Haptic Interaction for Hands-On Learning in Systems Dynamics and Controls

R. B. Gillespie, and A. M. Okamura

Control Systems Magazine, accepted for publication

Every student entering the control engineering classroom brings years of experience in the hands-on practice of controls, earned through the control of the motions and actions of his or her own body and the control of objects in the environment. Much of this control experience has been subjected to conscious observation and experimentation, yet this expertise is very seldom leveraged when teaching control theory in the classroom. Certainly, tying theory to existing practical knowledge is a process containing many potential pitfalls. But if concepts in control theory can be correctly and appropriately tied to personal experience and intuition in human motor control, then our effectiveness as control educators could be significantly increased. By harnessing this intuition, the mathematical symbols manipulated on paper might be integrated with intuitive, long-lasting memory and used to develop good engineering judgement.