Those participating in the meeting as mobile users were impressed by the ability to look in which ever direction they wished using the HMD. Observations of the mobile users showed them changing their head positions to focus on a person in the remote meeting room in the same manner as they would in a normal meeting room environment. The system as it presently exists has a number of both technical and perceptional problems, partially caused by the software, the camera system chosen and general weaknesses in the system.
The software was developed internally and provides a full screen picture for the HMD at the expense of resolution. The resolution was sufficiently poor so that the average mobile user had difficulties in recognising people beyond a distance of approximately 2 meters. The frame rate was also very slow, especially when users changed their head position quickly. This was due to the video images been transmitted without compression. While we have developed compression algorithms, these were not working with the software at the time of these tests.
A number of communication and perceptual problems occurred. One mobile user complained that the original position of the camera, positioned on the table, made him feel as though he was 'looking up' at everybody else. He asked for the camera to be raised up to his perception of eye level by placing some books under the camera. Additionally, a problem occurred when one mobile user was attempting to decide on who was currently speaking. In later discussions, the mobile users commented that it was easier to know who was talking depending on their ability to recognise different voices. It was noted that the slow frame rate and poor resolution did not help pick out mouth movement, but it did help the mobile user pick out who was speaking by observing the direction in which the meeting participants were looking.