Project Leaders

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Prof. Dr. Heinrich H. Bülthoff
Phone: +49 7071 601-601
Fax: +49 7071 601-616
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Dr. Eng. Stefano Geluardi
Phone: +49 7071 601-607
Fax: +49 7071 601-616


Group members


January 9, 2017
Opens external link in new window AIAA SciTech 2017
The Cybernetics Approach to Perception and Action group published 2 papers at the AIAA Science and Technology Forum and Exposition (AIAA SciTech Forum) in Gaylord Texan, Grapevine, Texas.
October 11, 2016
Giulia D'Intino published a paper entitled "Evaluation of Haptic Support System for Training Purposes in a Tracking Task" at the IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics (SMC 2016) in Budapest, Hungary.
September 2, 2016
Frank Drop was awarded the Young Author Best Paper Award for his paper titled "Constraints in Identification of Multi-Loop Feedforward Human Control Models" at the 13th IFAC/IFIP/IFORS/IEA Symposium on Analysis, Design, and Evaluation of Human-Machine Systems in Kyoto, Japan. Congratulations, Frank!
September 2, 2016
Opens external link in new window IFAC 2016, Kyoto, Japan
The Cybernetics Approach to Perception and Action group published 3 papers at the The 13th IFAC/IFIP/IFORS/IEA Symposium on Analysis, Design, and Evaluation of Human-Machine Systems in Kyoto, Japan.
Opens internal link in current window News Archive

Five most recent Publications

Symeonidou ER, Olivari M, Venrooij J, Bülthoff HH and Chuang LL (November-13-2016): EEG oscillatory modulations (10-12 Hz) discriminate for voluntary motor control and limb movement, 46th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (Neuroscience 2016), San Diego, CA, USA.
D'Intino G, Olivari M, Geluardi S, Venrooij J, Innocenti M, Bülthoff HH and Pollini L (October-2016) Evaluation of Haptic Support System for Training Purposes in a Tracking Task, IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics (SMC 2016), IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, USA, 002169-002174.
D'Intino G: Design and Experimental Evaluation of Haptic Support Systems for Pilot Training, Università di Pisa, Italy, (September-29-2016). PhD thesis
Drop FM, Pool DM, van Paassen MM, Mulder M and Bülthoff HH (September-2016) Objective Model Selection for Identifying the Human Feedforward Response in Manual Control IEEE Transactions on Cybernetics Epub ahead.
Venrooij J, Olivari M and Bülthoff HH (August-2016) Biodynamic Feedthrough: Current Status and Open Issues, 13th IFAC/IFIP/IFORS/IEA Symposium on Analysis, Design, and Evaluation of Human-Machine Systems (HMS 2016), Elsevier, Frankfurt a.M., Germany, IFAC-PapersOnLine, 49(19), 120–125.

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Cybernetics Approach to Perception and Action (CAPA)

In the CAPA group, we investigate human manual control behavior in order to increase our understanding of how humans use information perceived from their environment to generate control actions. This knowledge can be used to better support humans when performing control tasks, such as steering a vehicle.
In our research, we use techniques from the field of cybernetics, such as control theory and system identification, to understand how humans perform manual control tasks. We develop system identification techniques which we use to create models of human neuromuscular dynamics, control behavior in closed-loop control tasks and helicopter dynamics. In addition to providing an improved understanding, these models can be used to make manual control tasks safer and easier. For example, we use these models in conjunction with control techniques to develop haptic support systems to train or support an operator or augment helicopter dynamics to make them easier to fly.

Main research areas

Haptic support systems

Haptic support systems aim at helping operators during a manual control task by providing force feedback on the control device. In order to design a haptic support system properly, insight in the control behavior of the operator and the dynamics of the neuromuscular system of the operator are essential. To this end, we develop novel system identification techniques that allow us to identify the operator's adaptation to haptic support systems in terms of the visual response and neuromuscular properties.  In realistic scenarios, the neuromuscular response can continuously change depending on many factors, such as task, workload and fatigue. Therefore, we are focusing on the development of time-varying identification methods. Furthermore, we investigate the benefits of applying haptic support systems while training for a control tasks.

Augmentation strategies for civil light helicopters

In order to make helicopters safer and easier to fly, we investigate augmentation strategies for civil light helicopters. We use system identification techniques to develop dynamic models of helicopters through flight tests, based on which we develop and evaluate linear and non-linear control algorithms for augmenting the identified dynamics such that the vehicle’s control becomes more intuitive and its Handling Qualities improve. We evaluate results in motion-base simulators. Control augmentation makes helicopters not only easier to operate, it also reduces the amount of training required to learn to safely fly them. This brings us a step closer to making Personal Aerial Vehicles a feasible transportation option.

Feedforward control in manual control tasks

During the manual control of a vehicle (e.g. aircraft, helicopter, car) the operator will not only make use of the feedback of sensory information (such as visual and vestibular information) to control the vehicle, but also of prior knowledge regarding the vehicle dynamics, characteristics of the disturbance and/or characteristics of the target signals. For example, in many manual control tasks, the operator follows a visible and predictable reference path. Most existing models of manual control behavior, however, only consider a feedback component, i.e., a control response on the error between the target and the system output. The feedforward component, i.e., a control input responding to the reference directly in an open-loop manner, was hypothesized frequently in literature, but was never studied nor identified from human-in-the-loop experimental data. We develop identification methods and models to study feedforward behavior.


We run our motion-based studies on the Opens external link in new windowMPI CyberMotion Simulator, a dynamic motion platform for immersive virtual environments and vehicle simulation. We also make use of fixed-base simulators and control loading devices.


Collaborations within the Department
External Academic Collaborations
  • Prof. Dr. Ir. Mulder, Technische Universiteit Delft (Delft, the Netherlands)
  • Prof. Dr. Pollini, Università di Pisa (Pisa, Italy)
  • Prof. Dr. Fichter, Universität Stuttgart (Stuttgart, Germany)


myCopter project

Project duration: Jan 2011 - Dec 2014
The research in the CAPA group has been supported by the Opens external link in new windowmyCopter project, which was funded by the European Union under the 7th Framework Programme (grant no. 266470). The goal of this project was to investigate enabling technologies for personal aerial transportation systems. Our roles in the project consisted of project coordination and leading a workpackage on developing novel human-machine interface technologies for controlling a personal aerial vehicle.
The results of the myCopter project were presented at the Opens external link in new windowAerodays 2015. and the Opens external link in new windowJoint NASA-FAA On-Demand Mobility Workshop. The slides of the Aerodays presentation can be found here. The slides of the ODM workshop can be found here.
Last updated: Wednesday, 25.01.2017