Physical Activity, Exercise Physiology, Movement
Adaptive and maladaptive human-robot team dynamics during arm reaching performance
(A. James Clark School of Engineering (UMD) Systems Engineering - Institute for Systems Research Other)
Shuggi, Isabelle (UMD SPH Kinesiology), Shewokis, Patricia (Drexel University SBE Science and Health Systems), Herrmann, Jeffrey (UMD SOE Mechanical Engineering), Gentili, Rodolphe (UMD SPH Kinesiology)
Humans have the capability to learn the biophysical properties of novel environments and/or tools in order to acquire new motor skills. Although many studies have examined motor learning during arm reaching movements, they generally did not consider the following factors: (i) the relationship between motor and cognitive performance (e.g., cognitive workload) and (ii) the dynamics of a context in which two teammates work together to face the challenge. We studied the changes in reaching performance of a virtual robotic arm controlled by user head movements through a human-body machine interface and assessed the corresponding level of cognitive workload. In the first group (safety group), the human user teams-up with an autonomous controller which acts as a safety system by reducing the velocity of the robotic arm within critical regions of the workspace. Outside these regions (i.e., in non-critical regions), the arm moved at a constant velocity. The second group (control group) performed alone, without the autonomous safety system. The participants of both groups performed reaching movements with the robotic arm towards various targets within a two-dimensional workspace. Compared to the control group, the safety group reached the critical regions of the workspace less often; however, they revealed a higher level of cognitive workload. We suspect that the changes in velocity regulated by the autonomous system to help control the robotic arm in the critical regions resulted in a sensorimotor mapping that was different from that used in the non-critical regions. Thus, the safety group had to learn to control the robotic arm through a piecewise mapping, which may have increased the cognitive workload. This work increases our understanding of the underlying cognitive-motor processes of arm reaching movements in the context of human-robot team dynamics and can inform the design of novel generations of assistive technology.






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