FPS stereo camera set was added to robot’s head, and a low latency stereo video stream is sent to Nagoya (<180ms). The user (Grandmother) controls robots head using her eyes movement, and can do simple hands gestures using a joystick.
During the event, grandmother’s reactions were priceless! She almost cried when she saw the pride and her grandson in the ceremony, also she expressed her feelings saying “I felt as I was there with them”.
This type of feedback is what keeps me going on and doing what I do!
The event was covered by NHK TV, and broadcasted over Japan.