Human-Machine Collaborative Systems: Intelligent Virtual Fixtures and Space Applications

Gregory D. Hager, Allison M. Okamura, Russell H. Taylor

Human-Machine Collaborative Systems (HMCSs) are able to sense human operator intent and provide context-appropriate assistance to improve performance in applications ranging from space exploration to minimally invasive surgery. The underlying technology in our HMCSs is the virtual fixture. Virtual fixtures are software-generated force and position signals applied to human operators in order to improve the safety, accuracy, and speed of robot-assisted manipulation tasks. They are effective and intuitive because they capitalize on both the accuracy of robotic systems and the intelligence of human operators. In this position paper, we describe our HMCS technology and its potential for application in operational tasks in space.

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