1994-06-01

The Behavioral Cybernetics of Telescience - An Analysis of Performance Impairment During Remote Work 941438

This report introduces a behavioral cybernetic analysis of performance difficulties inherent to teleoperation. From this perspective, the assumption is that such difficulties arise as a consequence of a degradation in the fidelity of behavioral feedback control. Conceptual and empirical evidence is presented for the conclusion that spatiotemporal perturbations in sensory feedback, specific to human factors design of the task and interface, degrade behavioral control of sensory feedback and thereby critically compromise teleoperation performance. In support of this conclusion, results from a large body of experimental evidence compiled over the past four decades are summarized to indicate that both delays and spatial displacements in sensory feedback engender substantial decrements in hands-on performance, which training does not completely overcome. Recent findings are cited demonstrating that teleoperation is degraded more than hands-on performance under perturbed sensory feedback conditions. Findings from our research in this problem area are described, based on implementation of an innovative methodology in which sensory feedback perturbations are imposed as continuously varying forcing functions. Collectively, the findings and analysis presented suggest that performance effects of perturbed sensory feedback constitute a major obstacle to high fidelity telepresence during teleoperation, and that design improvements aimed at ameliorating these effects may be essential to establishing acceptable telescience applications.

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