Project Leader

Prof. Dr. Heinrich H. Bülthoff
Phone: +49 7071 601-601
Fax: +49 7071 601-616


Group members

CAPA Overview Poster

Five most recent Publications

Olivari M Person, Nieuwenhuizen F Person, Bülthoff HH Person und Pollini L (November-2014) Pilot Adaptation to Different Classes of Haptic Aids in Tracking Tasks Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics 37(6) 1741-1753.
Venrooij J Person, van Paassen MM , Mulder M , Abbink DA , van der Helm FCT und Bülthoff HH Person (September-2014) A Framework for Biodynamic Feedthrough Analysis Part I: Theoretical Foundations IEEE Transactions on Cybernetics 44(9) 1686-1698.
Venrooij J Person, van Paassen MM , Mulder M , Abbink DA , Mulder M , van der Helm FCT und Bülthoff HH Person (September-2014) A Framework for Biodynamic Feedthrough Analysis Part II: Validation and Application IEEE Transactions on Cybernetics 44(9) 1699-1710.
Gerboni CA Person, Geluardi S Person, Olivari M Person, Nieuwenhuizen FM Person, Bülthoff HH Person und Pollini L (September-2014) Development of a 6 dof nonlinear helicopter model for the MPI Cybermotion Simulator 40th European Rotorcraft Forum (ERF 2014), 1-12.
Symeonidou E-R Person, Olivari M Person, Bülthoff HH Person und Chuang LL Person (September-2014): The role of direct haptic feedback in a compensatory tracking task, 12th Biannual Conference of the German Cognitive Science Society (KogWis 2014), Tübingen, Germany, Cognitive Processing, 15(Supplement 1) S71.

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Understanding how accelerations result in involuntary control inputs

Fig. 1: Biodynamic interference refers to all mechanism by which accelerations interfere with manual control tasks. In our research we focus on biodynamic feedthrough.
Inside a moving vehicle humans are subjected to accelerations. These accelerations may interfere with manual control tasks, reducing manual control performance, in several different ways (McLeod and Griffin, 1989, Journal of Sound and Vibration). For example, accelerations may cause involuntary limb motions, which can lead to involuntary control inputs. This phenomenon is called biodynamic feedthrough (BDFT). BDFT is known to reduce ride comfort, control accuracy and - above all - safety during the operation of large range of vehicles (e.g. air- and rotorcraft, automobiles, hydraulic and electric machinery) and can occur under many different circumstances. Particularly, in closed-loop systems, e.g., a pilot flying a helicopter, BDFT induced inputs can develop into a biodynamic coupling: divergent or weakly damped oscillatory involuntary control inputs. Accelerations may also interfere with manual control performance through other mechanisms, such as visual impairment (‘blurring’ of visual input) or neuro-muscular interference (inducing errors in the percieved state of muscles and limbs). The combined effect of accelerations on manual control performance is labelled as biodynamic interference (see Fig. 1). 

Research goal

Although biodynamic interferences have been studied in the past decades, many of their underlying mechanisms are only poorly understood. By measuring and modelling these effects we aim to increase our understanding of how accelerations influence manual control behavior. These insights will allow us  to design methods to mitigate biodynamic interference effects. Those methods could, for example, be employed to make flying helicopters safer and controlling electric wheelchairs easier. In our research we primarily focus on biodynamic feedthrough.

Adapting to the human operator

Fig. 2: The magnitude of biodynamic feedthrough for different control tasks in the frequency domain. For each task the human operator had to use different limb dynamics. The results show that changes in limb dynamics strongly influence the biodynamic feedthrough dynamics.
The occurrence of biodynamic interference is influenced by many different factors, which often show complex interactions. Examples of such factors are the control device dynamics and the acceleration frequency characteristics, but also more elusive concepts such as mental workload and fatigue. A particularly challenging aspect in biodynamic interference is the role of the human operator. Our research has shown that the limb dynamics of the human body influence the biodynamic feedthrough dynamics (see Fig. 2). Limb dynamics do not only differ from person to person, but can also vary significantly over time. Limb dynamics depend, amongst other factors,  on the manual control task the human operator is performing. For some tasks a ‘stiffer’ setting of the neuromuscular system may be beneficial where for other tasks a more ‘compliant’ setting is required. In order to mitigate biodynamic interference effects for any setting of the limb dynamics a solution is needed that is capable of adapting to changes in the state of the human operator.

Experimental research into biodynamic interference

Expermental research into biodynamic interference is done using the motion simulators of the Max-Planck-Institute (Fig. 3) and Delft University of Technology. A method was developed to experimentally measure the relationship between biodynamic feedthrough and neuromuscular admittance (i.e., limb dynamics) using actuated control devices (Fig. 3). From the experimental results, models were constructed to describe the observed biodynamic feedthrough effects (Fig. 4). These models can be used to develop methods to mitigate biodynamic feedthrough effects. In another experimental study, the effect of acceleration perturbation on the accuracy of reaching tasks is investigated. The results of the experiment will provide insight in how accelerations may impede the use of touch screen interfaces in acceleration envorinments.
Fig. 3: The MPI CyberMotion simulator (left) and MPI’s actuated control devices (right)
Fig. 4: A model containing all relevant elements in an open-loop biodynamic feedthrough system. The figure was published in Venrooij et al. (August-2011).

Selected Publications

Venrooij J Person, Abbink DA , Mulder M , van Paassen MM and Mulder M (August-2011) A Method to Measure the Relationship Between Biodynamic Feedthrough and Neuromuscular Admittance IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part B: Cybernetics 41(4) 1158-1169.
CiteID: VenrooijAMvM2011
Venrooij J Person, Mulder M , van Paassen MM , Abbink DA , Bülthoff HH Person and Mulder M (October-2011) Cancelling biodynamic feedthrough requires a subject and task dependent approach IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics (SMC 2011), IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, USA, 1670-1675.
CiteID: VenrooijMvABM2011
Venrooij J Person, Yilmaz D , Pavel MD , Quaranta G , Jump M and Mulder M (September-2011) Measuring biodynamic feedthrough in helicopters 37th European Rotorcraft Forum (ERF 2011), 1-10.
pdfCiteID: VenrooijYPQJM2011
Venrooij J Person, Abbink DA , Mulder M , van Paassen MM and Mulder M (October-2010) Biodynamic feedthrough is task dependent IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics (SMC 2010), IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, USA, 2571-2578.
CiteID: VenrooijAMvM2010_2
Venrooij J Person, van Paassen MM , Mulder M , Abbink DA and Mulder M (September-2010) A review of biodynamic feedthrough mitigation techniques 11th IFAC, IFIP, IFORS, IEA Symposium on Analysis, Design, and Evaluation of Human-Machine Systems, 1-6.
pdfCiteID: VenrooijvMAM2010
Last updated: Donnerstag, 23.10.2014