AssistMe Project ended

So the AssistMe assistme_01_3c3c08954cproject is finally over. AssistMe was a 3-year long endeavor to develop an industry 4.0 system for human-robot cooperation in a factory environment. The iterative development of the system featured (1) an off-the-shelf robotic arm controlled via a touch- panel (remote-control), (2) a robotic arm featuring physical human-robot interaction (pHRI), and (3) a robotic arm featuring a tangible user interface (TUI) for control. Each iteration step was evaluated by five industry workers for two different use cases. We used established analysis methods, namely behavior observation and User Experience (UX) questionnaires. The goal of the project was to find out (a) if there is a difference in the UX between the different robot versions, and (b) to identify improvements over time, as well as open questions and dead-ends in order to (c) provide concrete suggestions for future robot-human cooperation in the Industry 4.0 context. Our user studies revealed an improvement over time of UX in terms of usability, temporal demands, and performance expectancy based on concrete ergonomic, supportive artificial intelligence, and intuitive simplified interaction.

Media coverage can be found here (unfortunately only in German).

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Changes…

…after my maternity leave, I won’t go back to my old institute (ACIN Institute of Automation and Control) at the TU Wien. After the second trial, I was granted the Elise Richter Programme for senior post-docs from FWF Austrian funding agency.  The Elise-Richter Programme is the follow-up to the Hertha-Firnberg Programme  for “extremely well qualified female scientists who are working towards a career in universities”. So the Austrian academic system gives me another 3 years to prove myself 😉

From October onward I will be affiliated with the Human-Computer Interaction Group Institute for Design and Assessment of Technology. My three-years grant is on research about Long-term Human-Robot Interaction. The project will have its own website as soon as I am officially back at work.

I had a wonderful time at the Vision4Robotics group and will definitively miss my colleagues a lot. However, great things never come from comfort zones…

HRI 2017 in retrospect

So this is it. HRI2017 is finally over. 1.5 years of dedicated work together with Jim Young to put together the best program possible. At least Jim and I are happy with how the program turned out in the end. Clearly, there are some points we wished we could have done differently (eg. having a dedicated video session, having longer companion sessions etc.).

When I received one of the two service awards yesterday (second one went well-deserved to my colleague Markus Bajones!), I was so surprised that I did not say the following I want to share now:

How was it possible for me to be program co-chair while being pregnant and giving birth:

1. I have an incredibly supportive husband
2. From May 2016 onwards I put down almost all other duties (teaching, reviewing, proposal writing etc.)
3. My co-chair Jim Young was incredibly supportive from day one in January, when I told him I was pregnant and can no longer be his co-chair. He convinced me that we can make it work and reduced my workload in times when it would just have been too much.

That was lived gender mainstreaming and he deserves a lot of credit for that, besides all the great work he did for the PC.

So I consider this a shared award for the two of us!

HRI2017 – update

hri_logo_1200So, I did not want to post during my maternity leave…however, Jim and I put together an exciting program for HRI2017 in Vienna, which is only a few weeks away. Thanks to all our research fellows for submitting their excellent work, it was a pleasure (but also a lot of work :D) to put together the program, you can find it here: http://humanrobotinteraction.org/2017/programme/