Pilot adaptation to different classes of haptic aids in tracking tasks

Mario Olivari, Frank M. Nieuwenhuizen, Heinrich H. Bulthoff, Lorenzo Pollini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Haptic aids have been largely used in manual control tasks to complement the visual information through the sense of touch. To analytically design a haptic aid, adequate knowledge is needed about how pilots adapt their visual response and the biomechanical properties of their arm (i.e., admittance) to a generic haptic aid. In this work, two different haptic aids, a direct haptic aid and an indirect haptic aid, are designed for a target tracking task, with the aim of investigating the pilot response to these aids. The direct haptic aid provides forces on the control device that suggest the right control action to the pilot, whereas the indirect haptic aid provides forces opposite in sign with respect to the direct haptic aid. The direct haptic aid and the indirect haptic aid were tested in an experimental setup with nonpilot participants and compared to a condition without haptic support. It was found that control performance improved with haptic aids. Participants significantly adapted both their admittance and visual response to fully exploit the haptic aids. They were more compliant with the direct haptic aid force, whereas they showed stiffer neuromuscular settings with the indirect haptic aid, as this approach required opposing the haptic forces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1741-1753
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Nov 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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