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Modelling and Simulation in Engineering
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 675405, 16 pages
Review Article

Achieving Closed-Loop Control Simulation of Human-Artefact Interaction: A Comparative Review

Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology, Landbergstraat 15, 2628 CE Delft, The Netherlands

Received 31 March 2011; Revised 5 August 2011; Accepted 12 August 2011

Academic Editor: MuDer Jeng

Copyright © 2011 Wilhelm Frederik van der Vegte and Imre Horváth. 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.


To include user interactions in simulations of product use, the most common approach is to couple human subjects to simulation models, using hardware interfaces to close the simulation-control loop. Testing with virtual human models could offer a low-cost addition to evaluation with human subjects. This paper explores the possibilities for coupling human and artefact models to achieve fully software-based interaction simulations. We have critically reviewed existing partial solutions to simulate or execute control (both human control and product-embedded control) and compared solutions from literature with a proof-of-concept we have recently developed. Our concept closes all loops, but it does not rely on validated algorithms to predict human decision making and low-level human motor control. For low-level control, validated solutions are available from other approaches. For human decision making, however, validated algorithms exist only to predict the timing but not the reasoning behind it. To identify decision-making schemes beyond what designers can conjecture, testing with human subjects remains indispensable.