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Kinesthetic Cueing for Teleoperation
 

An operator’s sense of their own hand position may be used to improve their ability to control telerobots when viewing coordinates are not aligned with control coordinates.

Benefit
This phenomenon may be adapted to aid users of telerobot systems. The cueing technique addresses a known difficulty in teleoperation which, if resolved, could improve operator performance and productivity.

Research Overview
Telerobot System
A newly proposed technique to allow users to control a computer screen cursor in the presence of large rotational sensorimotor rearrangements has been evaluated. This technique is called "kinesthetic cueing. " In present experiments kinesthetic cueing has been provided to experimental users by having them contact the cursor control device with the hand not controlling the cursor. This hand, usually the non-dominant left hand, is rotated to copy the rotation, i.e. , misalignment angle, with which the operator must deal. Preserving its rotated position, it is then placed in contact with the cursor control device.

Right: Operator Controlling a Telerobot System.

Results show that the technique works for rotational misalignment about one axis. If this technique can be successfully developed, it will solve two problems associated with training users to deal with sensorimotor rearrangements. First, it could reduce or eliminate the need for adaptation training. Secondly, it could remove concern about the perceptual aftereffects of adaptation. Control devices currently investigated for use with kinesthetic cueing include trackpads, isometric joysticks, mice and graphics tablets.

Background
Users of telerobot systems commonly may operate manipulators while remote cameras provide views of the worksite which are rotated with respect to the direction of command action. If the direction and position of the camera were sensed, consistent display and control actions can be achieved computationally. This remapping is, however, not always possible and users of teleoperations systems often must train to work in rotated coordinate systems. Even if a correction due to the rotation may be used, failure modes can still force users to face the rotation problem in some cases. Consequently, teleoperator users must train extensively to be able to operate using geometrically difficult viewing conditions, increasing workload, loss of manipulator dexterity, and risk of error.