[Table of Content] [Appendices] [Abstract] [Summary] [Chapter 1] [Chapter 2] [Chapter 3] [Chapter 4] [Chapter 5] [Chapter 6]

Human Performance in Six Degree of Freedom Input Control

Shumin Zhai, Ph.D.


One of the most important rewards in pursuing a Ph.D. degree is to be associated with intelligent and helpful minds. I am most fortunate and grateful in this regard. First of all, I would like to thank Professor Paul Milgram, my academic supervisor, who has contributed to all aspects of my academic endeavour. He introduced me to this challenging discipline of human factors, motivated me to conduct original research with high standards, provided me with financial support, and supervised the entire thesis research at all levels. I am sincerely grateful for his effort in training me to become a successful researcher. His dedication to work, perfectionism, humour and decency will have a far reaching impact on my life, academic and beyond.

I am also very grateful to the rest of my supervisory committee members: Professor Bill Buxton, Professor Mark Chignell, Dr. Julius Grodski and Professor John Senders. Professor Bill Buxton, my thesis co-supervisor, has been a constant source of invaluable inspiration. I have learned a great deal from his creativity, originality, and independent thinking. Professor Mark Chignell has influenced me in many aspects of formulating practical problems into experimental research. He frequently provided me with valuable help. Dr. Julius Grodski has contributed much academic advice, as well as substantial research facilities and financial support to my research. Professor John Senders, my "academic grandfather", has offered me numerous insightful suggestions and valuable perspectives on early human factors research. I am also indebted to Professor Robert Jacob and Professor Lloyd Reid who respectively served as external and internal examiners of this thesis.

During the course of my PhD research, I have met and benefited from, either in person or through electronic communication, many other notable "global villagers" of the research community, including Professor Thomas Sheridan, Professor Richard Pew, Professor Christopher Wickens, Professor Stephen Keele, and many others. Their advice and encouragement, as well as their most courteous manner in treating me as an independent researcher are gratefully acknowledged.

I'd like to thank members of the ETC lab in the Department of Industrial Engineering and members of the IRG group in the Department of Computer Science as well as my fellow graduate students in other laboratories at the University of Toronto, particularly Yan Xiao, Deb Fels, David Drascic, Anu Rastogi, Gene Golovchinsky, Ken Ruffo, George Fitzmaurice, Beverly Harrison and Martin Krueger, for their friendship and contributions to my work.

I have received support in the form of scholarships, facilities or research fund from NSERC, ITRC, DCIEM and the University of Toronto. This research would have been impossible without that generous support.

I'd also like to note the contributions of my parents, grandmother and brothers who excused me from many of my family duties for several years to let me concentrate on my work. Last but not the least, I'd like to thank my wife Hong. Her optimism and comfort at the times I felt discouraged have been invaluable to this research.