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Training with haptic guidance

Haptic technology has the potential to be used the training of a variety of skills, such as teleoperation, vehicle control, and movement training. Previous studies have investigated the use of haptic guidance to improve the training of motor skills, i.e. providing assistive forces to help the trainee learn the correct movement needed to accomplish a task. Unfortunately, most studies have shown a null of even detrimental effect of haptic guidance on learning. For more complex motor tasks, it may be possible that the task can be accomplished via different movements. Here, motor skill learning consists of: 1) identifying a movement strategy to use, and 2) refining execution of this movement strategy. While prior work has mainly focused on the latter, we conducted an experiment to study the former.

Subjects learned to manipulate a virtual under-actuated system via a haptic device either with or without haptic guidance. The guidance enabled subjects to experience a range of successful movements, rather than strictly enforcing one trajectory. Subjects who trained with guidance adopted a strategy that involved faster reaches, required greater control of the system’s degrees of freedom, and increased the potential for faster task completion. However, overall improvement of task performance was limited with the new strategy.

T. L. Gibo and D. A. Abbink. Movement strategy discovery during training via haptic guidance. IEEE Transactions on Haptics, 9(2):243-254, 2016.