University of Twente Student Theses


The effect of partner performance on arm impedance modulation during haptic human-human interaction

Zwijgers, E. (2019) The effect of partner performance on arm impedance modulation during haptic human-human interaction.

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Abstract:Humans often coordinate movements with each other during haptic human-human interaction. Previous research showed that individual task performance improves when two partners are physically connected, but the underlying mechanisms of how we use haptic cues remain unclear. A study suggests that joint impedance might be a contributor of haptic communication during interaction. Joint impedance, changed by muscle co-contraction, is namely one of the strategies used by the neuromuscular system to generate accurate movements. This study investigated if the level of individual muscle co-contraction during haptic collaboration is related to the performance of one's partner during haptic human-human interaction. An experiment was developed in which participants haptically interacted through a compliant connection in a continuous tracking task. During the experiment, the amount of co-contraction was measured using electromyography sensors to determine muscle activity. The tracking performance of the participants was manipulated by applying visual noise to the target movement to obtain more pronounced performance differences between partners. Our results indicate that muscle co-contraction in the monoarticular shoulder muscles and partly in the monoarticular elbow muscles is modulated based on the performance of the partner. The amount of co-contraction was increased when haptically interacting with a worse partner compared to performing the task alone, while the amount of co-contraction was decreased when haptically interacting with a better partner. Besides, the co-contraction was negatively correlated with the performance of the partner when the interacting partner was better. Further research should reveal if the modulation of arm impedance is a genuine mechanism used to improve individual task performance during haptic human-human interaction.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Subject:52 mechanical engineering
Programme:Biomedical Engineering MSc (66226)
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