A multi-level approach to investigate the control of an input device: application to a realistic pointing task

  • de La Fuente Hugo Loeches
  • Rao Guillaume
  • Sarrazin Jean-Christophe
  • Berton Eric
  • Fernandez Laure

  • Multi-level analysis
  • Input device
  • User performance
  • Motor control
  • Biomechanics


This study investigates the subjects' performance during realistic conditions of control of a joystick. An adapted reciprocal aiming task consisting in driving a virtual vehicle along a slalom course as fast as possible was performed while accuracy constraints were manipulated. Realistic dynamical Interface Screen Relationship between the joystick displacements and the displacements of the vehicle was simulated. Vehicle displacements and motor activity (muscle activity and joint kinematics) were recorded. The results highlighted the applicability of the Fitts' law to more realistic conditions where the use of an input device is performed in an intensive control situation. Besides, biomechanical results suggested that neuromuscular responses were different regarding the direction of movement, whereas the performance at a behavioural level were not affected. Thus, this study demonstrates the interest in considering two different aspects of the user's performance (behavioural and biomechanical ones) to make a better agreement between the device design and users' needs.