“The Human Controller” presents and discusses design and evaluation issues of human-machine interaction. The focus is on understanding human perception-action couplings (limitations, preferences, adaptation) and on quantifying control behavior of humans in the direct manual control loop of vehicles, robots or other man-made tools.

This course has been awarded with the Award for Open Education Excellence in 2015.

Case studies from automotive, aviation, medical and tele-operation applications are discussed, with a special focus on the importance of including and enhancing haptics (=the sense of touch) during manual control.
Note that this is different, but related to, other courses that focus for example on the human in the supervisory loop (WB2404, Man-Machine systems) or on the human during motion control of their own body (BM1250, Human Movement Control B).

The course contains three practical assignments, where students gain experience in performing and analyzing experiments in which human-machine interfaces are tested. In a concluding final written exam the critical abilities of the student are assessed.

At the end of the course, the student will be able to critically evaluate the design of human-machine interfaces, and learn how to present his/her views both in writing, in presentations and in discussions. Thereby, the student will be prepared for MSc assignment where humans are in control of a man-made device.

The OpenCourseWare course follows the planning from the original course. Because some parts of the course aren’t suitable for online education these are not included in this course.

After completing the course WB2306 ‘The Human Controller’, students must be able to:

  • 1.    Reproduce important concepts on the physiology behind human perception, cognition and action.
  • 2.    Apply existing techniques to measure and model human behavior when interacting with vehicles or tools.
    a.    apply McRuer’s crossover model to a simple manual control task, and reflect on the pro’s and con’s of this modeling approach.
    b.    reflect on the balance between an operator’s performance of a task and the control effort to realize that performance.
  • 3.    Critically reflect
    a.    on how knowledge of human behavior can help the design of new human- machine interfaces.
    b.    on different roles of humans when interacting with machines (e.g. discussion of manual control vs automation).
    c.    on different ways to measure and model human behavior.
    d.    on short term vs long term effects of support systems.
  • 4.    Co-operate in small groups with the final goal of reporting experimental findings with a written report, as well as with an oral presentation (these will be part of the assessment, as well as a written exam).
Creative Commons License
The Human Controller by TU Delft OpenCourseWare is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://ocw.tudelft.nl/courses/the-human-controller/.
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