Scalability of Robotic Controllers: An Evaluation of Controller OptionsExperiment II

Report No. ARL-TR-5776
Authors: Rodger A. Pettitt; Elizabeth S. Redden; Nicholas Fung; Christian B. Carstens; David Baran
Date/Pages: September 2011; 60 pages
Abstract: This experiment was designed to investigate options for scaling robotic controllers for use by dismounted Soldiers. A touch-screen controller has the potential to be smaller and lighter than other controller devices because the display and controls are combined in one space. Soldiers' performance using an Android touch-screen controller was compared with their performance using a baseline Xbox 360 joystick controller. Thirty Soldiers from the Officers' Candidate School served as participants. Each Soldier completed outdoor and indoor driving courses using both controller types in counter-balanced order. Course completion times were significantly faster with the Xbox controller compared to the Android controller. In addition, there were significantly fewer driving errors and off-course errors with the Xbox controller. Total workload ratings were significantly lower for the Xbox than for the Android. Although the touch-screen controller can be used to teleoperate a robot, it has several shortcomings. The primary benefit of the touch-screen controller is its small size and light weight. However, the Android had substantial costs in terms of speed, accuracy, and workload associated with teleoperation. Touch-screen performance might be improved by incorporating haptic or auditory feedback and by recalibrating some functions such as modifying top speed, turning rate, and acceleration.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: September 1, 2011