The VBB easy app made it onto the longlist for the German Mobility Award 2023

On the occasion of the Special Olympics World Games 2023 and as part of the INKLUSION ’23 sustainability programme of the federal state of Berlin, two new apps were developed and published under the leadership of the VBB Verkehrsverbund Berlin-Brandenburg. HFC is supporting the development and evaluation of the apps with its expertise in the areas of user research, usability and accessibility of digital products.

The “VBB easy” routing app is aimed at people with learning disabilities. The app is intuitive to use, written in easy language and enables wheelchair-accessible routing through the entire VBB public transport area. It is supplemented by the “VBB GuideMeGo” help app, which can be used to obtain help from the VBB assistance service or a known person (family, friends, etc.) via video call if necessary. The apps have now made it onto the official shortlist for the Mobility Award 2023 in the Design category! The prize will be awarded on Thursday, 30 November 2023 by the Federal Minister for Digital Affairs and Transport, Dr Volker Wissing, in Berlin. Interested parties can follow the award ceremony from 5 p.m. in the livestream on and have the opportunity to vote live for their favourite for the Audience Award.

In addition, an article about them was recently published in the magazine Der Nahverkehr (in German only).

We are delighted about the positive feedback for the app!

Field test for the transmission of drone data

As part of the ResKriver project (communication and information platform for resilient crisis-relevant supply networks, funded by BMWK Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection), a field study was carried out on 21 October 2023 with the Berlin Fire Department and KomRe AG. The objective was to test the performance and accuracy of the drone data transmission software developed by project partner KomRe AG. This software-supported identification of various heat sources could help to recognise heat sources at an early stage, e.g. during forest fires, or to record their exact geocoordinates. HFC supported this test by carrying out corresponding user evaluations. Our aim was to test aspects such as trust and usability of the developed system.

Project NoWeL4: Reallab for fully automated public transport

Fully automated (Level 4) and demand-responsive public transport will be tested on a large scale for the first time in northwestern Berlin during the NoWeL4 project. The collaborative project, led by Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG), is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport. Partners are the Zentrum Technik und Gesellschaft ZTG of TU Berlin and the Institut für Klimaschutz, Energie und Mobilität e.V. IKEM.

The sophisticated technical and organizational implementation follows a user-centered approach, which is supported by the participation of all social stakeholders and a comprehensive technology assessment performed by ZTG. The goal is to provide passengers a fully positive user experience with the new on-demand service – from booking to destination.

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Being close even at a distance – ToCaro project launched

Much has happened in the field of digitally mediated distance communication in recent years – online video meetings and video calls have become an integral part of most people’s lives, even beyond the pandemic. However, current solutions are often very pragmatically oriented, offering only a limited range of communication channels, mainly speech and facial expressions. As a result, they are well suited for work-related contexts, but rather less so for enabling communication over distance in the private domain, which creates connection and closeness and can also be emotionally fulfilling.

Together with our partners from the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), the Institute for Manufacturing Automation and Production Systems FAPS at the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg and C&S Computer und Software GmbH, we will be developing a new type of communication medium (the so-called ToCaros) in a user-centred process over the next three years. With the help of intelligent textiles and dielectric elastomer actuators, these ToCaros will primarily enable non-verbal communication over distance, such as the transmission of haptic stimuli or light signals. In addition to coordinating the research network, HFC is responsible for the engineering psychology-related aspects of the development process, ELSI reflections and the planning and implementation of user studies.

We are presenting at IHIET-AI 2023

Following a stakeholder analysis to identify the groups who could potentially benefit from civil drone use, we utilized the online survey method in order to better understand the general publics or the overflown communities’ perspective on the use of drones, mainly for industrially and commercial purposes. These project activities are performed within the H2020 EU project ADACORSA. 

We are delighted to present the details of the study and our results of the survey at IHIET  9th International Conference on Human Interaction and Emerging Technologies: Future Applications (IHIET-AI 2023) that would be held on 13-15 April, 2023. We are looking forward to interact with other researchers showcasing their works and the overall conference proceedings.

Study to promote noise-conscious behavior launched on behalf of the German Environment Agency

Noise has a strong direct influence on our health and well-being. It is therefore obvious to protect people from noise or to avoid the generation of noise. Since a large part of disturbing noise nowadays depends directly on human behavior, promoting noise-aware behavior is a promising measure towards a quieter and thus healthier environment. HFC, together with the nexus Institute and the departments of audio communication, and psychoacoustics at the Technical University of Berlin, is now conducting research on behalf of the German Environment Agency to determine how aware people are of the noise they themselves generate. Furthermore, it will be evaluated what influence public participation can have on people’s noise awareness. Based on this, strategies and measures are to be developed to motivate people to adopt a more noise-conscious behavior in the long term. In this project, HFC is responsible for the conception and implementation of the qualitative survey and the quantitative field study.

Digital NOTAMs for BER airport

On January 1, 2023, the iNOTAM (Integration of digital NOTAMs) project was launched, involving three project partners. Under the consortium leadership of HFC Human-Factors-Consult and in collaboration with project partners and Berlin-Brandenburg Airport, the creation, processing, and provision of NOTAMs (Notice to Airmen) will be digitized. NOTAMs are brief, manually created messages for pilots and airport operations personnel regarding flight operational restrictions, such as construction sites, maintenance, or other equipment failures. Current NOTAMs are formulated by operators and are currently only readable and interpretable by humans due to abbreviations or lack of context. The project will utilize the existing digital database of air traffic infrastructure to create georeferenced, fully digital NOTAMs at the airport. These digital NOTAMs can then be provided to all authorized traffic participants, such as pilots in their assistance and navigation systems.

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Season’s greetings

Thank you very much for the trust you have placed in us, the inspiring exchange, and the successful cooperation in 2022.

We wish everyone a peaceful turn of the year and, above all, a healthy and happy 2023!

We have launched rokit!

We are very happy to announce that we launched the rokit project last week. Together with leading partners from science and application, we are working on rokit to develop a center of excellence for robots in public spaces. We will team up to develop services and tools for manufacturers and customers that promote the beneficial, ethical, safe, and economical use of robots in public spaces.

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Project “AdaptKI-Assist” launched

In the project AdaptKI-Assist, an assistance system is being developed that uses artificial intelligence to facilitate the setup and operation of packaging production machines.

The production of packaging materials made of paper or film in production chains with different degrees of automation currently requires particularly experienced personnel. However, the shortage of skilled workers makes it necessary to quickly enable inexperienced employees to set up and operate the machines. For this purpose, together with the partners COVAC Elektro und Automation, Heinrich Ludwig Verpackungsmittel and the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS, an assistance system will be developed which provides adaptive support during machine set-up and operation. The assistance system is trained with the help of the latest machine learning methods in order to provide information and recommendations based on the production parameters but also on the knowledge of experienced employees. In the project, we are responsible for collecting implicit and explicit knowledge as well as user needs, designing the XR user interface and evaluating the system.