Long: Steering Clear: Investigating the Usability of a Vibrotactile Display for Improving Simulated Teleoperation Obstacle Avoidance

Steering Clear: Investigating the Usability of a Vibrotactile Display for Improving Simulated Teleoperation Obstacle Avoidance

Thursday, April 7 at 11:30 in Brackett 419

While teleoperation is advantageous in terms of adaptability and safety, it introduces challenges resulting from the operator’s poor perception of the remote environment. Previous literature on the ability of haptic feedback to augment visual displays indicates that obstacle avoidance information may be more meaningfully communicated via vibrotactile torso systems, though there is no empirical evidence to support this. Presenting this information so that operators can accurately detect the proximity from walls and obstructions could result in a significant reduction in errors, ultimately improving task performance and increasing the usability of teleoperation. The goal of the current study was to determine the degree to which a vibrotactile torso belt could improve unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) teleoperation performance over video feed alone in a simulated environment. Sixty operators controlled a UGV using a simulated video feed, while half also utilized a vibrotactile belt. Results indicated that the vibrotactile display did not improve navigational performance or decrease subjective workload over video feed alone. Possible reasons for this and limitations are discussed.

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