Influence of spatial abilities on primary and secondary space telerobotics operator performance
Author(s)Tomlinson, Zakiya Alexandra
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Charles M. Oman.
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Teleoperated manipulators have been invaluable tools during space missions. Arm operators work in pairs, with the primary operator controlling the arm and the secondary operator assisting by monitoring arm clearance and helping to avoid singularities. Individual ability to manipulate the arm and integrate camera views is believed to correlate with 3 subcomponents of spatial intelligence: spatial visualization (SV), mental rotation (MR) and perspective taking (PT). In particular, PT (the ability to imagine an object from another viewpoint) is thought to be important for integrating camera views. Two experiments were performed; one on primary operator performance, and one on secondary operator performance. In Experiment 1, 19 naive subjects were trained to manipulate a 6 degree of freedom (DOF) simulated arm using a pair of hand-controllers. Over 18 trials, the disparity between the arm's control frame and the cameras was varied between low (< 90 degrees) and high (> 90 degrees) conditions. We used the Cube Comparisons (CC) test to assess SV, the Vandenberg Mental Rotations Test (MRT) to assess MR, and the Purdue Spatial Visualization of Views Test (PSVT) and a Perspective Taking Ability (PTA) test to assess PT. Subjects with high PSVT scores moved the arm more directly to the target and were better at maintaining the required clearance between the arm and obstacles, even without a direct camera view. The subjects' performance degraded under the high disparity condition. In Experiment 2, 11 naive and 9 returning subjects were trained to manipulate the same simulated arm during 6 trials and then acted as a secondary operator observing an additional 32 trials.(cont.) The MRT, PSVT, and PTA were used to assess spatial abilities. Though the primary operator task was slightly different, we confirmed many results of Experiment 1. Subjects with high PTA scores took less time, moved the arm more directly to the target, and moved the arm more fluidly, especially under the high disparity condition. High scorers on the PSVT and PTA were better at maintaining required clearance. Low PTA scorers looked from monitor to map more often. Prior experience with the arm didn't significantly improve task performance, and performance as primary operator didn't reliably predict performance as a secondary operator. However, subjects with high PSVT scores had better overall secondary operator performance and high PTA scorers were better at detecting problems before they occurred. The results of these studies could be used to customize initial training for astronauts. This research is supported by NSBRI through NASA Cooperative Agreement NCC 9-58.
Thesis (S.M.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2009.This electronic version was submitted by the student author. The certified thesis is available in the Institute Archives and Special Collections.Includes bibliographical references (p. 80-81).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Aeronautics and Astronautics.