Industrial and Management Systems Engineering


Date of this Version



GraPublished in International Encyclopedia of Ergonomics and Human Factors, ed. Waldemar Karwowski (London & New York: Taylor & Francis, 2001; Second edition, Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2006), pp. 1579–1583. Copyright © 2001, 2006 by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Used by permission.


Human exposures to hostile work environments can be reduced when tele-operated systems are used to remotely control manipulators in these environments. Tele-operation systems were initially developed by the nuclear industry but are currently applied in areas including surgery, construction, mining, warehousing, firefighting, undersea exploration, military operations, and space. The role of human operators in tele-operated systems varies with the level-ofautomation of the system. Some systems require only supervisory control from the operator, while many others require direct manual manipulation through a controller. However, even for highly automated systems, human operators play an important role as a backup when the system fails.

Telepresence can be achieved through sensing appropriate information about the tele-operation task environment, and providing this information to the human operator at the remote site (Sheridan 1992). A great deal of human engineering information concerning the design of workstations for telerobotic systems is closely related to meeting telepresence requirements. In this regard, human depth perception (as a third dimension) based on the information provided by the two-dimensional (2D) surface of a video display terminal (VDT) very much determines the quality of a tele-operation system.