Haptic guidance needs to be intuitive not just informative to improve human motor accuracy.

W. Mugge, I.A. Kuling, E. Brenner, J.B.J. Smeets

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Humans make both random and systematic errors when reproducing learned movements. Intuitive haptic guidance that assists one to make the movements reduces such errors. Our study examined whether any additional haptic information about the location of the target reduces errors in a position reproduction task, or whether the haptic guidance needs to be assistive to do so. Holding a haptic device, subjects made reaches to visible targets without time constraints. They did so in a no-guidance condition, and in guidance conditions in which the direction of the force with respect to the target differed, but the force scaled with the distance to the target in the same way. We examined whether guidance forces directed towards the target would reduce subjects' errors in reproducing a prior position to the same extent as do forces rotated by 90 degrees or 180 degrees, as it might because the forces provide the same information in all three cases. Without vision of the arm, both the accuracy and precision were significantly better with guidance directed towards the target than in all other conditions. The errors with rotated guidance did not differ from those without guidance. Not surprisingly, the movements tended to be faster when guidance forces directed the reaches to the target. This study shows that haptic guidance significantly improved motor performance when using it was intuitive, while non-intuitively presented information did not lead to any improvements and seemed to be ignored even in our simple paradigm with static targets and no time constraints.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0150912
Pages (from-to)1-12
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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