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Sensory Manipulation as a Countermeasure to Robot Teleoperation Delays (80NSSC21K0845)
Research Area:
Behavior and performance
Human factors
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human


Most existing interactions with robots in space exploration are achieved through teleoperations, such as the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) and the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM, or Dextre) for extravehicular activities (EVA) on ISS. Time delays remain one of the most challenging issues in space robot teleoperations. NASA’s Human-Automation-Robot-Interaction (HARI) evidence report clearly shows that teleoperation delays can negatively affect performance if operators do not calibrate to it. Delays cause loss of situational awareness, task halt and errors, increased workload, and long-term stress and trust issues. During future deep space exploration, problems of teleoperation delays will become more severe due to the immense distances between communicators. Existing techniques for mitigating time delays in space robot teleoperation can be categorized into supervisory control and predictive feedback. Supervisory control is a semiautonomous approach where the operator gives only high-level and intermittent commands for the remote robotic system to close the autonomous actions itself. While predictive feedback still relies on continuous manual control, but adjusts the timepoints of feedback signals (e.g., haptics) based on the predicted delays to counteract latencies.
This research takes an alternative direction to investigate methods to manipulate human subjective perception of time delays in teleoperation, and human adaptation when delay patterns are less predictable and automation is not available or reliable. The goal of this research is to test if sensory manipulation, especially forms providing virtual force cues via haptic device-generated feelings of touch and resistance (paired with delayed visual cues), can help mitigate the negative influence of teleoperation delays measured by perceived presence, neural efficiency, and task performance.
This study has the following specific aims.
  • Aim 1: Perform human-subject experiments to quantify how modified haptic stimulation expedites operator’s adaptation to varying delays in teleoperations.
  • Aim 2: Predict the short-term and long-term benefits and risks to the operator’s functions based on neurobehavioral evidence.

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Task performance and analysis
Time and motion studies

Data Information
Data Availability
Archiving in progress. Data is not yet available for this experiment.

Cognitive load
Eye movement
Eye-hand tracking
Hemodynamic response
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Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
Ground 05/01/2009 In Progress

Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Johnson Space Center (JSC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Proposal Date
Proposal Source
2020 HERO 80JSC019N0001-HFBP, OMNIBUS3 Crew Health: Human Factors and Behavioral Performance-Appendix E; Omnibus3-Appendix F