A High Fidelity Mixed Reality System for Remote Collaboration
This thesis presents a novel system for enabling remote collaboration within a mixed reality environment. Since the increase of virtual and augmented reality headsets, there has been increased interest in improving remote collaboration. Systems have been proposed to use 3D geometry or 360° video for providing remotely collaborating users with a view of the local, real-world environment. However, many systems provide limited interactions in the local environment and target using coupled views of all users, rather than simulating face-to-face interactions, or use virtual environments for the remote user, losing visual realism. The presented system enables a user situated in a remote location to join a local user to collaborate on a task. An omni-directional camera is streamed to the remote user in real-time to provide a live view of the local space. The 360° video is also used to provide believable lighting when compositing virtual objects into the real-world. Remote users are displayed to local users as an abstracted avatar to provide basic body gestures and social presence. Voice chat is also provided for verbal communication. The system has been evaluated for technical performance and user experience. The evaluation found the performance of the system was suitable for real-time collaboration. Remote and local users were also found to have similar satisfaction with the system, experiencing high levels of presence, social presence and tele-presence. Shared cinematic and remote presentations are suggested as possible applications to guide further development of the system.