Human Performance Evaluation

Sensory Feedback for Smart Prosthetics

Researchers aim for 'direct brain control' of prosthetic arms

Engineers work to design prosthetic arm that allows amputees to feel what they touch

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Engineering researchers at four U.S. universities are embarking on a four-year project to design a prosthetic arm that amputees can control directly with their brains and that will allow them to feel what they touch. While it may sound like science fiction, the researchers say much of the technology has already been proven in small-scale demonstrations.

The research at Rice University, the University of Michigan, Drexel University and the University of Maryland is made possible by a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation's Human-Centered Computing program.

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Multi-Sensory Haptic Perception

Multi-sensory haptic cues have the potential to transmit a wider variety of information in the same amount of time as single-sensory haptic cues. However, these cues also interfere with each other, causing them to feel less salient to users. As it is critical that the multisensory cues transmitted to a user are conspicuous, we use the AIMS Testbed to investigate the perception of multisensory haptic cues and how this perception changes when cues are modified.

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Active

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Haptic Guidance and Training Using OpenWrist and CUFF

This research project focuses on delivering haptic guidance through cutaneous (skin stretch and squeeze) methods to help train people for new tasks. Haptic devices are tremendously useful for giving customized feedback during training. These devices can simulate forces associated with real-world tasks or provide guidance forces that help users to complete the task more effectively or accurately. It has been shown, however, that providing both task forces and guidance forces simultaneously through the same haptic interface can lead to confusion and worse performance.

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Active

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Real-Time Performance Assessment and Feedback for Manual and Robotic Surgery Platforms

Building competency in performing minimally invasive procedures is a significant effort, as trainees must acquire both procedural knowledge and manual dexterity to perform complicated tasks. If done correctly, these procedures can lead to shorter post-operative periods and fewer complications than open surgery. This is especially true in the endovascular domain, which require surgeons to navigate flexible guidewires and catheters across blood vessels to perform a variety diagnostic and therapeutic procedures such as heart valve replacements and aneurysm repair. 
 

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Active

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AIMS Haptic Testbed

This project investigates human perception of haptic, or touch, cues. In the field of haptics, there is a need for a standardized method to characterize haptic cues and assess human perception of these cues. Most haptic devices are characterized using methods that are unique to the experiment, making direct comparisons across studies challenging.

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Active

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Cognitive Modeling of Human Motor Skill Acquisition

As yet underdeveloped is the psychology of human learning as it pertains to manual control tasks in fully dynamic, multi-degree-of-freedom domains. While we currently possess the capacity to teach these tasks, we are unable to predict how well people will do in these domains or how rapidly they will learn.

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Inactive

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Motor Skill Acquisition and Motion Analysis in Robot-assisted Surgery

Our goals in this research project are to determine the significance of performance of inanimate tasks as a marker for robotic proficiency and assess the utility of inanimate task training on robotic skill performance.  We aim to establish standardized tasks for training, define accurate metrics for performance, and assess motor skill acquisition in virtual and real environments.

Robot-assisted surgery offers distinct advantages and is rapidly being applied to a diverse range of surgical procedures.  However, teleoperation inherently decouples the surgeon from the patient.  While robotic-assistance permits a more natural, intuitive interface in comparison to standard laparoscopy, there is still a significant learning curve in mastering the technique.  In addition, the advantages of the robotic system are further limited by the lack of tactile and kinesthetic information transmitted to the surgeon.  Given this lack of sensory feedback, more emphasis is placed on interpreting visual cues and understanding robotic movement during performance.

Project Status: 

Inactive

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Origins of Intermittency in Slow Movements

It has been reported in the literature that the smoothness of human subjects' arm/hand movements vanishes as the movements become slower. Intermittencies in the movement are observed as distinct peaks in the speed profile. Doeringer and Hogan (1998) proposed two possibilities for the origin of intermittency in slow movements: (1) noise in neuromuscular circuitry, and (2) a movement planner that can only construct simple movements. They showed that the intermittency can not be due to noise or delays in visual feedback.

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Inactive

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