1993-07-01

Behavior-Analytics and the Design of User-Interface Technology for Space-Program Telerobotics 932042

This paper describes a structured protocol for automated assessments of how operator interactions with telerobotic systems are actually affected by different types of user-interface components and designs. Current space robotic systems are limited in their ability to meet operational requirements intended for SSF and future space initiatives. Two reasons for these limitations are: 1) the human operators are faced with excessive workload requirements and 2) there is a lack of sensory feedback. (Sensory feedback is information received through the human senses, i.e., vision, hearing, touch.) Hence, there is a significant need to apply methods for development testing in order to ensure that the system design engenders suitable man-machine interactions. One of the measurement tools most common to empirical assessments of user-interfaces with telerobots, and other complex systems, involves surveys or questionnaires. While this approach is useful for accessing personal (sometimes expert) opinions concerning the interface design, measures of actual operator-system interactions are not considered (at least not directly). On the other hand, actual operator interactions with simulated interfaces can also be unitized and measured in realtime. Furthermore, relatively simple software can be designed to access these measures automatically. Whereas the use of empirical analyses based on real time measures of operator performance may not be uncommon, there is a lack of literature or industrial standards describing this methodology for aeronautical and industrial applications. Therefore, the focus of this paper will be to provide a detailed outline of this behavior-analytic performance measurement methodology as it would be applied to the design of automated (computer-driven) systems with particular emphasis on robotic tests systems.
This approach uses a 3-plane Cartesian method in order to derive discrete units or counts throughout the entire range of telerobotic translation and rotation. Whereas, most of the examples offered in this report focus on the design of user systems for SSF telerobotics, the same methods should be applicable to other complex manned-systems in space and on the ground.

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