They have build an acoustical telepresence robot named TeleHead. This robot has a user like-like dummy head. His movement is synchronized in real-time with the users’s head movement. Their subject sounds interesting, they build an acoustical telepresence robot in order that the user is able to recognise the sound source. Although the design of the head has technical formality, it implies to us: “Welcome to the Uncanny Valley”.
MIT, Paper, Science, Sound
TeleHead I is an acoustical telepresence robot that we built on the basis of the concept that remote sound localization could be best achieved by using a user-like dummy head whose movement synchronizes with the user’s head movement in real time. We clarified the characteristics of the latest version of TeleHead I, TeleHead II, and verified the validity of this concept by sound localization experiments. TeleHead II can synchronize stably with the user’s head movement with a 120-ms delay. The driving noise level measured through headphones is below 24 dB SPL from 1 to 4 kHz. The shape difference between the dummy head and the user is about 3% in head width and 5% in head length. An overall measurement metric indicated that the difference between the head-related transfer functions (HRTFs) of the dummy head and the modeled listener is about 5 dB. The results of the sound localization experiments using TeleHead II clarified that head movement improves horizontal-plane sound localization performance even when the dummy head shape differs from the user’s head shape. In contrast, the results for head movement when the dummy head shape and user head shape are different were inconsistent in the median plane. The accuracy of sound localization when using the same-shape dummy head with movement tethered to the user’s head movement was always good. These results show that the TeleHead concept is acceptable for building an acoustical telepresence robot. They also show that the physical characteristics of TeleHead II are sufficient for conducting sound localization experiments.
MIT Press Journal
August 2008, Vol. 17, No. 4, Pages 392-404
Posted Online July 16, 2008.
Copyright by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Sound Localization Using an Acoustical Telepresence Robot: TeleHead II
NTT Communication Science Laboratories, NTT Corporation, Atsugi Kanagawa 243-0198, Japan
Kanagawa Institute of Technology, Nonoichi Ishikawa 921-8501, Japan
Toyama Prefectural University, Imizu Toyama 939-0398, Japan