Underground » Health and Safety
The project commenced April 1, 2007. The research questions were:
- What are the consequences of mirrored and non-mirrored control layouts for error rates and reaction time?;
- What are the effects of shape and length coding on error rates and reaction time?;
- what are the directional control responses stereotypes in different planes?, and their relative strengths?; and
- what are the consequences of coding and control-response relationships on training time, error rates and reaction time during virtual reality and physical simulations of tasks analogous to bolting? These questions were addressed in a series of experiments involving both virtual and physical simulations.
A simulation of a generic device was constructed in the virtual environments laboratory at The University of Queensland in collaboration with Ms. Veronica Krupenia and Dr. Guy Wallis. A panel of four levers was designed and built which allowed the height, lever orientation, distance between controls, and handle shapes to be adjusted. The interface consists of four handles connected to joysticks which communicate with the computer providing the virtual environment and these levers were used to control a virtual device in the following dimensions: slew left and right (rotation about a vertical axis of rotation); elevation and depression (rotation up or down about a transverse axis of rotation); extension and retraction (lengthening or shortening of the virtual device); and a changing the devices colour. Following pilot work, a series of four experiments involving 228 participants were undertaken using the virtual environment. The variables manipulated during these experiments were: lever orientation; handle coding; directional control response relationships; and lever layout.
A physical model of a single boom bolter controlled by five levers was constructed at the Mining Injury Prevention Branch, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Pittsburgh Research Laboratory (USA) in collaboration with Ms Lisa Steiner. The levers were used to: swing the boom away or towards the participant (analogous to slew); raise or lower the boom and drill head; sump the boom in bye or out bye; raise or lower the stab jack; or change the colour of the drill head. This device was used for a fifth experiment involving a further 48 participants in which the handle coding, lever orientation and directional control response relationships were varied.