Graduation Year

2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.S.M.E.

Degree Name

MS in Mechanical Engineering (M.S.M.E.)

Degree Granting Department

Mechanical Engineering

Major Professor

Kyle B. Reed, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Redwam M. Alqasemi, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Seok Hun Kim, Ph.D.

Keywords

Directional Force Compensation, Bimanual Action, Motor Control, Motor Learning, Human-Computer Interface

Abstract

As industry becomes increasingly reliant on robotic assistance and human-computer interfaces, the demand to understand the human sensorimotor system’s characteristics intensifies. Although this field of research has been going on for over a century, new technologies push the limits of the human motor system and our knowledge of it. With new technologies come new abilities, and, in the area of medical care and rehabilitation, the need to expand our knowledge of the sensorimotor system comes from both the patient and physician.

Two studies relating to human force interaction are presented in this thesis. The first study

focuses on humans’ ability to bimanually recreate forces. That is, to feel a force on one hand and reproduce that force on the other. This skill is applicable in everyday lives from tasks such as a gardener using shears to trim a bush to a surgeon tying a delicate suture. These two tasks illustrate the different factors in this study on force recreation, which are the effects of: (1) occupational force dexterity, (2) force magnitude, and (3) the number of fingers used in the recreation task. Results showed statistical significance for force magnitude and number of fingers as factors in bimanual force recreation but not for occupation.

The second study examines how humans compensate for force perturbations in different directions with respect to the line of action and the effects of restricting movement time. A dynamic tracking task was presented to participants in which they were told to follow a moving target as accurately as possible. During a fixed interval along the target’s path, a force field would perturb them in an undisclosed direction. Nine force conditions and three speeds were tested on both the left and right hands. Statistical analyses and comparison of error data indicate an effect of force direction on compensation accuracy. Speed is demonstrated as a statistically significant factor on accuracy, and a linear relationship between speed and error is posited.

Available for download on Thursday, June 28, 2018

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