The idea of smart factories is based on the premise of ever-increasing productivity and flexibility of production processes. By coupling the skills and capabilities of personnel more closely with the control of machinery, the intentions of the operators and designers can be much more easily implemented. On the other hand, a closing of the divide between machinery and human beings must be carried out in a way that is not harmful to the wellbeing of persons involved and allows for retaining control of the machinery and all involved equipment by human beings.
Smart factories offer the possibility of decreasing the sensory and cognitive effort for production state detection and data processing by persons involved due to an offloading of these tasks to smart devices, thus leading to increased productivity, while at the same time there is the risk of discomfort, fatigue or physical or psychological stress by the amount and speed of data presented by ambient intelligence systems, and a risk of being controlled by the data processing systems involved.
Therefore, there is a need to identify the aspects of ambient intelligence technologies that can be used in the context of occupational safety in smart factories. With the rise of the amount of data that can be accumulated by the use of ambient intelligence technologies, there is the additional need of increasing data safety, primarily in cases where personalized data is transmitted via unsafe environments.
This PEROSH project aims at identifying the aspects of ambient intelligence technologies that can be used in the context of occupational safety in smart factories. The results of this project should clarify the scope of a project application to be submitted within the EU framework programme for research and innovation “HORIZON 2020”.
Project closed in 2017
After an initial meeting, two working meetings with the participation of PEROSH members from Poland (CIOP-PIB), The Netherlands (TNO), Denmark (NFA) and Germany (BAuA) took place throughout 2015. During the meetings, it turned out that each member organization focussed on different fields of work, amongst them:
- Robotics in health care (NFA)
- eHealth or mobile health, apps and applications for health monitoring and feedback in the workplace (TNO)
- robotics and VR development for various industries (CIOP-PIB)
- plant and machine safety, industrial control systems (“Industrie 4.0”, BAuA)
Due to the diverse nature of these fields and the very fast development pace of digital technologies in the workplace, it was not possible to identify a common research goal on health and safety for a joint research project in this field. Therefore, BAuA proposed to make a cut and close this project.
As a common result, it can be said that on the one hand, new technologies offer the possibility of decreasing the sensory and cognitive effort for production state detection and data processing by persons involved. On the other hand, risk of discomfort, fatigue or physical or psychological stress caused by the amount and speed of data presented by ambient intelligence systems may arise in smart factory settings. Against this background, the different institutes will continue their research within their special field of interest. After very fruitful cooperation where many incentives for single research paths were given and creative researchers were brought together, it was decided to continue further exchange on an informal basis.
Adolph Lars, BAuA
Richter Andreas, BAuA