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Sensorimotor impairment and haptic support in microgravity

Weber, Bernhard and Riecke, Cornelia and Stulp, Freek (2021) Sensorimotor impairment and haptic support in microgravity. Experimental Brain Research. Springer. doi: 10.1007/s00221-020-06024-1. ISSN 0014-4819.

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Official URL: https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s00221-020-06024-1.pdf


Future space missions envisage human operators teleoperating robotic systems from orbital spacecraft. A potential risk for such missions is the observation that sensorimotor performance deteriorates during spaceflight. This article describes an experiment on sensorimotor performance in two-dimensional manual tracking during different stages of a space mission. We investigated whether there are optimal haptic settings of the human-machine interface for microgravity conditions. Two empirical studies using the same task paradigm with a force feedback joystick with different haptic settings (no haptics, four spring stiffnesses, two motion dampings, three masses) are presented in this paper. (1) A terrestrial control study (N = 20 subjects) with five experimental sessions to explore potential learning effects and interactions with haptic settings. (2) A space experiment (N = 3 cosmonauts) with a pre-mission, three mission sessions on board the ISS (2, 4, and 6 weeks in space), and a post-mission session. Results provide evidence that distorted proprioception significantly affects motion smoothness in the early phase of adaptation to microgravity, while the magnitude of this effect was moderated by cosmonauts' sensorimotor capabilities. Moreover, this sensorimotor impairment can be compensated by providing subtle haptic cues. Specifically, low damping improved tracking smoothness for both motion directions (sagittal and transverse motion plane) and low stiffness improved performance in the transverse motion plane.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/141079/
Document Type:Article
Title:Sensorimotor impairment and haptic support in microgravity
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Weber, BernhardUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-7857-0201UNSPECIFIED
Date:19 January 2021
Journal or Publication Title:Experimental Brain Research
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Keywords:Microgravity · Force feedback · Haptic interfaces · Sensorimotor performance
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Robotics
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R RO - Robotics
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Intuitive human-robot interface [RO]
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics (since 2013) > Cognitive Robotics
Deposited By: Weber, Dr. Bernhard
Deposited On:28 Apr 2021 14:28
Last Modified:27 Jun 2023 15:04

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