Haptics-1: Preliminary Results from the First Stiffness JND Identification Experiment in Space
On July 28th 2014, 23:47 UTC, the European Space Agency launched the Haptics-1 Kit to the International Space Station (ISS) on its last Automated Transfer Vehicle ATV-5. The Kit reached the station two weeks later, marking the first haptic master device to enter the ISS. The first force-feedback and human perceptual motor performance tests started to take place on December 30th 2014, and are the first of their kind in the history of spaceflight. Three astronauts participated in the Haptics-1 experiment until November 2015, allowing the investigation of the effects of microgravity on various psycho-motor performance metrics related with the usage of haptic feedback. Experiments are conducted following full adaptation to the space environment (after 3 months in space). This paper introduces the Haptics-1 experiment and associated hardware. Detailed experimental results are reported from a first stiffness just noticeable difference (JND) experimental study in space, carried out on the ISS and pre-flight on ground with 3 astronauts. The first findings from the experiment show no major alterations in-flight, when compared to on-ground data, if the manipulandum is secured in flight against a sufficiently stiff reference structure.
KeywordsMicro gravity Just noticeable difference (JND) Stiffness discrimination Space Haptics
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