University of Oulu

Suomalainen M., Mimnaugh K.J., Becerra I., Lozano E., Murrieta-Cid R., LaValle S.M. (2021) Comfort and Sickness While Virtually Aboard an Autonomous Telepresence Robot. In: Bourdot P., Alcañiz Raya M., Figueroa P., Interrante V., Kuhlen T.W., Reiners D. (eds) Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality. EuroXR 2021. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 13105. Springer, Cham.

Comfort and sickness while virtually aboard an autonomous telepresence robot

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Author: Suomalainen, Markku1; Mimnaugh, Katherine J.1; Becerra, Israel2;
Organizations: 1Center for Ubiquitous Computing, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Centro de Investigacion en Matematicas (CIMAT), Guanajuato, Mexico
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2021
Publish Date: 2022-11-17


In this paper, we analyze how different path aspects affect a user’s experience, mainly VR sickness and overall comfort, while immersed in an autonomously moving telepresence robot through a virtual reality headset. In particular, we focus on how the robot turns and the distance it keeps from objects, with the goal of planning suitable trajectories for an autonomously moving immersive telepresence robot in mind; rotational acceleration is known for causing the majority of VR sickness, and distance to objects modulates the optical flow. We ran a within-subjects user study (n = 36, women = 18) in which the participants watched three panoramic videos recorded in a virtual museum while aboard an autonomously moving telepresence robot taking three different paths varying in aspects such as turns, speeds, or distances to walls and objects. We found a moderate correlation between the users’ sickness as measured by the SSQ and comfort on a 6-point Likert scale across all paths. However, we detected no association between sickness and the choice of the most comfortable path, showing that sickness is not the only factor affecting the comfort of the user. The subjective experience of turn speed did not correlate with either the SSQ scores or comfort, even though people often mentioned turning speed as a source of discomfort in the open-ended questions. Through exploring the open-ended answers more carefully, a possible reason is that the length and lack of predictability also play a large role in making people observe turns as uncomfortable. A larger subjective distance from walls and objects increased comfort and decreased sickness both in quantitative and qualitative data. Finally, the SSQ subscales and total weighted scores showed differences by age group and by gender.

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Series: Lecture notes in computer science
ISSN: 0302-9743
ISSN-E: 1611-3349
ISSN-L: 0302-9743
ISBN: 978-3-030-90739-6
ISBN Print: 978-3-030-90738-9
Volume: 13105
Pages: 3 - 24
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-90739-6_1
Host publication: Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality. EuroXR 2021
Host publication editor: Bourdot, Patrick
Raya, Mariano Alcañiz
Figueroa, Pablo
Interrante, Victoria
Kuhlen, Torsten W.
Reiners, Dirk
Conference: International Conference on Virtual Reality and Mixed Realit
Type of Publication: A4 Article in conference proceedings
Field of Science: 213 Electronic, automation and communications engineering, electronics
113 Computer and information sciences
Funding: This work was in part supported by Business Finland project HUMOR 3656/31/2019, in part by Academy of Finland project PERCEPT 322637, in part by European Research Counsil project ILLUSIVE 101020977, in part by the US National Science Foundation under Grants 035345 and 1328018, and in part by the Secretaría de Innovación, Ciencia Y Educación Superior SICES under Grant SICES/CONV/250/2019 CIMAT.
EU Grant Number: (101020977) ILLUSIVE - Foundations of Perception Engineering
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 322637
Detailed Information: 322637 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021. This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Lecture Notes in Computer Science. The final authenticated version is available online at