Sociotechnical Systems and Human-Machine Interfaces

  A robot is standing on a table and is being prepared for use Copyright: © Mario Irrmischer  

The increasing automation in industrialized countries, and especially in Germany, means that people and machines will be working together more closely in the future. The steady progress in the field of robotics allows a real collaboration: hand in gripper. This collaboration results in a socio-technical (work) system in which the human being appears as a social subsystem and the machine as a technical subsystem. A human-machine interface is required for the targeted interaction between the two subsystems.

Within the research field Sociotechnical Systems and Human-Machine Interfaces, issues are investigated with regard to both human-centered workplace design and the appropriate and intuitive operation of machines. The results are applied in all domains where humans cannot be easily replaced. For example, the full automation of flexible production is hardly feasible, whereas targeted support of human labor can have a major effect. The working human being with their individual abilities and skills is always the subject of the research. Aspects such as ergonomics, cognitive load and performance come into focus. This is also accompanied by the question of how this can be favorably influenced by the use of technical subsystems. The optimization of a socio-technical system always focuses on the task-specific design of the human-machine interaction.

The IAW has many years of experience in this field and can draw on a wide range of measuring equipment for recording physiological and psychological variables.