Involuntary Stabilization in Discrete-Event Physical Human-Robot Interaction

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Robots are used by humans not only as tools but also to interactively assist and cooperate with humans, thereby forming physical human-robot interactions. In these interactions, there is a risk that a feedback loop causes unstable force interaction, in which force escalation exposes a human to danger. Previous studies have analyzed the stability of voluntary interaction but have neglected involuntary behavior in the interaction. In contrast to the previous studies, this study considered the involuntary behavior: a human's force reproduction bias for discrete-event human-robot force interaction. We derived an asymptotic stability condition based on a mathematical bias model and found that the bias asymptotically stabilizes a human's implicit equilibrium point far from the implicit equilibrium point and destabilizes the point near the point. The bias model, convergence of the interaction toward the implicit equilibrium point, and divergence around the point were consistently verified via behavioral experiments under three kinds of interactions using three different body parts: 1) a hand finger; 2) wrist; and 3) foot. Our results imply that humans implicitly secure a stable and close relationship between themselves and robots with their involuntary behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)576-587
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics: Systems
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Jan 1


  • Force control
  • force reproduction
  • human behavior
  • human-robot interaction
  • perception and sychophysics
  • physical human-robot interaction
  • stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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