Performance evaluation of a mobile touchscreen interface for assistive robotic manipulators: A pilot study

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Background: Assistive robotic manipulators (ARMs) have been developed to provide enhanced assistance and independence in performance of daily activities among people with spinal cord injury when a caregiver is not on site. However, the current commercial ARM user interfaces (UIs) may be difficult to learn and control. A touchscreen mobile UI was developed to overcome these challenges. Objective: The object of this study was to evaluate the performance between 2 ARM UIs, touchscreen and the original joystick, using an ARM evaluation tool (ARMET). Methods: This is a pilot study of people with upper extremity impairments (N = 8). Participants were trained on 2 UIs, and then they chose one to use when performing 3 tasks on the ARMET: flipping a toggle switch, pushing down a door handle, and turning a knob. Task completion time, mean velocity, and open interviews were the main outcome measurements. Results: Among 8 novice participants, 7 chose the touchscreen UI and 1 chose the joystick UI. All participants could complete the ARMET tasks independently. Use of the touchscreen UI resulted in enhanced ARMET performance (higher mean moving speed and faster task completion). Conclusions: Mobile ARM UIs demonstrated easier learning experience, less physical effort, and better ARMET performance. The improved performance, the accessibility, and lower physical effort suggested that the touchscreen UI might be an efficient tool for the ARM users.
Publisher
Thomas Land Publishers, Inc.
Issue Date
2017-03
Language
English
Article Type
Article
Citation

Topics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation, v.23, no.2, pp.131 - 139

ISSN
1082-0744
DOI
10.1310/sci2302-131
URI
http://hdl.handle.net/10203/267585
Appears in Collection
RIMS Journal Papers
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