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IEEE Trans Syst Man Cybern B Cybern. 2007 Dec;37(6):1512-28.

High-fidelity bilateral teleoperation systems and the effect of multimodal haptics.

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  • 1School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.


In master-slave teleoperation applications that deal with a delicate and sensitive environment, it is important to provide haptic feedback of slave/environment interactions to the user's hand as it improves task performance and teleoperation transparency (fidelity), which is the extent of telepresence of the remote environment available to the user through the master-slave system. For haptic teleoperation, in addition to a haptics-capable master interface, often one or more force sensors are also used, which warrant new bilateral control architectures while increasing the cost and the complexity of the teleoperation system. In this paper, we investigate the added benefits of using force sensors that measure hand/master and slave/environment interactions and of utilizing local feedback loops on the teleoperation transparency. We compare the two-channel and the four-channel bilateral control systems in terms of stability and transparency, and study the stability and performance robustness of the four-channel method against nonidealities that arise during bilateral control implementation, which include master-slave communication latency and changes in the environment dynamics. The next issue addressed in the paper deals with the case where the master interface is not haptics capable, but the slave is equipped with a force sensor. In the context of robotics-assisted soft-tissue surgical applications, we explore through human factors experiments whether slave/environment force measurements can be of any help with regard to improving task performance. The last problem we study is whether slave/environment force information, with and without haptic capability in the master interface, can help improve outcomes under degraded visual conditions.

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