The Impact of Haptic Feedback Quality on the Performance of Teleoperated Assembly Tasks

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  • Published on May 15th, 2012

In teleoperation, haptic feedback allows the human operator to touch the remote environment. Yet, it is only partially understood to what extent the quality of haptic feedback contributes to human-in-the-loop task performance. This paper presents a human factors experiment in which teleoperated task performance and control effort are assessed for a typical (dis-)assembly task in a hard-to-hard environment, well known to the operator. Subjects are provided with four levels of haptic feedback quality: no haptic feedback, low-frequency haptic feedback, combined low- and high-frequency haptic feedback, and the best possible-a natural spectrum of haptic feedback in a direct-controlled equivalent of the task. Four generalized fundamental subtasks are identified, namely: 1) free-space movement, 2) contact transition, 3) constrained translational, and 4) constrained rotational tasks. The results show that overall task performance and control effort are primarily improved by providing low-frequency haptic feedback (specifically by improvements in constrained translational and constrained rotational tasks), while further haptic feedback quality improvements yield only marginal performance increases and control effort decreases, even if a full natural spectrum of haptic feedback is provided.