Project for CADwalk Global completed: ESA control room workstation for satellite and rover control

In a trend-setting project, we designed new ergonomic workplace concepts for ESA satellite and rover control operations for CADwalk Global in the past months. This included a new type of workstation design that is suitable for an increasing number of satellite missions that are managed by a control room operator. In addition to workplace ergonomics, we also looked at new ways of setting up control rooms.

At the beginning of 2020, we carried out observations in two control rooms at ESA in Darmstadt and talked to the operators. This was followed by an intensive design phase in which we developed two alternative workplace design concepts. Subsequently, we conducted a focus group with ESA staff – which was then already digital due to corona conditions. After the vivid discussion, one of the concepts allowing more flexibility to support future workshops with end-users prevailed, which is now being implemented by CADwalk Global.

Award for interdisciplinary contribution to MRK safety

Eyes on robots is a controversial issue. While they can give the friendly tin buddy next door just the desired touch of human-likeness, in an industrial context one usually tries to avoid such associations. This makes the idea of equipping a classic industrial robot with a pair of these nevertheless all the more appealing. Not to make it more chummy, but to make its operation more natural and safer for humans. To do this, the eyes do not have to see, but to be seen: the robot’s eye movements should indicate in which direction its arm will move next. Since humans can recognize and interpret eye movements with little cognitive effort, we see this as an opportunity to open a communication channel between humans and robots that will increase safety. We recently received an award for this idea, and with it the funding for a nine-month research and development project in which we want to rethink interdisciplinarity: Together with the engineering psychology of the Humboldt University and the motion design experts from why do birds, a display is being developed that is safe and intuitive to understand, and looks great at the same time.

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.