Date of Award

Spring 2008

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering - (M.S.)

Department

Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Richard A. Foulds

Second Advisor

Sergei Adamovich

Third Advisor

Bruno A. Mantilla

Abstract

A model of a robotic manipulator designed to respond to different inputs from users with different skills or conditions is presented. This model can be adapted to different input variables and converted into joint angles which relate to movement in space of the manipulator's links. The algorithm allows for real time response and the features of the virtual environments (i.e., 3D design, stereoscopic vision) gives the designers the opportunity to use this model for training and usability evaluation according to the skills and different conditions that users could present.

Two types of virtual environments were created aiming to be used as training tools for the user in the operation of the controllers. The first type is intended to develop complex daily tasks; the second one was designed to be used as an evaluation of usability. A relationship between the input given by the human motor system of the potential user and the response obtained from the model is evaluated by using Fitts' Law. Several works have been written using it as a model of prediction of human performance for Human-Computer Interaction. This work uses structured virtual environments where the variables required for Fitts' Law application are known and controlled. The evaluation of the response of the manipulator to the inputs from the operator have given information about the feasibility of controlling the movements of the robot according to the skills of the user.

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