Optimal Feedback Control for Modeling Human-Computer Interaction

by   Florian Fischer, et al.

Optimal feedback control (OFC) is a theory from the motor control literature that explains how humans move their body to achieve a certain goal, e.g., pointing with the finger. OFC is based on the assumption that humans aim to control their body optimally, within the constraints imposed by body, environment, and task. In this paper, we explain how this theory can be applied to understanding Human-Computer Interaction. We propose that in this case, the dynamics of the human body and computer can be interpreted as a single dynamical system. The state of this system is controlled by the user via muscle control signals, and estimated from observations. Between-trial variability arises from signal-dependent control noise and observation noise. We compare four different models from optimal control theory and evaluate to what degree these models can replicate movements in the case of mouse pointing. We introduce a procedure to identify parameters that best explain observed user behavior, and show how these parameters can be used to gain insights regarding user characteristics and preferences. We conclude that OFC presents a powerful framework for HCI to understand and simulate motion of the human body and of the interface on a moment by moment basis.


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