Progressive Shared Control for Training in Virtual Environments
Li, Yanfang and Patoğlu, Volkan and O'Malley, Marcia K. (2008) Progressive Shared Control for Training in Virtual Environments. (Submitted)
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Virtual environments (VEs) with haptic feedback not only provide safe and versatile practice medium for many manual control tasks, but the addition of haptic guidance to VEs promise to improve efficacy of manual skill training. Haptic guidance schemes can be detrimental though, since such schemes actively interfere with the coupled system dynamics causing users to experience task dynamics that are altered from the dynamics of the real task. This paper proposes a progressive approach to haptic guidance for training in virtual environments. The progressive shared control based training paradigm adjusts its control gains based on participants’ performance; hence, aims to expose users to an appropriate amount of haptic assistance throughout training to promote learning without causing users develop dependency. Long term training experiments were conducted for a under-actuated target-hitting manual control task. Experimental results compare efficacy of the novel progressive haptic guidance to the absence of guidance and to three haptic guidance schemes commonly employed for training in virtual environments. One protocol contained no haptic guidance and represented virtual practice. Another protocol implemented virtual fixtures during training subsessions, while the third utilized a fixed-gain error reducing shared controller. The results at the conclusion of a month-long training protocol indicate that exposure to the progressive shared controller reduced the dependency on the guidance provided and had a beneficial effect on performance of the target-hitting task. Hence, progressive haptic guidance schemes that adjust the amount of assistance provided based on the users’ performance promise to be more effective in promoting motor skill acquisition when compared with their fixed-gain counterparts.
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