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Advances in Human-Computer Interaction
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 745216, 12 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/745216
Research Article

Improving Interactions between a Power-Assist Robot System and Its Human User in Horizontal Transfer of Objects Using a Novel Adaptive Control Method

1Institute for Media Innovation, Nanyang Technological University, 50 Nanyang Drive, Singapore 637553
2Division of Mechanical Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering, Mie University, Tsu, Mie 514-8507, Japan

Received 31 March 2012; Revised 15 October 2012; Accepted 9 November 2012

Academic Editor: Cathy Bodine

Copyright © 2012 S. M. Mizanoor Rahman and Ryojun Ikeura. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Power assist systems are usually used for rehabilitation, healthcare, and so forth.This paper puts emphasis on the use of power assist systems for object transfer and thus brings a novelty in the power-assist applications. However, the interactions between the systems and the human users are usually not satisfactory because human features are not included in the control design. In this paper, we present the development of a 1-DOF power assist system for horizontal transfer of objects. We included human features such as weight perception in the system dynamics and control. We then simulated the system using MATLAB/Simulink for transferring objects with it and (i) determined the optimum maneuverability conditions for object transfer, (ii) determined psychophysical relationships between actual and perceived weights, and (iii) analyzed load forces and motion features. We then used the findings to design a novel adaptive control scheme to improve the interactions between the user and the system. We implemented the novel control (simulated the system again using the novel control), the subjects evaluated the system, and the results showed that the novel control reduced the excessive load forces and accelerations and thus improved the human-system interactions in terms of maneuverability, safety, and so forth. Finally, we proposed to use the findings to develop power assist systems for manipulating heavy objects in industries that may improve interactions between the systems and the users.