Haptic assistance improves tele-manipulation with two asymmetric slaves

Jeroen Van Oosterhout, Cock Heemskerk, Henri Boessenkool, Marco R. De Baar, Frans C.T. Van Der Helm, David A. Abbink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
222 Downloads (Pure)


Tele-manipulation of heavy loads typically requires the simultaneous use of two asymmetric slaves: a crane for vertical weight support; and a robot for accurate lateral positioning. The industrial standard prescribes a pair of operators for such tasks (one operator to control each slave), although in principle one operator might control both slaves with a single, hybrid interface. Accurate and safe co-operative handling of the expensive and fragile heavy components is difficult, presumably due to problems in the coordination of the subtasks and the lack of mutual awareness between the two operators. This study proposes a novel haptic assistance system to improve subtask coordination and task performance. Its novelty consists of haptically linking operators/interfaces through the joint task environment. The system's efficacy is evaluated with fifteen pairs of co-operators and fifteen individual uni-manual operators who manoeuvred a heavy load through a bounded path in Virtual Reality. Haptic assistance improves task completion time for both groups. It also reduces control activity and self-reported workload without affecting a number of critical errors made by the operators. Moreover, without haptic assistance, uni-manual operators perform worse than co-operators, but this difference between the interfaces disappears with haptic assistance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-153
JournalIEEE Transactions on Haptics
Volume12 (April-June 2019)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Accepted Author manuscript


  • Co-operation
  • Collaboration
  • Dyads
  • Haptic assistance
  • Haptic shared control
  • Haptics
  • Remote handling
  • Tele-manipulation


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