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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Usability evaluation of emerging virtual reality technologies in telerobotics Haghjoo, Fatemeh


Recent technological advancements in robotic systems have led to increasing exposure of humans to these systems. Therefore, the quality of Human-Robot Interactions (HRI), which effect adoption of robots by human operators, is increasingly important [1]. This is particularly true in telerobotic applications, where users can only operate a robot remotely and a problematic interface can have major implications. Therefore, the objective of this study is to investigate whether using a head-mounted display and a hand-tracking device in the development of HRI systems can result in better interactions. Hence, usability testing was performed via user studies considering three factors: effectiveness, efficiency, and user satisfaction. Three different HRI modes were developed: manual, Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR). The manual mode involved manual control of a robotic arm using a keyboard with visual feedback on a monitor. The VR mode entailed controlling the robotic arm by hand gestures using Leap Motion and visual feedback from a VR environment provided through Oculus Rift. The MR mode was similar to the VR, but the visual feedback was augmented with views from two cameras provided to the user through Oculus Rift. These modes were used to perform a pick-and-place task. Effectiveness was evaluated by measuring the success rates of each mode and performing an error analysis; efficiency was examined by considering the time-of-completion; and user satisfaction was subjectively measured using a Likert-type questionnaire. Statistical analysis revealed that the VR mode was the most efficient and effective and also resulted in fewer human and system errors. Users' gaming experience was also considered as a factor, but had no effect on the effectiveness or efficiency of any mode. Therefore, it is concluded that users require no prior experience, and consequently training, to achieve effective and efficient HRI using this mode. Moreover, the questionnaire revealed that users were highly satisfied with both VR and MR modes, with no clear preference. To conclude, the application of Oculus Rift and Leap Motion results in more effective and efficient HRI, and is recommended for use in real-world applications similar to pick-and place tasks, such as in the manufacturing industry.

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