Telerobotic Field Geologist: Preliminary Results of a Feasibility Study

by Robert E. Cole, Univ of Hawaii, Honolulu, United States,
Charlotte Albert-Thenet, Univ of Hawaii, Honolulu, United States,
G. Jeffrey Taylor, Univ of Hawaii, Honolulu, United States,
Paul Johnson, Univ of Hawaii, Honolulu, United States,
Forrest Buzan, Univ of Hawaii, Honolulu, United States,
Joy Ishigo, Univ of Hawaii, Honolulu, United States,
Curtis Ikehara, Univ of Hawaii, Honolulu, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Engineering, Construction, and Operations in Space III


We conducted three laboratory studies to explore the feasibility of developing a telerobot to perform planetary field geology. In all, 72 college students attempted to match each of 15 geologic rock samples viewed either directly or on a TV screen with its matched pair contained in a matrix of 24 rocks which they viewed directly. Study 1 showed that rocks viewed on TV could be matched at levels well above chance, but significantly less than by direct view. Performance under remote view was improved by adding color and by magnifying the TV image. Study 2 results showed a large decrease in performance when viewing a miniature LCD monitor as compared to a 19 inch CRT monitor of higher resolution. Only a small increase in performance was found when the rock was actively moved by means of a manipulator arm. In study 3 performance using the 2.9 inch LCD monitor showed only small, insignificant increases when images were presented in 3-D view or when the rock was moved. These results suggest that it is feasible to conduct geologic observations with telerobots and show the critical role that image quality plays in determining performance. We are designing viewing systems to maximize image quality and are developing other laboratory and field tasks representative of geologic exploration to assess these systems.

Subject Headings: Field tests | Feasibility studies | Rocks | Geology | Laboratory tests | Human factors | Colleges and universities | Students

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