XTEND Industrial Assistance system

Due to the expected increase in com­plexity in production, demographic change and the decreasing product life cycles, industrial companies have to face many challenges.

The use of computer-aided assistance systems can address these and provi­de individual support to employees in production environments by successi­vely guiding them through the entire work process. On the one hand, this enables cognitive relief for employees while enhancing both their technical and personal competences. On the other hand, from the point of view of production-oriented companies, the use of such technologies offers great potential for optimization with regard to coping with increasing product and quality requirements and the develop­ment of innovative business models.

Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 4

The XTEND software platform develo­ped at Fraunhofer IOSB-INA combines the advantages of various interaction modalities to support a wide range of industrial tasks.

The use cases range from the guidance of untrained workers over the support of employees in com­plex assembly processes to the support of people with mental and physical disabilities in order to open up new perspectives in inclusive work.

XTEND augments the user’s physical environment by providing process-related information in the immediate vicinity of the workspace. It offers users the opportunity to perceive important information using data glasses, mobile devices or in-situ projections without distracting them from the primary work task. The focus here is an adapti­ve user interface that expands opportunities for disabled workers and puts their competence an the centre of a versatile production environment.

Advantages of the technology


XTEND is designed as a modular con­cept and therefore offers a high de­gree of flexibility. Different interaction devices such as wearables, tablets, smartphones, AR data glasses or eye trackers can be used standalone or simultaneously, depending on the con­text of use.

User-centered design

XTEND is developed, tested and op­timized by using iterative methods of rapid prototyping approach. User re­quirements are considered in all stages of the development process to ensure an efficient and error-free operation as well as a sufficient acceptance of the technology.

Easy (re-)configuration

To facilitate the introduction of new products and production steps into the workflow, new instructions can be

created without additional programing effort. Existing configurations of workstations (e.g. the arrangement of material boxes) can also be adapted quickly and flexibly to new work situ­ations using Auto-ID procedures such as RFID. In addition, the utilization of drag & drop to create and manipulate tracking areas as well as the intuitive adaptation of projections facilitate the installation and configuration of work­stations.

Compatible interface design

XTEND currently supports common industry 4.0 standards such as Auto­mation Markup Language (Automati­onML), OPC United Architecture (OPC UA), Message Queue Telemetry Trans­port (MQTT) or Representational State Transfer (REST). On this basis, a seam­less data flow can be created and existing synergies can be used to re­alize a broad usability of the system. The manufacturer-independent solu­tion also allows easy integration into existing structures and offers users the possibility to utilize their own or similar devices („Bring your own device“).

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