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  • Silvia Buscaglione

Robot-mediated asymmetric connection between humans can improve performance without increasing effort

A. Noccaro, S. Buscaglione, J. Eden, et al. (2023)

IEEE Open Journal of Engineering in Medicine and Biology (submitted), preprint on TechRxiv


Rationale: Whether working together to move a table or supporting a child learning to ride a bike, physically connected individuals use the exchange of haptic information to improve motor performance. However, this improvement occurs at the cost of additional effort for the more skilled partner. Objective: Here, we aim to assess whether an asym-metric connection, consisting of a stiffer link to the less skilled partner, could increase performance without additional effort in collaborative tasks. Methods: Through computational modelling, we first evaluated such a hypothesis on simulated human dyads tracking a common target. The approach was then experimentally validated on a three degree-of-freedom tracking task using two commercial robots as individual interfaces. Results: The simulation and experimental results confirm that using an asymmetric connection stiffness can improve joint performance without requiring additional effort from either partner compared to solo performance. Conclusion: This suggests that the training of motor skills with a proficient partner-like a physical therapist assisting a patient or a violin teacher demonstrating bowing techniques-may be enhanced through the use of robot-mediated asymmetric haptic communication. Index Terms-Human-robot interaction, joint action, human motor control Impact Statement-Using an asymmetric connection in a dyad enables the partners to improve their common performance without additional effort.

2023_Noccaro_Robot-mediated asymmetric connection between humans can improve performance w
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