Evidence-based development and evaluation of haptic interfaces for manual control

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

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At present, the rapid development of automation technologies allows robots remarkable precision and endurance, as well as the strength in accomplishing repetitive tasks. Despite this, manual control is still indispensable in many domains where robots and humans play complementary roles, as humans demonstrate superior competence in improvisation and flexibility, as well as the excellent ability to take on tasks where things cannot be fully specified. Haptic interfaces provide a prime example which combines the strengths of these two elements, allowing them to interact and merge into a highly integrated control loop. A haptic interface is usually created by providing force feedback related to the task on a control device. The haptic feedback makes performing manual control more intuitive, allowing the operator to physically act upon what (s)he feels, rather than generating the control activity through only interpreting other sensory inputs, such as visual and auditory cues. Over the last few decades, haptic interfaces have gained popularity as being powerful tools to facilitate manual control. By analogy with a visual interface, one can interpret a haptic interface as the display that presents information to and accepts commands from a human operator. While giving input through the interface, the neuromuscular system of the operator also acts as the eye that perceives the information being presented by a display. This highly interactive nature underlines the importance of orienting the development of all haptic systems towards humans, particularly towards what humans feel and how they need to act. To facilitate future development of haptic interfaces, this thesis focuses on two of the main challenges that have not been adequately addressed from such a human centric perspective: (i) among various possibilities, how can we select the one that works more effectively with humans, i.e., using understanding of human control behavior (how humans act) to guide the development of the philosophy of the design?, and (ii) how can we know whether a device ensures a transparent haptic interaction, i.e., incorporating the characteristics of human haptic perception (what humans feel) into the evaluation of the quality of the display? ...
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • van Paassen, M.M., Supervisor
  • Mulder, M., Supervisor
Award date20 Jun 2019
Print ISBNs978-94-6366-177-5
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2019


  • Haptic interface
  • haptic perception
  • manual control behavior
  • neuromuscular system
  • mechanical properties
  • massspring- damper systems
  • haptic display transparency


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