This year we will be providing the opportunity for a small number of people to remotely attend the CHI conference via telepresence technologies. Our goal is to increase access to the conference for remote participants who would otherwise be unable to attend due to mobility impairments, chronic health issues, or temporary travel limitations. Although we will only be able to accommodate a small number of participants in this program, our goals are to test the viability of this experience for the future and contribute to telepresence research by studying the experience. As a result, remote attendees may be asked to participate in user studies as part of the experience.
If selected to remotely attend CHI, you will be able to participate in talks and other CHI activities via a Beam Pro telepresence robot provided and managed by Event Presence. The telepresence robot is made by Suitable Technologies and will allow you to appear on the screen, maneuver in the conference venue, attend talks, and mingle with other participants.
To accommodate the needs of all attendees, half of the Beam telepresence robots will be dedicated to attending talks and half to the interactive areas of the conference (e.g., mingling in break areas, poster sessions, hallways). Selected attendees will share access to these Beams on the days that they have registered for.
How Can I Participate?
Applicants for remotely attending CHI should be ready to commit to attending the conference on their registered days, as we will not be accepting applications to attend single sessions.
If you are interested in this opportunity, please fill out this application form by April 20, 2016. If you are selected to participate, we will contact you by April 22. Due to the exploratory nature of the technology, there may be some technical difficulties during the experience. As a result, registration cost will be $75 per day and remote attendees will be able to register for the days of their choice, availability permitting.
The User Study
To better understand the experience of remotely attending CHI, we will be conducting a user study throughout the conference. If selected to remotely attend, you will be asked to participate in the study. Participation will include:
- A pre-conference interview to discuss your prior experiences with telepresence, any past experiences with attending CHI, and what your goals are for remotely attending CHI 2016.
- Completion of a daily questionnaire to allow us to evaluate and modify telepresence robot assignments to better meet the needs of remote attendees.
- A post-conference interview to discuss your overall impressions, experiences, and any problems that occurred during your remote attendance throughout the conference.
We will also conduct an online survey of physically present conference attendees to gather their impressions and reactions about participation in the conference via telepresence technologies.
Carman Neustaedter, Simon Fraser University
Irene Rae, Microsoft