Workshop: Future of Telepresence

Co-sponsored by IEEE Future Directions, part of the IEEE Telepresence Initiative

Keynotes and Invited Speakers /Panelists:

Paolo Fiorini, Leila Takayama John Blitch, Jan van Erp, David Locke, Neal Y. Lii, Tiago Falk, Maria Palombini

Workshop Days and Hours

October 2, 10:45 to 18:00 Hawaii Time

October 3:8:00 to 18:00 Hawaii Time

The Telepresence workshop will bring together researchers in all aspects of telepresence, from hardware and enabling technologies to applications and understanding adoption.  It expands on the 2021 Workshop and the 2022 Symposium organized by the IEEE Future Directions Initiative on Telepresence
2021 Workshop
2022 Symposium

Workshop Organizers

Adrian Stoica, Saeid Nahavandi, Jan van Erp, Gunter Niemeyer, Leila Takayama, David Locke

Detail schedule to be posted by September 29.

High level schedule below.

Monday, Oct 2. All times are Hawaii time

10:45 Welcome, planning

11:00 Paolo Fiorini keynote

11:30 John Blitch keynote

12:00 Lunch Break

13:00 Papers

15:00 Plenary talk from Prof Susumu Tachi

16:00 Telepresence Roadmap Session 1 (J. v Erp)

18:00 Adjourn

Tuesday, Oct 3. All times are Hawaii time

8:00 Panel (Paolo Fiorini, Leila Takayama John Blitch, Jan van Erp, David Locke, Neal Y. Lii, Tiago Falk, Maria Palombini. Moderator A. Stoica)

9:00 Plenaries from  (Fred Hadaegh and Maja Mataric)

10:45 Break

11:00 Demonstrations

12:00 Lunch

13:00 Late-breaking Presentations (Abstracts)

14:00 Panel continuation, free discussions

15:45 Break

16:00 Telepresence Roadmap, Session 2

18:00 Adjourn


Paolo Fiorini

Paolo Fiorini

University of Verona, Italy, IEEE Fellow, ALTAIR Robotics Lab Founder and Director.

Paolo Fiorini, received the Laurea degree in Electronic Engineering from the University of Padova, (Italy), the MSEE from the University of California at Irvine (USA), and the Ph.D. in ME from UCLA (USA). From 1985 to 2000, he was with NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, where he worked on autonomous and teleoperated systems for space experiments and exploration. In 2001 returned to Italy at the School of Science of the University of Verona (Italy) where is a Full Professor of Computer Science. His research focuses on teleoperation for surgery, space, service and exploration robotics, and autonomous navigation of robots and vehicles. In 2001 he founded the ALTAIR robotics laboratory, which has been awarded several EU and Italian grants, including projects on robotic surgery, such as Accurobas, Safros, Isur, and Eurosurge. In 2009, he founded the company Surgica Robotica for the development of a new surgical robot for abdominal surgery that received the CE certification in 2012. He is an IEEE Fellow (USA, 2009), Corresponding Member of the Academy of Agriculture, Sciences and Letters (Verona, 2015), and Honorary Professor of Obuda University (Budapest, 2016).

John G. Blitch

John G. Blitch

United States Air Force Academy, Senior Research Professor, LTC, USA RET

John G. Blitch is a popular keynote speaker and lecturer in the fields of rescue robotics, artificial intelligence, innovative design, and cognitive neuroscience. John served as Primary Investigator (PI) for the SPAARC (Surrogate Perspectives for Adaptive Agile Robot Control) program supporting  NASA’s Pavilion Lake Research Project (PLRP) in Canada and the  NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) simulation at the Aquarius underwater reef base near Key Largo FL.  He served in various DoD roles and was Program Manager for DARPA, funding early robotic programs. He has over 30 years of experience in AI, unmanned systems technology and robotics. John has a BSc from he U.S. Military Academy,  MSc from Colorado School of Mines and a PhD from Colorado State University. He is a receipient of NASA Honor Award (2016), Space Foundation – Space Technology Hall of Fame Inductee (2006) ACM Lawler Award  (2002)

Invited Speakers and Panelists

Leila Takayama

Leila Takayama

UC Santa Cruz and Hoku Labs

Dr. Leila Takayama is a human-robot interaction researcher who is passionate about taking a more human-centered approach to the design of robotic systems. With a background in cognitive science, psychology, and human-computer interaction, she examines human encounters with telepresence and increasingly autonomous technologies. She is an Associate Professor in the Baskin School of Engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz; VP of Human-Robot Interaction and Design at Robust.AI; and Founder of Hoku Labs, where she consults for companies and non-profit organizations.

Beyond her academic work, Dr. Takayama led user-experience research for Project Wing and other robotics projects at Google X. At Willow Garage, she led and managed a team that worked on the design of PR2 (a mobile manipulation research robot), the Beam telepresence robots, and ROS (the open-source robot operating system). She has also served as a World Economic Forum Global Futures Council Member and Young Global Leader. In 2015, she was awarded the IEEE Robotics & Automation Society Early Career Award. In 2012, she was named a TR35 winner and one of the 100 most creative people in business by Fast Company. Dr. Takayama received two BA in cognitive science and psychology from UC Berkeley, an MA in communication from Stanford University, and a PhD in communication from Stanford University.


Jan van Erp

Jan van Erp

U Twente, Netherlands

Jan van Erp is Professor of Tangible User Interaction with a special interest in using discriminative touch in haptic and tactile displays and social touch in mediated communication and interaction with virtual agents and robots. Jan has a part time appointment with HMI and is also with The Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research TNO as principal scientist.

Current technology is often inefficient, ineffective and even frustrating. Jan believes that technology should support people in their performance, safety and strive for happiness and that people and technology co-evaluate and add up to more than their sum. His mission is to develop user-system symbiosis: Human Computer Interfaces that are of benefit to both entities.

Prof. Van Erp has a MSc degree in Experimental Psychology and a PhD in Computer Science. His expertise is on advanced Human Computer Interaction including multisensory interaction, brain-computer interfaces, and interaction robotics. His publications are listed in Google, and the TNO repository Jan has directed large research consortia and chaired and participated in expert groups of amongst others ETSI, NATO and ISO. He is the current vice-president of the Eurohaptics Society (, a board member of the i3B foundation (ICT for Brain, Body and behavior,, editor at the Brain-Computer Interfaces journal (Taylor & Francis at the Frontiers in Human-Media Interaction journal (Frontiers,, and editor of the ISO standard on tactile and haptic interactions.


David Locke

David Locke

XPrize Foundation

As Executive Director of Prize Operations, David Locke brings nearly two decades of Operations and Management experience with a focus on producing large-scale, international competitions and events that drive technological breakthroughs and positive social impact. Over the course of his ten plus years at XPRIZE, David has orchestrated an eclectic slate of competitions with topics ranging from robotics (ANA Avatar XPRIZE) and Moon exploration (Google Lunar XPRIZE) to oil spill recovery (Oil Cleanup XPRIZE), water (Water Abundance XPRIZE) and safety (Women’s Safety XPRIZE) among several others.

Prior to joining XPRIZE, David was part of a small team at Sony Pictures Television responsible for orchestrating the global production of all television movie and mini-series for the studio. In addition, David has coordinated a number of award-winning network and cable TV programs, feature films as well as music videos and commercials.

David earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Television Production with a Minor in Business Administration from Loyola Marymount University and his Project Management Certification from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Neal Y. Lii

Neal Y. Lii

German Aerospace Center (DLR)

Neal Y. Lii is the Domain Head of Space Robotic Assistance, and co-founding head of the Modular Dexterous (Modex) Robotics Laboratory, at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany. Prior to joining DLR, he worked in the Automotive sector in the Silicon Valley, and at BMW in Germany, where he studied drive-by-wire systems. Neal received his BS from Purdue University, MS from Stanford University, and PhD from University of Cambridge.

Neal works on telerobotics and the different modalities of user interface (UI) for space and terrestrial applications. His hope is to enable people to effectively and effortlessly command complex robots and robotic teams. Aside from diving into hand-arm and other multi-modal UI systems that can give users an immersive experience down to the fingertips, he has also served as the principal investigator of two space telerobotic experiments, METERON SUPVIS Justin, and Surface Avatar. These experiments look at how astronauts on board the International Space Station (ISS) can command different robots on Earth through variations UI designs and command modalities, and by extension, how we can command teams of robots in future space missions.

Tiago Falk

Tiago Falk

INRS Canada

Tiago H. Falk is a Full Professor at the Institut national de la recherche scientifique, Centre on Energy, Materials, and Telecommunications, University of Quebec, where he directs the Multisensory/multimodal Signal Analysis and Enhancement Lab. He and his team have published over 300 scientific papers on the use of signal processing for improved machine learning applications in real-world settings. Prof. Falk works closely with national and international industry partners to assure their applications operate reliably “in the wild”. He has several patents covering sensor quality measurement and enhancement methods. Several of his tools have been used as benchmarks in IEEE Challenges and have received Best Paper Awards at leading international conferences, including IEEE ICASSP and IEEE SMC. He is Co-Chair of the Technical Committee (TC) on Brain-Machine Interface Systems of the IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics (SMC) Society, member of the IEEE Signal Processing Society TC on Audio and Acoustics Signal Processing, member-at-large of the IEEE SMC Society Board of Governors, a founding member of the IEEE Telepresence Initiative, and Academic Chair of the Canadian Medical and Biological Engineering Society. He is co-Editor of the book “Signal Processing and Machine Learning for Biomedical Big Data,” published by CRC Press in 2018.

Maria Palombini

Maria Palombini

Global Business Strategy & Intelligence, IEEE Standards Association

Maria Palombini, MBA is the Life Science Practice Lead for the Global Business Strategy & Intelligence Unit of the IEEE-Standards Association and an advocate for empowering all patients with the right to agency of personal dataAs the lead for the Life Science Practice at the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers – Standards Associationthe world’s largest technology association with a core mission of advancing technology for humanity. The overall mission of the Life Science practice is to build a global community of passionate stakeholders who openly collaborate to build consensus on solutions that will drive adoption of breakthrough technologies that are viable in preserving, sustaining and protecting life.  

IEEE Telepresence Initiative Steering Committee

– Adrian Stoica, Chair
– Jan van Erp, Co-Chair and Chair, Roadmap Committee

– Gunter Niemeyer, Co-Chair

– Saeid Nahavandi, Chair, Conference Meetings and Publications Committee
– Nikhil Deshpande, Chair, Resource Center Committee
– S. Farokh Atashzar, Chair, Telehealth/Telemedicine Application Committee
– Tiago Falk, Chair, Partnerships Committee
– Thomas B. Sheridan, Chair, Ethics, Privacy and Security Committee
– Daniel Cooksey
– Ljiliana Trajkovic
– David Kaber
– Arumugam Paventhan
– John Blitch
– Adrian Adascalitei
– Steve Trimberger
– Kaizad Raimalwala
– Kevin Kempton
– Rob Mueller
– Leila Takayama
– Tsutomu Hasegawa
– Carla Victoria Ramírez López
– Eddie Tunstel
– Jeff Linell
– Allison Okamura
– Salvatore Livatino
– David Locke
– Terry Fong
– Yaoping Hu
– Jeff Walsh
–Tamás Heidegger
– Tom Gedeon
– Mohamed E. Aly
– Adam Skorek
–Tariq Rahim Soomro

Paper submission for peer-review: April 23, 2023

Abstracts submissions only:  June 15, 2023.

Workshop Code: 3bti3

The IEEE Future Directions Telepresence Workshop  will be held from October 1-4, 2023 as part of SMC 2023 flagship annual conference of the IEEE Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Society.

Telepresence combines the classic dreams of extending our senses (telephone and television to hear and see remote worlds) with the ability to project ourselves to and act in remote locations.  Where many of the early developments focused on physical avatars (teleoperation of remote manipulators in hazardous places), newer technologies have enabled virtual avatars with increasing effectiveness.  Indeed the current worldwide environment, including the risks and costs of traveling, is pushing us to a world where physical presence is increasingly not a requirement for interactions.

The Workshop will combine talks, panels and presentations of peer reviewed papers submitted and accepted part of the Workshop Special Session. The contributed talks will have the abstracts published on the website. The accepted peer reviewed papers will be published by IEEE.

We invite contributions describing recent advances in the areas of
(i) fundamental technologies, including hardware and software solutions, algorithms, standards, and enabling components,
(ii) applications, ranging from teleeducation and telehealth, to social interactions, virtual travel, and other uses that could improve our quality of life
(iii) human perception and ability to navigate these technologies, ethical and privacy issues, and social impacts

The same dates as for the SMC regular papers apply:

Author instructions:

Full paper submissions: Authors that wish to have their papers appear in the SMC 2023 conference proceedings and in IEEE Xplore, will need to submit their 4-6 page papers to the SMC 2023 conference using this link ( Choose “Submit a Contribution to SMC 2023”. Under the first submissions category, choose the “Workshop Session Papers” and use code 3bti3. Full papers will undergo peer-review by a minimum of three reviewers and will be subject to an acceptance rate to be determined by the general SMC 2023 chairs.

Abstract submissions: 1-page abstracts can also be submitted. These will be reviewed by a technical program committee put together by the Workshop organizers. Accepted abstracts will not appear in the SMC 2023 proceedings and will not appear in IEEE Xplore, but they will be listed on the SMC 2023 website for diffusion. Accepted abstracts will be presented as posters during the Workshop. Abstracts should provide a title, authors list, technical content, and references within one page. To submit an abstract, authors should choose the “Workshop Session Abstracts” option in the link above and also use code 3bti3.