Effects of streaming video quality of service on spatial comprehension in a reconnaissance task
Darken, Rudolph P.
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It has been proposed that if we could configure individual personnel with micro-video cameras and wireless communications such that they could transmit a video stream of what they were seeing to a remote observer, this would be an enormous improvement in reconnaissance and battlefield command and control. We looked ahead, based on current video and wireless communications technologies and trends to what we can expect to have available in terms of streaming video quality of service (QOS) and we used those predictions to conduct an experiment to determine if this assertion of improvement is true. Participants viewed a digital video with a data rate associated with a given transmission technology. They were asked to maintain their orientation by tracking the position of the camera on a paper floor plan diagram. They were also asked to identify a number of objects and place them in the correct room on the floor plan. The results show that participants found all conditions except the live walkthrough control condition to be extremely difficult with poor performance on both the spatial orientation task and the object identification task. Bandwidth does affect error as increased data rate improves performance. Rapid head rotations seem to be the largest contributor to disorientation, especially with low data rate video. Our results suggest that simply supplying video feedback to a remote observer may be useless at best or possibly damaging at worst. What is needed is not necessarily more bandwidth, but better interfaces and tools to help observers to remain oriented such that they can extract what is needed from the video stream.