Innovative interaction technologies open up large potentials even in factories. In control rooms, the staff focuses on operating and monitoring the specific part of a production or supply chain process of which they are in charge. By means of role-based gesture interaction, they will be able to cooperate in fulfilling interdisciplinary tasks in the future. This will accelerate the decision-making process, while the system can be used more intuitively. Another example is the feedback loop that shop-floor staff has to perform for manufacturing results. Rather than accessing a remote PDA or QA terminal and entering the feedback manually, the feedback can be given by means of gesture recognition using a camera right where the work piece is processed. This saves time and reduces errors.
Fraunhofer IOSB has been developing and testing gesture interaction technologies for various employment scenarios for many years now. This development is additionally boosted by inexpensive sensors from the consumer markets, such as Microsoft Kinect. As a consequence, users on the shop floor want to benefit from these new gadgets, too. IOSB has demonstrated this in the Smart Control Room or the Digital Engineering Table (see image), for example. They enable interdisciplinary team members to cooperate intuitively, using multiple planning and control systems. Underlying middleware technologies such as AutomationML™ or OPC UA ensure that every team member can contribute their local data via smart phone or laptop and ‘take home’ the results when the joint work has been done.