Graduation Year

2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Computer Science and Engineering

Major Professor

Robin R. Murphy, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Lawrence Hall, Ph.D.

Keywords

Robotics, Simulation, Training, Search and rescue, Communication

Abstract

This dissertation examined the effects of distributed, multiplayer training video games on the performance of distributed teams of robot operators. Two hypotheses were tested, the first hypothesis stated that online, game-based team training will improve the performance of an ad-hoc team versus an ad-hoc team formed of individually trained teammates. The second hypothesis stated that the fractal dimension of a robot's path can be used as an indicator of its operator's skill. Forty-one volunteers participated in an experiment in which they played a distributed, online training game which showed them the basics of operating an Inuktun Extreme VGTV for a search task. The participants were divided into two groups, one group trained in pairs as a team while the other group trained individually. The results showed that team training has no effect on the number of items found in a search by an ad-hoc team; however, team training does significantly impact the amount of information sharing between team members. The results also showed that the fractal dimension of a robot's path is quadratically related to the operator's effectiveness in a search task. Additionally, a participant's age and prior video game experience are related to their score obtained in a search task using a robot.

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