Improving Robotic Operator Performance Using Augmented Reality James C. Maida / NASA JSC, Charles K. Bowen and John Pace / Lockheed Martin

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1 PROCEEDINGS of the HUMAN FACTORS AND ERGONOMICS SOCIETY 51st ANNUAL MEETING Improving Robotic Operator Performance Using Augmented Reality James C. Maida / NASA JSC, Charles K. Bowen and John Pace / Lockheed Martin Robotic operations performed in earth orbit face unique challenges. In the case of the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM), a two-armed robotic device, operations can last multiple orbital days, with dynamic sunlit days and very dark nights. Direct and indirect visibility can be difficult. This project developed and tested the use of augmented reality technology with a ground based trainer to reduce the negative effects of these conditions. Results of the project showed that twelve skilled operators can significantly reduce positioning errors and time to task completion when using augmented reality techniques. Robotic Hardware INTRODUCTION The Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) is a twoarmed robotic device that will be used as an extension to the end effector of the Space Station Robotics Manipulator System (SSRMS), currently in use on the International Space Station (ISS) (Figure 1). SPDM tasks include external orbital replacement unit (ORU) maintenance and temporary storage management of ORU's and payloads. The SPDM reduces the burden and risk to the crew created by extended extravehicular activity (EVA). Figure 2. Dexterous Manipulator Trainer (DMT) Figure 1. Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) Crew training for the SPDM includes the use a hardware simulator called the Dexterous Manipulator Trainer (DMT) located in the Multi-use Remote Manipulator Development Center (MRMDF) at the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) (Figure 2). It performs most of SPDM functions under normal static Earth gravitational forces. Both the simulator and SPDM are controlled from a standard robotic workstation using a laptop for the user interface and three monitors for camera views (Figure 3). Figure 3. Typical ISS Robotics Workstation Layout Operator Issues The most difficult operator task is the alignment of an ORU attached to the end effector of the arm with the point of insertion into the ORU destination location. Alignments are accomplished based on the intrinsic physical features of the tool, payload, and surroundings as viewed through video cameras. On orbit, the time required to complete a planned ORU replacement or maintenance operation can be eight to ten hours encompassing multiple days and nights. Multiple alignment tasks will be interspersed within the same time period (Figure 4).

2 PROCEEDINGS of the HUMAN FACTORS AND ERGONOMICS SOCIETY 51st ANNUAL MEETING treatments and methods were gathered by means of a written questionnaire provided to each subject following the completion of the trials. Subjects were encouraged to record any comments regarding the experiment on the questionnaire. Data analysis including analysis of variance (ANOVA) and post hoc testing of means was performed for all the significant dependent variables. Means comparisons were performed using contrasts in order to circumvent assumptions of homogeneity of variances among sample populations when necessary (Maxwell & Delaney, pp ). Apparatus EXPERIMENTAL CONDITIONS Figure 4. Multiple Day/Night Cycles During Insertions Participants METHOD The need to use certified operators of comparable skill limited the number of subjects to twelve. The remaining operators were used for pilot testing to optimize the design of the augmentation, the number trials and the design of the dynamic lighting conditions. Subjects operated a single arm of the DMT using the robotic workstation inside a space station mockup under the local supervision of the experiment administrator. The video signal from the DMT end effector (EE) camera was routed to a USB video capture device on a laptop. DMT telemetry data was also made available to the laptop serial port. Software, using open-source ARToolKit library (University of Washington Human Interface Technology Laboratory), generated an augmented video image which was then routed on one of the three video monitors in the robotics workstation of the subject (Figure 5). Experimental Design The experiment was a classic mixed factors design having one factor (order of presentation of treatments) between subjects and one factor (treatment type overlay or no overlay) repeated within subjects. Each subject performed a total of eight trials, which were divided into two sets of four trials each. One set was performed without overlays, and the other with AR graphical overlays. Half of the subjects experienced a set of four trials with overlays (OV) followed by a set of four trials without overlays (NO). The balance of the subjects experienced the same sets in reverse order. All trials involved maneuvering the ORU from a predetermined starting position toward the same receptacle. The same set of four different starting positions was used in the same order for the trial groups under the two treatments. Starting positions for the trials were selected to produce the same minimum time for completion (as determined by mechanical characteristics of the DMT). The objective dependent measures for this study are related to the ORU position/orientation at the pre-insertion position above the destination receptacle. These four measures included (1) roll alignment error (degrees) about the X-axis, (2) composite pitch/yaw alignment error (degrees), (3) translation alignment error in the YZ plane (inches), and (4) elapsed time to trial completion (seconds). Coordinate conventions for the experiment are described below. In addition to the objective data collected, subjective evaluations of experimental Figure 5. System Flow Chart The ORU used for the experiment was the Remote Power Control Module (RPCM) mockup. To maximize the number of trials, the subjects did not have go through the relatively easy task of grappling the ORU. Their task was move the ORU from an unknown pre-determined location to the ORU insertion attitude and location (Figure 6).

3 PROCEEDINGS of the HUMAN FACTORS AND ERGONOMICS SOCIETY 51st ANNUAL MEETING Figure 8. Start of ORU Alignment (EE View YZ Plane) Figure 6. Remote Power Control Module (RPCM) Four cameras and a flood lamp were arrayed around the ORU receptacles to provide viewing conditions from multiple cameras and stark oblique lighting on the payload and the ORU receptacles, simulating orbital conditions. The robotic workstation provided three monitors to accommodate views from any of these cameras and the EE camera (Figure 7). Figure 9. Ready for ORU Insertion (EE view YZ plane) Objective Data Recording DATA ANALYSIS Figure 7. Flood Lamp and Camera Layout Description of the AR Overlays The overlay symbol system was designed to provide the following advantages: 1) alignment of ORU and receptacle within insertion tolerances using a single camera view, even under adverse lighting conditions, 2) Rubber band features prompt appropriate control command motions, even when the destination receptacle is outside the field of view of the camera and 3) allow separation of needed translation and rotation control inputs (Figures 8 and 9). Data for the experiment was logged by the DMT system during the trials at 100 milliseconds intervals. Time, position and orientation relative to the center of rotation of the ORU, the Point-Of-Reference (POR) were recorded. Reference values were determined from values recorded during the a preliminary overlay alignment verification. Performance Metrics Roll alignment error was defined as the difference (degrees) between the pre-insertion and reference values for the DMT. Pitch/Yaw alignment error was defined as the angle (degrees) between the receptacle (+X) axis and the RPCM axis through its point of reference.

4 PROCEEDINGS of the HUMAN FACTORS AND ERGONOMICS SOCIETY 51st ANNUAL MEETING YZ alignment error was defined as the two-dimensional difference (inches) between the pre-insertion and reference positions in the YZ plane. Time to completion was the interval, in seconds, beginning when the subject initially adjusts the camera controls or moves the hand controllers and end when the subject releases the hand controllers just prior to FMA enablement for insertion of RPCM. Objective Data RESULTS Performance on the alignment tasks described above was examined using analysis of variance and post-hoc mean tests. In all but the XY alignment error comparisons, however, the variances within the no-overlay-then-overlay (NO-OV) order and within the overlay-then-no-overlay (OV-NO) order subject groups were significantly different, as determined by the test for homogeneity of variance between related samples (Bruning & Kintz, pp ). For this reason, comparisons between non-overlay and overlay trial means for the other performance metrics used contrast test techniques, which are not sensitive to non-homogeneous variances (Maxwell & Delaney, pp ). Figure 12. Mean YZ plane position error was reduced 63% (p < 0.002) Figure 12. Mean elapsed time in seconds was reduced 34% (p < 0.002) Subjective Data Figure 10. Mean roll error was reduced 65% (p < 0.003) A survey of questions about the test was given to each of the subjects immediately after completing all eight trials. The results of the surveys clearly indicated that the overlays were helpful (Bowen, et al. ). All twelve subjects completely agreed that the overlay information was helpful or useful in performing the ORU alignment operation and did not hinder the completion of the ORU alignment. Results DISCUSSION Figure 11. Mean pitch/yaw error was reduced 74% (p < ) The results of this experiment indicate that overlays improve performance in maneuvering an ORU in preparation for inserting it into a receptacle. Despite the small number of subjects available to participate, three of the four performance metrics showed statistically significant improvements in prepositioning accuracy using overlays. Trial completion time results are slightly less clear cut, but variability in performance was reduced for all metrics during trials using overlays.

5 PROCEEDINGS of the HUMAN FACTORS AND ERGONOMICS SOCIETY 51st ANNUAL MEETING In the cases of all metrics except roll error, there may be evidence of increased performance with practice. For trials without overlays, the subjects experiencing no overlays in the first four trials showed greater error than did the subjects experiencing no overlays in the last four trials. Similarly, for trials with overlays, the subjects experiencing overlays in the first four trials showed greater error than did the subjects having overlays in the last four trials. Only in the case of pitch/yaw error, however, is the order/treatment interaction significant at the α = 0.05 level (Figures 13 and 14). Figure 13. Elapsed Times to Completion for NO-OV Trials simulation software, the overlays might provide an advantage in training for robotic applications. A simulation having the appropriate fidelity and AR overlays to prompt the correct actions might provide valuable refresher training between infrequent actual robotic tasks during extended exploration missions. This hypothesis could be tested within a subject pool on the ground by means of test-retest performance evaluations over varying lengths of time without intervening practice. The relative merits of overlays providing situational guidance versus their providing command guidance could be studied by means of simulations of moderate fidelity. Any such research should also address the effects of mixed guidance modes on operator performance. Finally, because the graphics are relatively simple and the computational requirements are low the system could be implemented on existing hardware such as the avionics vision unit (AVU) used on the shuttle and the space station. A previous technology development project (Maida, et al.) demonstrated this feasibility. The potential benefits provided by augmented reality techniques in robotic control should be considered in the modification of existing systems or the designing of future systems for operations in space. REFERENCES Bruning, James L. and B. L. Kintz (1968). Computational handbook of statistics. Scott, Foresman and Company. Foyle, David C., B. L. Hooey, J. R. Wilson, W. A. Johnson (2002). HUD symbology for surface operations: command guidance vs. situation guidance formats. SAE Transactions: Journal of Aerospace, 11/ Figure 14. Elapsed Times to Completion for OV-NO Trials Subjects Additional subjects would provide a more compelling argument for using augmented reality technology. Future work would consider using computer-based simulations or robotic systems other than the DMT, which necessitates specialized training and certification for operators. A larger pool of subjects having a wide range of experience might be used to investigate potential AR applications, such as the use of overlays as a training aid. Maxwell, Scott E. and Harold D. Delaney (1990). Designing Experiments and Analyzing Data, A Model Comparison Perspective. Wadsworth Publishing Camera Company. Belmont, CA. Position Marker Maida, J. C., Bowen, C. K., Montpool, A., Pace, J., Rubber Utilization of the Space Vision System As An Augmented Bands Reality System For Mission Operations, Habitation 2004 Conference, Jan. 4-7, 2004, Orlando, Fl. Bowen, C. K., Maida, J. C., Pace, J. C., Enhanced Lighting Techniques and Augmented Reality to Improve Human Task Performance, NASA Technical Paper, NASA/TP , July Conclusions and Future Work This study illustrates some of the potential for the application of AR overlays in robotic control systems. With appropriate

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