Usability Evaluation of a Coordinated Excavator Controller with Haptic Feedback
Elton, Mark D.
Book, Wayne John
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The purpose of this study is to conduct a usability evaluation in order to investigate the actions and behaviors of human operators as they interact with a coordinated excavator controller with haptic feedback, and to identify potential usability problems that may confront operators as they interact with this new excavator interface. Traditional excavators usually use levers and pedals as the interface for operator control. However, with advances in computing power, it is possible to incorporate force feedback, or haptics, into the operator interface. The haptic interface is expected to provide force feedback to operators to give a sense of 'feel' to operators as they interact with the excavator through the use of the haptic Phantom device and, therefore, assist operators in performing their tasks more efficiently and effectively. This research aims to identify potential usability problems that may confront users, and to provide appropriate design suggestions to the design team. Results from the study showed that, users find the coordinated excavator controller to be intuitive, easy to learn and easy to use. Several usability issues were also identified, and appropriate design modifications were recommended.