Memory pattern identification for feedback tracking control in human-machine systems

Objective: The aim of this paper was to identify the characteristics of memory patterns with respect to a visual input, perceived by the human operator during a manual control task, which consisted in following a moving target on a display with a cursor.
Background: Manual control tasks involve nondeclarative memory. The memory encodings of different motor skills have been referred to as procedural memories. The procedural memories have a pattern, which this paper sought to identify for the particular case of a onedimensional tracking task. Specifically, data recorded from human subjects controlling dynamical systems with different fractional order were investigated.
Method: A Finite Impulse Response (FIR) controller was fitted to the data, and pattern analysis was performed to the fitted parameters. Then, the FIR model was further reduced to a lower order controller; from the simplified model, the stability analysis of the human-machine system in closedloop was conducted.
Results: It is shown that the FIR model can be employed to identify and represent patterns in human procedural memories during manual control tasks. The obtained procedural memory pattern presents a time scale of about 650 ms before decay. Furthermore, the fitted controller is stable for systems with fractional order less or equal to 1.
Conclusion: For systems of different fractional order, the proposed control scheme – based on a FIR model – can effectively characterize the linear properties of manual control in humans.
Application: This research supports a biofidelic approach to human manual control modeling over feedback visual perceptions. Relevant applications of this research are: the development of shared-control systems, where a virtual human model assists the human during a control task, and human operator state monitoring.