1998-07-13

Teleoperation in Space - Modeling Effects of Displaced Feedback and Microgravity on Tracking Performance 981701

During teleoperation in space, there are two major sources of performance degradation: (1) spatiotemporal displacements in visual feedback; confounded by (2) microgravity effects, attributable to kinetic and inertial properties of large masses maneuvered in low gravity. Both sources contributed to the Progress-Mir collision in 1997. This report describes findings from two sets of studies directed at modeling possible effects on teleoperation tracking performance of spatial, temporal, and microgravity perturbations in visual feedback presented to the teleoperator. In the first set of studies, effects of both temporal and angular displacements in visual feedback on control of tracking behavior by individual subjects were evaluated under conditions of both continuous pursuit and discrete movement tracking. Findings suggest that the performance fidelity can be improved by: (1) adapting teleoperators to spatially displaced visual feedback effects through training; and (2) minimizing teleoperator exposure to delays in visual feedback. In the second set of studies, two-person control of manual materials handling in space was modeled in the laboratory. Teams used joysticks to control force inputs to a large inertial mass guided through a complex path on a graphical display with and without visual feedback delay. Relative to no delay, task completion times were 25% longer and collisions increased 150% with delay. The findings extend results from single subjects in demonstrating deleterious effects of delay on team performance during joint telerobotic control operations.

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