Research in WP5: HMI design and development

WP5 in MANTIS-project focuses to study on implementing an efficient intelligent human machine interaction to deal with the intelligent optimization of the production processes through the monitoring and management of its components. The overall objectives of WP5 is to develop HMI capable to contribute to:

  • Enhanced monitoring of shop-floor conditions
  • Automatic self-adaptation of control strategies
  • User-friendly, ergonomic and intuitive interaction between workers and machines

Work in WP5 started with the identification of human machine interaction scenarios from each eleven use-cases. When defining requirements for HMI from different use-case point of views, collaborative and proactive aspects were highlighted. Even though the use-cases are very different, common elements and functionalities from the requirements for HMI were identified. Figure 1 presents the overall approach towards WP5 when designing and developing HMI prototype.

Overall approach towards WP5
Overall approach towards WP5

At the moment work in WP5 focuses on researching different platform solutions that would serve the HMI needs specified in use-cases. The objective is to develop a platform solution that will serve the common HMI needs identified from use-cases. Initial discussions among the WP5 participants relates to building a Web-based maintenance information portal that will act as a prototype HMI, which could be tested in selected use-cases. WP5 partners have discussed the potential approaches over the last period and the implementation plan have just been agreed on. Figure 2 is an example view what maintenance information portal could look like consisting of user specific content elements.

Example view of maintenance information portal
Example view of maintenance information portal

We need to have in mind that the information portal should behave as a support for the users not as their replacement. Maintenance information portal could be:

  • a single gateway to a company’s information and knowledge base
  • a framework for integrating information, people and processes across organizational boundaries
  • a secure unified access point
  • designed to aggregate and personalize information

Discussions about importance of three concepts in HMI-development has also been active. These concepts are collaborative, proactive and context-aware functionalities. Collaborative functions in HMI could be the possibility to communicate through the portal, share information and UI-views with different actors involved in certain maintenance tasks. These actors can be within the organization or external service providers. Proactive functions can be automated, model based calculations that predicts maintenance needs early enough that required maintenance actions can be carried out to prevent unplanned down time. Context-aware functions could for instance alter user defined UI-views in certain scenarios such as emergency situations or changes in the state of the production process. UI-view could also change depending on physical location of the portable mobile device connected to MANTIS-platform.