This article presents a user experiment that assesses the feeling of spatial presence, defined as the sense of “being there” in both a real and a remote environment (respectively the so-called “natural presence” and “telepresence”). Twenty-eight participants performed a 3D-pointing task while being either physically located in a real office or remotely transported by a teleoperation system. The evaluation also included the effect of combining audio and visual rendering. Spatial presence and its components were evaluated using the ITC-SOPI questionnaire (Lessiter, Freeman, Keogh, & Davidoff, 2001). In addition, objective metrics based on user performance and behavioral indicators were logged. Results indicate that participants experienced a higher sense of spatial presence in the remote environment (hyper-presence), and a higher ecological validity. In contrast, objective metrics prove higher in the real environment, which highlights the absence of correlation between spatial presence and the objective metrics used in the experiment. Moreover, results show the benefit of adding audio rendering in both environments to increase the sense of spatial presence, the performance of participants, and their engagement during the task.

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