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Immersive virtual walking system using an avatar robot

Promsutipong, Kengkij, Luces, Jose V. Salazar, Ravankar, Ankit A., Tafrishi, Seyed Amir ORCID: and Hirata, Yasuhisa 2022. Immersive virtual walking system using an avatar robot. Presented at: 2022 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), Philadelphia, PA, USA, 23-27 May 2022. 2022 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA). IEEE, pp. 9325-9331. 10.1109/ICRA46639.2022.9811588

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The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has enforced governments across the world to impose social restrictions on the movement of people and confined them to their homes to avoid the spread of the disease. This not only forbids them from leaving their homes but also greatly reduces their physical activities. This situation has brought attention to virtual technologies such as virtual tours or telepresence robots. While these technologies allow people to remotely participate in activities, it does not address the problem of reduction in physical activities due to the pandemic. In this paper, we propose a telepresence robotic system driven by the user's gait to provide an immersive virtual walking experience in remote locations. To this end, we developed a control interface consisting of an automated treadmill that adjusts its speed to the user's pace automatically. This interface is used to control an avatar robot that sends a 360-degree live image back to the user for visual feedback. We conducted an evaluation experiment to compare the experience using the proposed system in two different conditions to that of regular walking. The results indicated that the proposed system gives an immersive and realistic virtual walking experience while demanding physical effort from the user.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Engineering
Computer Science & Informatics
Publisher: IEEE
ISBN: 978-1-7281-9681-7
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 2 February 2023
Date of Acceptance: 13 January 2022
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2023 12:30

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