Industry 4.0 (the smart factory) is usually equated with networking and improved flexibility. However, an important focus is the integration of humans in this new work environment. Those tasks where humans continue to be an important factor must be supported by machines. This elevates the importance of cooperation and communication at the human/machine interface.
Many new approaches seek to improve human/machine communication. One approach by SCCH is to support the required flexibility in production as thoroughly as possible via software and to enable domain experts without programming skills to configure systems. Domain-specific languages (DSLs) are developed for this purpose. They enable intuitive configuration with consistency checks. A specific application example is the configuration of a complex interface between a robot and a power source for welding. SCCH devel-oped not only the DSL but also the tools for handling and secure confirmation. Likewise the user interfaces of machines transform to modern, reduced, gesture-controlled interfaces.
The ubiquitous use of touch interfaces in private do¬mains spurs the development and the design of apps to make the user comfortable with familiar interaction options. In the design and development of such inter-faces, SCCH worked with renowned machine manufacturers to evolve new ideas and apply them in research projects.
One possible further development is to separate the user interface from the machine and move it to devices that are familiar to the user, such as tablets. This simplifies interaction, especially for motorically challenged persons. This is a field where SCCH is working with Johannes Kepler University Linz toward solutions. In addition to the classical user interfaces for software, SCCH is also seeking interaction options that can be integrated into the human work process. From gesture control to wearable computing and communication via brain waves, here everything is imaginable.