Human-centered assistance system development in context of new work using Augmented Reality (AR)

Digitalisation includes the implementation of new and innovative technologies in a real world application context. [J.Hofmann, 2018, S.5f] This includes the orchestration of several different dimensions such as work, humans and technology in the course of embedding them in existing processes: Work 4.0 is a synonym for a scientific research field to empower the extensive and sustainable quality of an holistic work approach. [J.Hofmann, 2018, S.8ff]

Aware Arbeit 4.0

One of the goals in the project “AWARE - Arbeit 4.0” of the cluster management “it’s OWL” is the participative quality and design of digitalised workflows with the focus on human centeredness. [] One of the main aspects of Work 4.0 is the integration of assistance systems: there are different goals and requirements on the level of performance and level of management as well as the technological integration challenges in regard to process consistency leading to increased complexity and diversion. [J.Hofmann, 2018, S.21ff] The goal of the AWARE project at large is to design information-intensive processes so that knowledge is extrinsically available to involved and participants and can be individually applied as well.

The question is: How can a scalable, individual but still generic support of an assistance system be designed in regards to the project goal to be human centred as well as efficient and process integrated?

Together with industrial and educational partners researchers from Fraunhofer IOSB-INA and the Institute Industrial IT (inIT) in Lemgo (Germany) are trying to answer this question. The field of application for Augmented Reality (AR) was picked due to its contextual and ubiquitous nature to create a prototypical and potential solution approach. [A.Mehler-Bicher, M.Reiß 2011, S.75ff]

The focus on a participative integration with all involved partners and users alike was the conceptual structure of the solution from the start. Due to this approach one could obtain a necessary user acceptance already at a very early stage. This way, the technological solution, the use-case scenario as well as the structural organisation of the solution-oriented approach could be analysed, reflected and gradually enhanced from the beginning on. As for the content related design of the solution in the scope of the project, the topic education was picked as the primary choice.

Essential aspects are first of all the forms and quality of the technological components and furthermore the design of an interactive usercentred interface to handle the information content. To achieve the best results and keep the access barrier as low and the technology acceptance at the same time as high as possible, typical mainstream mobile hardware components such as Tablets and Smartphones were used.

However, stability, flexibility and individuality are key and the main characteristics when it comes to interaction between technology and users. Thanks to local conditions it’s possible to try out changes and different solutions in a public test-laboratory SmartFactory OWL already at an early stage and present such solution to visitors and interested parties alike. That way the technological acceptance of the actual state can be evaluated and tested. []

The knowledge gained from this approach does then not only flow back into application development but also into the identification of new areas of application. Following a generic approach to design a user-oriented software solution created flexibility in the structural handling to achieve the coupling and interaction of technology and user individuality. Reflecting the focused question, this way it was possible to create a scaleable, human-centred workflow and embed it into already existing processes to influence the Work 4.0 design in different ways.

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