How do control room operators and personnel working in the plant communicate with each other in the digital age?

HFC has been working intensively on this question in cooperation with the German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) for the last two years.

In modern organizations, field staff use mobile display devices (smartphones, laptops, etc.) not only for communication, but also for data acquisition, maintenance and sometimes also for switching operations. New interaction systems, especially for field use, should be selected according to the task to be performed, because the task and the special working context of field staff in plants of various industrial sectors place increased demands on e.g. robustness, freedom from glare, sound quality, etc. Ultimately, mobile technology must support the user in his perception, processing and execution of actions in the best possible way and contribute to the avoidance of errors, because these can possibly have health consequences.

In order to support the design and introduction of new technology, our specially developed checklist can help practitioners to consider basic requirements, organisational issues, but also user-oriented hardware and software design. The checklist and the work in the project are described in a comprehensive report, which is now available at In addition, together with BAuA we have submitted an English language paper about the project and the checklist in CHEMICAL ENGINEERING TRANSACTIONS, which will hopefully be accepted and published by autumn 2020.

Your opinion matters!

Online questionnaire on TV content with virtual sign language interpreter

In our project CONTENT4ALL, a television studio is developed that is not based at the TV station but can be used remotely (remote studio). This will make the work of sign language interpreters easier, not requiring them to travel to the TV station but instead to use the remote studio facilities, even at their own premise. The new technical system will also make it easier and cheaper for television stations to produce sign language programmes in the future. As a result, more programmes in sign language can be offered. Deaf viewers will see the television content as enriched with a virtual 3D representation of the captured sign language interpreter.

Due to the fact that we would like to develop the system in a way that it is the most effective and good-looking for the television viewers, we would like to ask you in the following online survey about your opinion on how you think such a content should be designed and spatially arranged in the best possible way on the TV screen. The survey just takes about 20 minutes:

Please also forward this mail to your friends, association members and other interested parties.

Thank you for your support!
Your CONTENT4ALL project team

Control Rooms Summit 2020 in Amsterdam

On February 11, Astrid will be part of the Control Rooms Summit 2020 during Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) 2020 at the Hotel Okura Amsterdam. Taking the theme ‘How better integrated AV will save and protect lives and deliver more efficient operations in the world of mission critical command and control’ the CRS2020 will address the latest trends in technology, design, ergonomics and best practice in this dynamic technology-led business sector. Astrid will be part of the panel discussion on ‘Ergonomic Design Considerations’. Hope to see you there and to discuss important trends in the control rooms industry.

Human Factors Evaluation for Jeppesen

HFC has accompanied Jeppesen (A Boeing Company), it their development of new Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) capabilities since 2015. The purpose of the Human Factors evaluation was to assess the Human Factors characteristics of the new Jeppesen product capabilities. Of particular interest were the impact on flight crew workload, situational awareness and acceptance under real flight conditions in a flight simulator by direct comparison of different EFBs.

HFC developed a holistic Human Factors evaluation plan (HFEP) in accordance with E-OCVM (European Operational Concept Validation Methodology). This includes defined test hypotheses, a validation plan, a definition of test variables and an elaborate test design. In close cooperation with the Technical University of Wildau (THW) real-time simulations were conducted with international pilots. THW adapted its A320 simulator and provided it for the evaluations. The evaluation plan, the analysis, and the results of the evaluation were documented in a report for submission to EASA.

Jeppesen is the market leader for instrument flight charts for commercial and business aviation. The Jeppesen research and development team in Denver, Neu-Isenburg and Gdansk have developed market-leading products for the Electronic Flight Bag, including the cockpit assistance system Airport Moving Map.

The video about the evaluation and the product can be found here:

Season’s greetings

Many thanks for the pleasant cooperation in the past years.

The coming year will again offer innovations and opportunities for cooperation: Visit us in spring at the World ATM Congress in Madrid or test our new VR-Lab at the 3rd Innovation Forum „Autonome, mobile Dienste – Services für Mobilität“ in Berlin.

KoMo project atlas is now available

With completion of the KUKoMo project by the end of this year, the project atlas Kompetenz Montage – kollaborativ und wandlungsfähig, i.e. competency assembly – collaborative and versatile, is now available from The project atlas contains several short reports from the nine joint projects funded under the same topic.

Together with the application partner Neustädter Gardinenkonfektion GmbH (NeuGa) we talk about user-centered development of the working positions with human-robot collaboration on pages 124 and 125.

In the project, HFC held workshops with users and developers, conducted work observations, and as mediator between humans and technology, counseled the project partners during implementation of the working positions.

Paper presentation at AHFE 2019, Washington D.C.

Vaishnavi Upadrasta at the 10th International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics (AHFE 2019) held in Washington D.C. from 23rd to 28th of July, 2019.

A short blog after the closing session of AHFE in Washington D.C. and I have to admit, the conference was very informative, stimulating and overall an enjoyable experience. After presenting a paper Improve your Task Analysis! Efficiency, Quality and Effectiveness increase in Task Analysis using a Software Tool (published together with Harald Kolrep und Astrid Oehme in June 2019 in Advances in Artificial Intelligence, Software and Systems Engineering, Springer), I let myself be inspired by the numerous concurrent sessions and extraordinary people I met. Not only was it a privilege to present at the 10th International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics (AHFE 2019), but also to have the opportunity to participate in a tutorial workshop and learn from Prof. Dr. Neville Stanton, made this experience even more special.

Challenges in control room design

The recent introduction of novel, partly automized working processes, which are operated via modern ICT, such as wall displays, smartphones and tablets, leads to major changes in control room design. Applying more innovative ICT enables a variety of new, collaborative working procedures, which are expected to lead to even more efficient and safer operations. Operators no longer depend on physical locations close to the controlled processes, but are able to work proactively over long distances.

Challenges in introducing new systems and operations in control rooms arise from cognitive and ergonomic requirements towards hard- and software as well as an optimum fit of task and equipment. However, challenges also arise from the introduction and development processes themselves. For both challenges HFC provides support and solution approaches.

Process-related measures comprise a consequently applied, user-centered, participative design process, change management, and respective training measures. Measures for design and development relate to the application of relevant standards and recommendations, the focus on the task at hand, the working context and the user skills, as well as the consideration of recent control room research.

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HFC at the 2nd Innovation Panel “Autonomous, mobile services – services for mobility”.

On June 4th and 5th the 2nd Innovation Panel “Autonomous, mobile services – services for mobility” took place at HTW’s Wilhelminenhof-Campus in Berlin. The venue was hosted by the Society for the Advancement of Applied Computer Science (GFaI), the ZIM-funded cooperation network MoDiSeM (Mobile Services – Services for Mobility), Berlin Partner for Economy and Technology, and Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin (HTW Berlin). As part of MoDiSeM network HFC took the opportunity to actively shape the venue program with a company booth and a presentation. The guests at our booth were able to test the VR-environment for our project INTUITIV and came across a virtual mobile robot platform. We discussed possible application scenarios with our interested guests and producers of robotic systems. Taking the example of the INTUITIV scenario, our presentation was dedicated to the research question, how robotic systems should behave in day-to-day life to be comprehensible for us as users.