Information acquisition in physical human-machine interaction

Matjaž Ogrinc, Etienne Burdet
Exploration is an active, closed loop process, where actions are coordinated to maximise sensory information gain through perception. Exploratory actions provide complementary and redundant sensory information, which our brain efficiently combines to reduce the uncertainty about the natural environment. As humans increasingly interact with machines, there is a growing need for human-machine interfaces to support natural interactions and efficient information display. The integration of sensory
more » ... ues allows humans to resolve ambiguities in everyday natural interactions. Here, this mechanism is exploited to enhance information transfer of abstract tactile cues. This thesis develops a feedback method based on vibrotactile apparent motion, where an array of stimulators is excited in a particular spatio-temporal pattern to induce an illusion of motion across the skin. In the proposed approach, the speed of motion is coupled with additional cues to ease the discrimination between similar speeds. The increased throughput of information promises an efficient and convenient way for substitution of auditory or visual navigation cues. Sensory loss and dysfunctions, and cognitive disorders, such as blindness, tactile hypersensitivity and autism, often severely constrain one's ability to function. Assistive technology can greatly improve their life, such as in the case of tactile sensory substitution devices for visually and hearing impaired. However, as sensory impairments sometimes lead to cognitive dysfunctions, it is crucial to consider these relationships when designing assistive devices. Here, a case study investigated the use of vibrotactile cues to communicate with a deafblind autistic individual during equestrian therapy. The approach was validated by evaluating the individual's sensory perception and motor behaviour. Human ability to acquire and act upon sensory information trough touch is possible thanks to simultaneous control of arm motion, force and impedance. This capability remains absent in human machine inter [...]
doi:10.25560/58935 fatcat:26d6vfnxgjexlnmdhkzkpnzebe