Conceptual illustration of our implemented PanoVC prototype. (Left) A user of our PanoVC system (the local user) shares the environment by capturing it with the mobile phone, (Middle) a distant user (the remote user) receives a camera stream, and builds and updates a panoramic representation of the distant environment. Using orientation tracking the phone becomes a window into the distant environment as both users can independently control their current view. (Right) By providing a window into the distant environment, users of PanoVC experience the feeling of presence as they are virtually "being there together".

Abstract: We are presenting PanoVC - a mobile telepresence system based on continuously updated panoramic images. We are showing that the experience of telepresence, i.e. the sense of "being there together" at a distant location can be achieved with standard state-of-the-art mobile phones. Because mobile phones are always on hand users can share their environments with others in a pervasive way. Our approach is opening up the pathway for applications in a variety of domains such as the exploration of remote environments or novel forms of videoconferencing. We present implementation details, technical evaluation results, and the findings of a user study of an indoor-outdoor environments sharing task as proof of concept.

Acknowledgements:We would like to thank Samuel O’Connell and Braden Hart for assisting with running the user study. We further thank all users participating in the experiment as well as all members of the Human-Computer Interaction Group of the University of Otago for their input and valuable discussions.