We are looking for deaf and hearing signers!

As part of CONTENT4ALL, we are currently running a survey for deaf and hearing signers. Therefore, we want to gather needs and wishes to a system that makes TV more accessible for the Deaf by providing a virtual signer.

We ask domain experts to support our project by participating in this short online survey (filling out takes only approximately 15 minutes). The only requisite is that you speak a sign language (no matter which one). The survey is available in two versions:

Please also draw the attention of your acquaintances to the survey. We are looking forward to your participation!

New HFC project report published by German Federal Highway Research Institute

A project report of HFC has been published, which was prepared in the project Entwicklung der Fahr- und Verkehrskompetenz mit zunehmender Fahrerfahrung / Development of driving and traffic competence with increasing driving experience conducted for the German Federal Highway Research Institute BASt.

The aim of this research project was to develop an implementation concept for a longitudinal study for the recording of the development of the driving and traffic competence of novice drivers over time. The basis for this is a theoretical framework for driving skill, driving competence and their increase by practice and experience which we derived based on theoretical considerations and against the background of published findings regarding the traffic safety of young and novice drivers.

The report is available in German on the BASt website.

Workshop on media usage

Last week, as part of the CONTENT4ALL project, we conducted an interactive workshop with students from the Ernst-Adolf-Eschke-School. The Eschke-Schule is a Berlin based school for the Deaf where all the 5 participating students of the 10th grade speak German Sign Language. The CONTENT4ALL-Project is an EU-funded project that develops technologies that will facilitate the production of accessible TV programs in the future.

With the help of flipcharts, we developed typical media and programs as well as their advantages and disadvantages that students use. Using sample videos, we discussed what aspects they may or may not like about current sign-language TV programs. At the end, the students let their creativity run wild: as heads of the “Media for All” department of a major German television station, the students developed and drew their ideas of how television in future should be. All results are directly connected to the project work and form the basis for further system development.

We not only enjoyed this workshop but also learned a lot. We heartily thank

  • the students who participated with full enthusiasm,
  • their teacher who ensured the smooth flow of communication,
  • as well as the management of the Eschke School, who supported us through their willingness to conduct this workshop!

We look forward to the workshop at the Wilhelm-von-Türck-School in Potsdam after the summer holidays.

New project Kamäleon on urban mobility

We start to work on the project “Kamäleon” (constructive adaptive mobility by light vehicles without borders). The aim of the project is to further develop kickTrike©, an electric light vehicle by Constin GmbH.

This vehicle is specially designed for urban and intermodal transport. It can transport loads and can also be taken on public transport like a bicycle.

In the future, the kickTrike© will be able to adapt even better to mixed traffic and be ready to drive on the road as well as on footpaths and cycle paths. It automatically changes its visual appearance when it switches from one traffic area (e. g. road) to another (e. g. cycle path). User tests are used to evaluate the acceptance of such a vehicle for mixed traffic. One of the goals is to create a green alternative to cars.

Project start CONTENT4ALL

Our new project CONTENT4ALL will start on September 1st. Together with 5 european partners we will develop a new approach, translating spoken language in media into sign-interpreted language via 3D representation of the human sign-interpreter on a personalized stream for the deaf.

Copyright Dr. Bill Vicars - lifeprint.com

CONTENT4ALL will demonstrate automated sign-translation applied to a real-world television broadcasting scenario, which is envisaged to lead to new approaches and innovations in the area in the long-run. HFC will bring in its user-centered design approach together with its expertise in user research, User Experience, and accessibility.

The team consists of the Fincons Group AG, the University of Surrey, the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute, the Swiss TEXT AG, Vlaamse Radio- en Televisieomroeporganisatie and HFC Human-Factors-Consult and is funded by the European Union.

We are looking forward to 3 years of successful cooperation!

Project completion roboethics

Silent Running (1972) © Universal Studios

The topic of roboethics in the industrial domain was addressed by HFC in association with the Institute of Philosophy at the Technical University of Berlin for the German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) in a nine-month-project.

The objective of the project was to identify socio-ethical aspects of human-robot-interaction that are especially relevant in the industrial domain. Following several theoretical analyses, three essential variables were identified that impact emotional aspects, the perceived responsibility, and the user acceptance in the industrial HRI: the hierarchical role of robot and human in the interaction, level of robot autonomy, and robot morphology in terms of shape, context, communication, and motion. The results form the basis of socio-ethical design guidelines for industrial HRI.

On june 24th, HFC participated at the Berlin / Brandenburg “Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften” presenting this project and having enthusiastic discussions at an invited panel session on roboethics.

Completed study on safety potential of cycle helmets

In a research project on behalf of the Departments of Transportation of Baden-Wuerttemberg and Thuringia, HFC examined the impact of cycle helmets on improving traffic safety and measures to increase helmet use among cyclists. The final report is now published (PDF in German). Overall we conclude that many injuries and fatalities in Germany could be avoided by cyclists wearing a bicycle helmet.

Cooperation agreement signed

HFC Human-Factors-Consult GmbH and m-click-aero GmbH will cooperate in order to provide state of the art situational awareness services for aeronautical traffic management in multiple airport control.

The companies will team up to combine m-click.aero’s expertise in the area of SWIM enabled aeronautical data integration, processing and delivery with HFC’s unique multi-airport control assistance MasterMAN®. With MasterMAN® HFC develops an innovative strategy and optimization tool, which supports air traffic and staff planning in multi-airport control operations. m-click.aero will provide the respective data integration and processing.

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Advanced (mobile) Information- and communication technology in control rooms

Beginning in March 2017 we are working on the topic of “Stress and strain of control room operators when using advanced interaction concepts and mobile ICT” on behalf of the German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health BAuA.

The project is part of a larger BAuA research program, in which potential hazards in control rooms arising from advanced ICT are investigated. The program aims at deriving required work design modifications. Of special interest in our project are novel communication technologies which support control room operators to exchange information on system status, maintenance works, etc. with their colleagues on site in the plant.

More information can be found in the project description.

Camera Monitor Systems as a source for driver information

HFC is starting a new project commissioned by the Bundesanstalt für Straßenwesen (BASt, German Federal Highway Research Institute) to investigate camera monitor systems (CMS) in a real world driving scenario.

Camera Monitor System

Such systems enable a video-assisted monitoring of the rear vehicle area via one or more monitors inside the vehicle. The projects purpose is to check perception, behavior, and safety issues related to the performance of a CMS compared to conventional exterior mirrors and to conclude possible requirements for future CMS.

More information can be found in the description of the project.