Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists Create Hybrid System of Human-Machine Interaction

17.06.2009
In a groundbreaking study, scientists at FAU have created a "hybrid" system to examine real-time interactions between humans and machines (virtual partners). By pitting human against machine, they open up the possibility of exploring and understanding a wide variety of interactions between minds and machines, and establishing the first step toward a much friendlier union of man and machine, and perhaps even creating a different kind of machine altogether.

For more than 25 years, scientists in the Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences (CCSBS) in Florida Atlantic University’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Science, and others around the world, have been trying to decipher the laws of coordinated behavior called “coordination dynamics”.

Unlike the laws of motion of physical bodies, the equations of coordination dynamics describe how the coordination states of a system evolve over time, as observed through special quantities called collective variables. These collective variables typically span the interaction of organism and environment. Imagine a machine whose behavior is based on the very equations that are supposed to govern human coordination. Then imagine a human interacting with such a machine whereby the human can modify the behavior of the machine and the machine can modify the behavior of the human.

In a groundbreaking study published in the June 3 issue of PLoS One and titled “Virtual Partner Interaction (VPI): exploring novel behaviors via coordination dynamics,” an interdisciplinary group of scientists in the CCSBS created VPI, a hybrid system of a human interacting with a machine. These scientists placed the equations of human coordination dynamics into the machine and studied real-time interactions between the human and virtual partners. Their findings open up the possibility of exploring and understanding a wide variety of interactions between minds and machines. VPI may be the first step toward establishing a much friendlier union of man and machine, and perhaps even creating a different kind of machine altogether.

“With VPI, a human and a ‘virtual partner’ are reciprocally coupled in real-time,” said Dr. J. A. Scott Kelso, the Glenwood and Martha Creech Eminent Scholar in Science at FAU and the lead author of the study. “The human acquires information about his partner’s behavior through perception, and the virtual partner continuously detects the human’s behavior through the input of sensors. Our approach is analogous to the dynamic clamp used to study the dynamics of interactions between neurons, but now scaled up to the level of behaving humans.”

In this first ever study of VPI, machine and human behaviors were chosen to be quite simple. Both partners were tasked to coordinate finger movements with one another. The human executed the task with the intention of performing in-phase coordination with the machine, thereby trying to synchronize his/her flexion and extension movements with those of the virtual partner’s. The machine, on the other hand, executed the task with the competing goal of performing anti-phase coordination with the human, thereby trying to extend its finger when the human flexed and vice versa. Pitting machine against human through opposing task demands was a way the scientists chose to enhance the formation of emergent behavior, and also allowed them to examine each partner’s individual contribution to the coupled behavior. An intriguing outcome of the experiments was that human subjects ascribed intentions to the machine, reporting that it was “messing” with them.

“The symmetry between the human and the machine, and the fact that they carry the same laws of coordination dynamics, is a key to this novel scientific framework,” said co-author Dr. Gonzalo de Guzman, a physicist and research associate professor at the FAU center. “The design of the virtual partner mirrors the equations of motion of the human neurobehavioral system. The laws obtained from accumulated studies describe how the parts of the human body and brain self-organize, and address the issue of self-reference, a condition leading to complexity.”

One ready application of VPI is the study of the dynamics of complex brain processes such as those involved in social behavior. The extended parameter range opens up the possibility of systematically driving functional process of the brain (neuromarkers) to better understand their roles. The scientists in this study anticipate that just as many human skills are acquired by observing other human beings; human and machine will learn novel patterns of behavior by interacting with each other.

“Interactions with ever proliferating technological devices often place high skill demands on users who have little time to develop these skills,” said Kelso. “The opportunity presented through VPI is that equally useful and informative new behaviors may be uncovered despite the built-in asymmetry of the human-machine interaction.”

While stable and intermittent coordination behaviors emerged that had previously been observed in ordinary human social interactions, the scientists also discovered novel behaviors or strategies that have never previously been observed in human social behavior. The emergence of such novel behaviors demonstrates the scientific potential of the VPI human-machine framework.

Modifying the dynamics of the virtual partner with the purpose of inducing a desired human behavior, such as learning a new skill or as a tool for therapy and rehabilitation, are among several applications of VPI.

“The integration of complexity in to the behavioral and neural sciences has just begun,” said Dr. Emmanuelle Tognoli, research assistant professor in FAU’s CCSBS and co-author of the study. “VPI is a move away from simple protocols in which systems are ‘poked’ by virtue of ‘stimuli’ to understanding more complex, reciprocally connected systems where meaningful interactions occur.”

Research for this study was supported by the National Science Foundation program “Human and Social Dynamics,” the National Institute of Mental Health’s “Innovations Award,” “Basic and Translational Research Opportunities in the Social Neuroscience of Mental Health,” and the Office of Naval Research Code 30. Kelso’s research is also supported by the Pierre de Fermat Chaire d’Excellence and Tognoli’s research is supported by the Davimos Family Endowment for Excellence in Science.

Florida Atlantic University opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serves more than 26,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses strategically located along 150 miles of Florida's southeastern coastline. Building on its rich tradition as a teaching university, with a world-class faculty, FAU hosts ten colleges: College of Architecture, Urban & Public Affairs, Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Biomedical Science, the Barry Kaye College of Business, the College of Education, the College of Engineering & Computer Science, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Graduate College, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science.

Gisele Galoustian | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.fau.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht WAKE-UP provides new treatment option for stroke patients | International study led by UKE
17.05.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

nachricht First form of therapy for childhood dementia CLN2 developed
25.04.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>