Common goals in the development of human-machine interface (HMI) technology are to reduce cognitive workload and increase function. However, objective and quantitative outcome measures assessing cognitive workload have not been standardized for HMI research. The present study examines the efficacy of a simple event-related potential (ERP) measure of cortical effort during myoelectric control of a virtual limb for use as an outcome tool. Participants trained and tested on two methods of control, direct control (DC) and pattern recognition control (PRC), while electroencephalographic (EEG) activity was recorded. Eighteen healthy participants with intact limbs were tested using DC and PRC under three conditions: passive viewing, easy, and hard. Novel auditory probes were presented at random intervals during testing, and significant taskdifficulty effects were observed in the P200, P300, and a late positive potential (LPP), supporting the efficacy of ERPs as a cognitive workload measure in HMI tasks. LPP amplitude distinguished DC from PRC in the hard condition with higher amplitude in PRC, consistent with lower cognitive workload in PRC relative to DC for complex movements. Participants completed trials faster in the easy condition using DC relative to PRC, but completed trials more slowly using DC relative to PRC in the hard condition. The results provide promising support for ERPs as an outcome measure for cognitive workload in HMI research such as prosthetics, exoskeletons, and other assistive devices, and can be used to evaluate and guide new technologies for more intuitive HMI control.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)