The Predictability of a Target Signal Affects Manual Feedforward Control

Frank M. Drop, Rick de Vries, Max Mulder, Heinrich H. Bülthoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


In the manual control of a dynamic system, the human controller (HC) is often required to follow a visible and predictable reference path. Using the predictable aspect of a reference signal, through applying feedforward control, the HC can significantly improve performance as compared to a purely feedback control strategy. A proper definition of a signal's predictability, however, is never given in literature. This paper investigates the predictability of a sum-of-sinusoids target signal, as a function of the number of sinusoid components and the fact whether the sinusoid frequencies are harmonic, or not. A human-in-the-loop experiment was done, with target signals varying for these two signal characteristics. A combined feedback-feedforward HC model was identified and parameters were estimated. It was found that for all experimental conditions, subjects used a feedforward strategy. Results further showed thatsubjects were able to perform better for harmonic signals as compared to non-harmonic signals, for signals with roughly the same frequency content.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-182
Number of pages6
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016


  • Cybernetics
  • feedforward control
  • manual control
  • parameter estimation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering


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