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Human Manual Control as an Information Processing Channel

Lupu, Mircea Florian (2013) Human Manual Control as an Information Processing Channel. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Human-machine interaction (HMI) can be modeled as information flows through bidirectional communication channels, where the human receives sensory information from the machine and sends command information back to the machine. The interaction between human and machine can thus be characterized by the dynamics of information exchange measured in bits per second (b/s).

The information-transmission rate (ITR) from human to machine is expected to depend on the complexity of the machine dynamics as well as human capabilities and limitations. We propose to investigate this dependency quantitatively in order to provide a measure of human performance. The HMI task considered in our investigation is a one-dimensional manual control task of an unstable system. A set of experiments are conducted where the human subjects maneuver a joystick in order to stabilize an inverted pendulum simulation. Two scenarios are analyzed: when time delay affects the feedback control system, and when the degree of instability of the task is increased.

Using information- and control-theoretic approaches we identify the lower bound for the ITR of the controller, which is dependent on the dynamics of the control task. From time series analysis, we suggest a method for ITR estimation from human experiments. We believe that the difference between these two quantities allows for assessment of human performance and for the prediction of its limitations. Additionally, the association between the recorded ITR and the bandwidth of the controller will be discussed in order to create a more complete picture of human manual control abilities and limitations.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Lupu, Mircea Florianmil54@pitt.eduMIL54
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorMao, Zhi-Hong
Committee MemberChaparro, Luis F.
Committee MemberLoughlin, Patrick J.
Committee MemberRedfern, Mark
Committee MemberMingui, Sun
Date: 28 June 2013
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 5 April 2013
Approval Date: 28 June 2013
Submission Date: 1 March 2013
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 119
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Swanson School of Engineering > Electrical Engineering
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: I consider the human to manually manipulate a joystick in order to stabilize an unstable system. Particularly, I use the inverted pendulum system as a well-known academic example. I developed a numerical method to evaluate the performance of the human operator. I formulate the underlying assumptions used for this method to be valid, and I explain the observed results relative to other indicators of human performance such as power spectrum of the control signal. I validate the investigation by relating the results to other representative studies.
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2013 19:48
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:10


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