Interest in the virtualization of human-robot interactions is increasing, yet the impact that collaborating with either virtual or physical robots has on the human operator's mental state is still insufficiently studied. In the present work, we aimed to fill this gap by conducting a systematic assessment of a human-robot collaborative framework from a user-centric perspective. Mental workload was measured in participants working in synergistic co-operation with a physical and a virtual collaborative robot (cobot) under different levels of task demands. Performance and implicit and explicit workload were assessed as a function of pupil size variation and self-reporting questionnaires. In the face of a similar self-reported mental demand when maneuvering the virtual or physical cobot, operators showed shorter operation times and lower implicit workload when interacting with the virtual cobot compared to its physical counterpart. Furthermore, the benefits of collaborating with a virtual cobot most vividly manifested when the user had to position the robotic arm with higher precision. These results shed light on the feasibility and importance of relying on multidimensional assessments in real-life work settings, including implicit workload predictors such as pupillometric measures. From a broader perspective, our findings suggest that virtual simulations have the potential to bring significant advantages for both the user's mental well-being and industrial production, particularly for highly complex and demanding tasks.

The virtualization of human–robot interactions: a user-centric workload assessment

Federica Nenna;Valeria Orso;Davide Zanardi;Luciano Gamberini
2022

Abstract

Interest in the virtualization of human-robot interactions is increasing, yet the impact that collaborating with either virtual or physical robots has on the human operator's mental state is still insufficiently studied. In the present work, we aimed to fill this gap by conducting a systematic assessment of a human-robot collaborative framework from a user-centric perspective. Mental workload was measured in participants working in synergistic co-operation with a physical and a virtual collaborative robot (cobot) under different levels of task demands. Performance and implicit and explicit workload were assessed as a function of pupil size variation and self-reporting questionnaires. In the face of a similar self-reported mental demand when maneuvering the virtual or physical cobot, operators showed shorter operation times and lower implicit workload when interacting with the virtual cobot compared to its physical counterpart. Furthermore, the benefits of collaborating with a virtual cobot most vividly manifested when the user had to position the robotic arm with higher precision. These results shed light on the feasibility and importance of relying on multidimensional assessments in real-life work settings, including implicit workload predictors such as pupillometric measures. From a broader perspective, our findings suggest that virtual simulations have the potential to bring significant advantages for both the user's mental well-being and industrial production, particularly for highly complex and demanding tasks.
2022
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3459580
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