Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Director

James P. Bliss

Committee Member

Yusuke Yamani

Committee Member

Xiaoxiao Hu


The use of robotic arms across domains is increasing, but the relationship between control features and performance is not fully understood. The goal of this research was to investigate the difference in task performance when using two different control devices at high and low task complexities when participants can shed tasks to automation. In this experiment, 40 undergraduates (24 females) used two control devices, a Leap Motion controller and an Xbox controller, to teleoperate a robotic arm in a high or low complexity peg placement task. Simultaneously, participants were tasked with scanning images for tanks. During the experiment, participants had the option to task shed the peg task to imperfect automation. Analyses indicated a significant main effect of control device on task completion rate and time to first grasp the peg, with completion rate higher and time lower when using the Leap. However, participants made significantly more errors with the Leap Motion controller than with the Xbox controller. Participants in both conditions task shed similarly with both control devices and task shed at similar times. The 2 x 2 mixed ANOVAs somewhat supported the proposed hypotheses. The results of this study indicate that control device impacts performance on a robotic arm task. The Leap Motion controller supports increased task completion rate and quicker peg grasps in high and low task complexity when compared with the Xbox controller. This supports the extension of Control Order Theory into three-dimensional space and suggests that the Leap Motion controller can be implemented in some domains. However, the criticality and frequency of errors should be carefully considered.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).