Worker assistance systems are becoming increasingly intelligent, interactive and supportive. But do they have a future on the shop floor?
Worker assistance systems: Understanding the human perspective
Mirco Möncks, Elisa Roth and Dr Thomas Bohné are all from the Cyber-Human Lab at the University of Cambridge Institute for Manufacturing (IfM). The lab focuses on how technologies can be used to augment human work and improve human performance in industry. The team share insights from a recent study on stakeholders’ perspectives on assistive technology in manufacturing.
The future of manufacturing is often characterised by an increase in complexity, efficiency and sustainability. As the execution frequency of simple and repetitive tasks decreases, manual tasks are likely to become more complex.
Does this mean that manufacturing is inevitably heading towards full automation? It depends on who you ask.
According to our recent study, the expected degree of automation on future shop floors seems to depend on one’s position in the hierarchy of an organisation – but different to what most would intuitively expect.
We asked three groups – manufacturing executives, instructors and operators – about their perspectives on worker assistance systems to uncover their experiences, what kind of assistance systems they would find acceptable, and to what extent their experiences and views of the future aligned.
Image: An example of an Augmented Reality headset to increase operations resilience.
Credit: Elisa Roth
Reproduced courtesy of University of Cambridge, Department of Engineering
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