Telepresence definitions

Telepresence Definitions

This page is under construction.
Please excuse the dust and debris.

There are many definitions proposed to describe what "telepresence" means. Many older definitions, like those given below, are based on a teleoperation context. We believe the roots of the term are not so constrictive and are trying to compose a concise definition that is more appropriate for the term's potential breadth.

Below we make an attempt to extend one definition by mirroring the words in the extension:

"telepresence technology"

"enables people to feel as if they are actually present in a different place or time."
(S.Fisher & B.Laurel, 1991)

Some of our projects have extended the application of these technologies, thus the telepresence definition, to:

"enable objects from a different place to feel as if they are actually present."
(T.Lacey & W.Chapin, 1994)

Another one of our colleagues suggests:

"The fundamental purpose of a telepresence system is to extend an operator's sensory-motor facilities and problem solving abilities to a remote environment. Telepresence has been defined by Sheridan (1992) as a human/machine system in which the human operator receives `sufficient information about the teleoperator and the task environment, displayed in a sufficiently natural way, that the operator feels physically present at the remote site.' Very similar to virtual reality, in which we strive to achieve the illusion of presence within a computer simulation, telepresence strives to achieve the illusion of presence at a remote location. The end results of both telepresence and virtual reality are essentially the same, a human-computer interface which allows a user to take advantage of natural human abilities when interacting with an environment other than the direct surroundings. "

"The ultimate goal of these efforts is to produce a transparent link from human to machine; a user interface through which information is passed so naturally between operator and environment that the user achieves a complete sense of presence within the remote site."
(L.Rosenberg, 1994)

This statement, however, still does not comment on the illusion created when data from another place or time is made to seem present in our physical place. Hence the debate is: Can telepresence describe both directions of the illusion?

Please send your opinions to

TeleOperation Context

"is achieved by projecting the operator's manipulatory dexterity to a remote environment while reflecting sensory feedback so realistically that the operator feels present in the remote site."
(Akins, 1983)

"means that the operator receives sufficient information about the teleoperator and the task environment displayed in a sufficiently natural way, that the operator feels physically present at the remote site. ... A more restrictive definition of telepresence requires further that the teleoperator's dexterity match that of the bare-handed operator. Telepresence is sometimes used to mean virtual presence."
(T.Sheridan, 1992)

Virtual presence

, or synonymously a virtual environment or virtual reality or artificial reality ( the latter two are more fashionable but linguistically troubling terms), is experienced by a person when sensory information is generated only by and within a computer compels a feeling of being present in an environment other that the one the person is actually in.
(T.Sheridan, 1992)

_______________________________________________ CDR Stanford PaloAlto ______

last update - 15 Feb 94