The effects of visual magnification and physical movement scale on the manipulation of a tool with indirect vision
McConnell, Daniel S.
Thompson, Shelby Glynn
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Journal of experimental psychology. Applied. 2010 Mar; 16(1): 33-44.
Modern tools often separate the visual and physical aspects of operation, requiring users to manipulate an instrument while viewing the results indirectly on a display. This can pose usability challenges particularly in applications, such as laparoscopic surgery, that require a high degree of movement precision. Magnification used to augment the view and, theoretically, enable finer movements, may introduce other visual-motor disruptions due to the apparent speed of the visual motion on screen (i.e., motion scaling). In this research, we sought to better understand the effects of visual magnification on human movement performance and control in operating a tool via indirect vision. Ten adult participants manipulated a computer mouse to direct a pointer to targets on a display. Results (Experiment 1) showed that, despite increased motion scaling, magnification of the view on screen enabled higher precision control of the mouse pointer. However, the relative effectiveness of visual magnification ultimately depended on the scale of the physical movement, and more specifically the precision limits of the whole-hand grip afforded by the mouse. When the physical scale of the hand/mouse movement was reduced (Experiment 2), fine-precision control began to reach its limits, even at full magnification. The role of magnification can thus be understood as "amplifying" the particular skill level afforded by the effecting limb. These findings suggest a fruitful area for future research is the optimization of hand-control interfaces of tools to maximize movement precision.
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