ISSN : 1796-2048
Volume : 2    Issue : 1    Date : February 2007

Evaluation of Multi-sensory Feedback on the Usability of a Virtual Assembly Environment
Ying Zhang, Adrian R L Travis, and Neil Collings
Page(s): 38-47
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Virtual assembly environment (VAE) technology has the great potential for benefiting the
manufacturing applications in industry. Usability is an important aspect of the VAE. This paper
presents the usability evaluation of a developed multi-sensory VAE. The evaluation is conducted by
using its three attributes: (a) efficiency of use; (b) user satisfaction; and (c) reliability. These are
addressed by using task completion times (TCTs), questionnaires, and human performance error
rates (HPERs), respectively. A peg-in-a-hole and a Sener electronic box assembly task have been
used to perform the experiments, using sixteen participants. The outcomes showed that the
introduction of 3D auditory and/or visual feedback could improve the usability. They also indicated
that the integrated feedback (visual plus auditory) offered better usability than either feedback used
in isolation. Most participants preferred the integrated feedback to either feedback (visual or
auditory) or no feedback. The participants’ comments demonstrated that nonrealistic or
inappropriate feedback had negative effects on the usability, and easily made them feel frustrated.
The possible reasons behind the outcomes are also analysed.

Index Terms
Usability, virtual environment, assembly simulation, multi-sensory feedback, task performance