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A model of human reaction time to dangerous robot arm movements.

Helander MG; Karwan MH; Etherton J
Department of Industrial Engineering, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York. 1989 Jan; :1-5
A model was presented of human reaction time and emergency behavior in the presence of a hazard caused by the use of a robot. The total reaction time was the sum of three elements: perception, decision making and motor response. The perceptual system must detect that the robot is moving and recognize this movement as potentially dangerous. The decision making involves whether to push the emergency stop on the teach pendant. The moving hand to the emergency stop would be accomplished by commands from the motor processor. Each of these elements was modeled using concepts such as perceptual discriminability and single detection theory. Finally the results of an experiment were presented where the human reaction time was modeled as a function of robot arm speed. In this experiment robot arm speeds of 15, 25, 35, and 45 centimeters/second were calculated. Subjects were to hit an emergency button in case the robot arm moved beyond an expected target position. For each trial, subjects were exposed to between 20 and 30 repeated linear movements of the robot arm from a start position to the target position and back again. A linear relationship was found between the robot arm speed and the distance the robot moved before it was stopped by the emergency button.
Automation; Safety-research; Safety-engineering; Robotics; Human-factors-engineering; Visual-perception; Motion-perception; Reaction-rates
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Department of Industrial Engineering, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, 5 pages, 8 references
Page last reviewed: February 18, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division