Effect of mechanical resistance on cognitive conflict in physical human-robot collaboration

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Proceedings - IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 2019, 2019-May pp. 6137 - 6143
Issue Date:
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© 2019 IEEE. Physical Human-Robot Collaboration (pHRC) is about the interaction between one or more human operator(s) and one or more robot(s) in direct contact and voluntarily exchanging forces to accomplish a common task. In any pHRC, the intuitiveness of the interaction has always been a priority, so that the operator can comfortably and safely interact with the robot. So far, the intuitiveness has always been described in a qualitative way. In this paper, we suggest an objective way to evaluate intuitiveness, known as prediction error negativity (PEN) using electroencephalogram (EEG). PEN is defined as a negative deflection in event related potential (ERP) due to cognitive conflict, as a consequence of a mismatch between perception and reality. Experimental results showed that the forces exchanged between robot and human during pHRC modulate the amplitude of PEN, representing different levels of cognitive conflict. We also found that PEN amplitude significantly decreases (mathrm {p} lt 0.05) when a mechanical resistance is being applied smoothly and more time in advance before an invisible obstacle, when compared to a scenario in which the resistance is applied abruptly before the obstacle. These results indicate that an earlier and smoother resistance reduces the conflict level. Consequently, this suggests that smoother changes in resistance make the interaction more intuitive.
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