As we all know (and heard many jokes about), different people have their own understanding of the distance to maintain during communication. Factors such as personality, culture, and, well, eyesight :-) play a role. So during one of our discussions we asked ourselves a question: how far would a person stand from a telepresence robot during the communication with a person controlling it? After all, it is a person you are talking to. Or a robot? To understand it better, our research group conducted an experiment during one of our workshops.
We created simulated situations where participants had discussions with Double 3 telepresence robot, and unobtrusively measured the distance they kept. Our findings were compared to previous studies on human-to-human communication and revealed that the distance kept was similar to the borderline between personal and social distancing of people in Northern Europe. Additionally, we found a correlation between participants’ habits of playing computer games and the distance they kept.
To showcase the results of our endeavor, we authored an article detailing the outcomes in greater depth.