Spatial control behaviors account for a large proportion of human everyday activities from normal daily tasks, such as reaching for objects, to specialized tasks, such as driving, surgery, or operating equipment. These behaviors involve intensive interactions within internal processes (i.e. cognitive, perceptual, and motor control) and with the physical world. This dissertation builds on a concept of interaction pattern and a hierarchical functional model. Interaction pattern represents a type of behavior synergy that humans coordinates cognitive, perceptual, and motor control processes. It contributes to the construction of the hierarchical functional model that delineates humans spatial control behaviors as the coordination of three functional subsystems: planning, guidance, and tracking/pursuit. This dissertation formalizes and validates these two theories and extends them for the investigation of human spatial control skills encompassing development and assessment. Specifically, this dissertation first presents an overview of studies in human spatial control skills encompassing definition, characteristic, development, and assessment, to provide theoretical evidence for the concept of interaction pattern and the hierarchical functional model. The following, the human experiments for collecting motion and gaze data and techniques to register and classify gaze data, are described. This dissertation then elaborates and mathematically formalizes the hierarchical functional model and the concept of interaction pattern. These theories then enables the construction of a succinct simulation model that can reproduce a variety of human performance with a minimal set of hypotheses. This validates the hierarchical functional model as a normative framework for interpreting human spatial control behaviors. The dissertation then investigates human skill development and captures the emergence of interaction pattern. The final part of the dissertation applies the hierarchical functional model for skill assessment and introduces techniques to capture interaction patterns both from the top down using their geometric features and from the bottom up using their dynamical characteristics. The validity and generality of the skill assessment is illustrated using two the remote-control flight and laparoscopic surgical training experiments.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. July 2016. Major: Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics. Advisor: Berenice Mettler. 1 computer file (PDF); x, 130 pages.
A Formal Investigation of Human Spatial Control Skills: Mathematical Formalization, Skill Development, and Skill Assessment.
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