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Brecher, C, Breitbach T, Müller S, Mayer MP, Odenthal B, Schlick C, Herfs W.  2012.  3D Assembly Group Analysis for Cognitive Automation. Journal of Robotics. 2012(1):1-18. AbstractWebsite

A concept that allows the cognitive automation of robotic assembly processes is introduced. An assembly cell comprised of two robots was designed to verify the concept. For the purpose of validation a customer-defined part group consisting of Hubelino bricks is assembled. One of the key aspects for this process is the verification of the assembly group. Hence a software component was designed that utilizes the Microsoft Kinect to perceive both depth and color data in the assembly area. This information is used to determine the current state of the assembly group and is compared to a CAD model for validation purposes. In order to efficiently resolve erroneous situations, the results are interactively accessible to a human expert. The implications for an industrial application are demonstrated by transferring the developed concepts to an assembly scenario for switch-cabinet systems.

Kuz, S, Heinicke A, Schwichtenhövel D, Mayer MP, Schlick C.  2012.  The Effect of Anthropomorphic Movements of Assembly Robots on Human Prediction. Advances in Ergonomics in Manufacturing. (Karwowski, W., Trzcielinski, S., Eds.).:263-271., Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press Abstract

From a user centered point of view an important basic requirement to enable human-robot cooperation is to achieve conformity with operator's expectations of robot behavior. Therefore, this study focuses on the question, whether anthropomorphic robot movement trajectories can lead to an improved anticipation of the robot's behavior. Based on a virtual simulation environment a robotized assembly cell consisting of the assembly robot and the actual workplace was considered. In order to be able to simulate anthropomorphic movements, the human wrist trajectories of defined pick and place movements were obtained using an infrared motion capture system. The captured data were used to navigate the virtual assembly robot. Within the experiment anthropomorphic and robotic trajectories were distinguished. During the experiment, the main task of the participants was to predict the movement's destination as quickly as possible. Thus, the corresponding reaction value was analyzed to investigate the influence of anthropomorphic robot movements on human prediction in industrial environments.

Moniz, AB.  2010.  Anthropocentric-based robotic and autonomous systems: assessment for new organisational options, 5-6 Nov. 2009. Conference "Autonomous systems: inter-relations of technical and societal issues". , Monte de Caparica: IET Abstract

Research activities at European level on the concept of new working environments offers considerable attention to the challenges of the increased competencies of people working together with automated technologies. Since the decade of 1980 the development of approaches for the humanization of work organization, and for the development of participative organizational options induced to new proposals related to the development of complex and integrated automated systems. From such parallel conceptual development emerged the concept of “anthropocentric robotic systems” and quickly it covered also other fields of automation. More recently, the debate also covers issues related to working perception of people dealing with autonomous systems (e.g. Autonomous robotics) in tasks related to production planning, to programming and to process control. In fact, today one can understand the wider use of the anthropocentrism concept of production architectures, when understanding the new quality of these systems. In this chapter the author analyses the evolution of these issues related to governance of ICT applied to manufacturing and industrial services in research programmes strengthening very much the ‘classical’ concept of anthropocentric-based systems. It is emerging a new value of the intuitive capacities and human knowledge in the optimization and flexibilization of the manufacturing processes. While this would be a pre-condition to understand the human-robot communication needs, there is also a need to take into consideration the qualitative variables in the definition and design of robotic systems, jobs and production systems.

Moniz, AB.  2009.  Synthesis about a collaborative project on “Technology Assessment of Autonomous Systems”. Enterprise and Work Innovation Studies. 5:83-91. AbstractWebsite

The project started in 2009 with the support of DAAD in Germany and CRUP in Portugal under the “Collaborative German-Portuguese University Actions” programme. One central goal is the further development of a theory of technology assessment applied to robotics and autonomous systems in general that reflects in its methodology the changing conditions of knowledge production in modern societies and the emergence of new robotic technologies and of associated disruptive changes. Relevant topics here are handling broadened future horizons and new clusters of science and technology (medicine, engineering, interfaces, industrial automation, micro-devices, security and safety), as well as new governance structures in policy decision making concerning research and development (R&D).

Sampaio, J, Moniz AB.  2007.  Assessing Human and Technological Dimensions in Virtual Team's Operational Competences, 09/2007. :1-14., Monte de Caparica: IET Abstract

Cognitive task automation may lead to over trust, complacency and loss of the necessary work environment situation awareness. This is a major constraint in complex work organizations teamwork, ending up into an operational gap, between system developments and its understanding and usability, by operators. This document presents a summary of the main results of author’s research on operational decision processes and occupational competences, applied to the air traffic control operational reality. Introducing a human/technological complementary approach to virtual team’s conceptualisation, the results show there is a dimension to be followed in human/machine integration, which stands beyond interface design, and calls for a deeper human comprehension of technological agent’s structure and functionalities, which will, ultimately, require the development of an operational cognitive framework, where work processes and technological behaviour are integrated in professional competences, as he two faces of the same coin.

Moniz, AB.  2007.  The collaborative work concept and the information systems support: perspectives for and from manufacturing industry. Technikfolgenabschätzung – Theorie und Praxis. 16(2):49-57. AbstractWebsite

Most of the discussion and controversy on organisation of work concepts has been referenced to the manufacturing industry along the 20th century: it started with the concept of “scientific management” from Taylor, and continued with the new ideas on the importance of human factors as Mayo pointed out in the 1930s. Immediately after the 2nd World War Friedmann studied the human problems related to new manufacturing technologies and automation. And the late 1950 and 1960s were decades of strong debate on the socio-technics with the research at Tavistock Institute of London and the emergence of national programmes on new forms of work organisation. At the end of the last century the concept of collaborative work was developed together with the definition(s) of information systems and organisational design. However, the interest came from other production activities, like the services. This article analyses the approaches developed on these debates on the collaborative work and information system and its application to the manufacturing industry.