VENI: Feeling is Believing

Principal Investigator: David Abbink
2010-2013 (Personal Grant, Completed)

In 2009, David submitted and was after several rounds ultimately awarded the highly competitive VENI grant. The project started on Jan 1st 2010, and lasted until September 2013. In the intervening time, it allowed David to extend his concept of haptic shared control to tele manipulation, and enabled him to start expanding the Delft Haptics Lab. The abstract of the proposal is listed here:

Manual control tasks – like driving – are prone to human errors, which may cause accidents. The conventional solution is to either fully automate a task or to support the human with alerting systems. Both approaches have inherent limitations, widely described in literature.

The solution of the future lies in shared control, where an intelligent system assists the human with guiding forces. Control should smoothly shift between human and machine, fully optimizing human-machine interaction. Unfortunately, such a shared control system has not yet been realized: recent research attempts have been limited to trial-and-error tuning of guidance forces. Progress will not be made as long as we ignore that human response to forces largely depends on highly adaptable neuromuscular properties (such as reflexive activity).

A paradigm shift is needed in which profound insight in human neuromuscular response to guidance forces will allow better shared control. The goal of this project is to develop the fundamental knowledge needed to optimize shared control for different users and tasks. Neuromuscular experiments and models will form the basis for the design of prototype systems for vehicular control tasks, which will be evaluated in available motion-based simulators. The optimized guidance forces will keep the human in full control, even when visually distracted; and allow fast neuromuscular responses (<40 ms.), that surpass the slower visual feedback (>200 ms.).

The proposed shared control will be a breakthrough in how we think about manual control, and the methodology will apply to a variety of areas (tele-operation, exoskeletons, space robotics, wheel chair control). Both Nissan and Boeing already expressed deep interest in the research, and wish to collaborate.


shared control, automotive, telemanipulation, force feedback, haptic guiding, driving simulator, biodynamic feedthrough, VENI


Involved Researchers:
Project Output:

    Many journal and conference publications, one patent, one PhD student and several MSc students.

    The research led to the H-Haptics Research Programme.


This grant was funded by NWO, the national Dutch Science Foundation

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