Sensory Perception & Interaction Research Group

University of British Columbia

Full citation: 
Yuna Watanabe, Xi Laura Cang, Rúbia Reis Guerra, Devyani Mclaren, Preeti Vyas, Jun Rekimoto, and Karon E Maclean. 2023. "Demonstrating Virtual Teamwork with Synchrobots: A Robot-Mediated Approach to Improving Connectedness." In Extended Abstracts of the 2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA '23). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, Article 441, 1–4.
The increased prevalence of online collaborative work, through necessity or preference, is accompanied by measurable drops in sat- isfaction, creativity and energy, often termed “zoom fatigue.” As loss of physical co-presence and associated nonverbal communication are identified as contributors, we introduce Synchrobots – robots designed to channel human biophysiology for group connected- ness. We propose an Interactivity demo wherein two participants perform an online problem-solving task while wearing physiolog- ical sensors and holding a Synchrobot as it physically renders a translation of their partner’s heartrate. The setup involves two sta- tions, each with a laptop running Zoom, a set of wearable sensors recording heart rate, respiratory rate, and electrodermal activity, and a Synchrobot. After the problem-solving task, we will invite participants to reflect on how connected they felt with each other as well as their satisfaction with the collaboration quality. Partici- pants may consent to release this data for later inclusion as part of a study.
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