Utilizing Glove-Based Gestures and a Tactile Vest Display for Covert Communications and Robot Control

Report No. ARL-TR-6971
Authors: Linda R. Elliott; Anna Skinner; Rodger A. Pettitt; Jack Vice; Alexander Walker
Date/Pages: June 2014; 122 pages
Abstract: Dismounted Soldiers consistently experience heavy cognitive and visual workload, particularly during navigation and patrol, and under conditions of high stress and time pressure. This report describes an investigation of the potential of gestural controls and a tactile vest display expected to reduce cognitive, physical, and temporal demands as they relate to covert communications and robot control. Data were collected on 31 Soldiers. Twelve Soldiers were from the Explosive Ordnance Disposal military occupational specialty and had extensive experience with robot control. In this experiment-based evaluation, the task demands in a typical rural reconnaissance patrol were deconstructed into specific tasks involving a platoon leader role, a squad leader role, and a robot controller role. Results showed that use of an instrumented glove and a tactile vest display for covert communications was associated with a higher average percentage and faster average speed of signal detections when compared to traditional hand and arm signals. Also, glove-based control of robot maneuvers was compared with a handheld controller. While the glove controller was not associated with better performance outcomes, Soldiers expressed high regard for the concept, and provided many suggestions for further development of gestural controls for both covert communications and robot control.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: June 1, 2014