Abstract

The design perspective of interfaces has strong implications on operator intuition and safety. Haptics enabled user interfaces can enhance operator skills and enhance interactivity. In this paper, an innovative method of haptic feedback in joysticks is presented for excavator control. Haptic illusion in the device is generated with the concept of the variable stiffness actuation mechanism. The force feedback (FFB) is rendered through “haptic links,” based on the effect of digging force at each joint. The stiffness in the device varies dynamically with the load and restricts the operator motion with a resistive torque in the range of 0–0.9 Nm. The haptic joystick aims to render high-fidelity kinesthetic feedback that can help to mitigate the operator error in loading operations. The user evaluation with the joystick showed an improvement of 40% in the volume of material removed and a significant drop in error rate related to force patterns and collisions.

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