–Human machine interaction is the communication and interaction between human users and a machine via a human-machine- interface.
Research on man-machine systems has been going on for more than 50 years, mainly in the aerospace and automotive industries. They were the first to recognize that a good symbiosis between man and machine improves productivity, safety and environmental compatibility. Human-machine systems have gained a high market value and have evolved from manufacturing companies into new industries such as healthcare, entertainment and transportation.
The human-machine interface is crucial for any human-machine interaction and thus represents the information link between the user and the machine. In the first years of human-machine interaction, the user had to manually enter special commands that were interpreted by the operating system. This method was called the Character User Interface (CUI), and due to its complexity it was soon replaced by the so-called GUI method. It describes the graphical user interface in which a user communicates with the machine via touchscreens. The latest development and current field of research is the Natural User Interface (NUI) method, where a user communicates via voice and gesture commands. This complex method of interaction between a user and a machine requires many different sensors and cameras to track a user’s gestures and speech in a first step. The second step is the interpretation of the command using mathematical algorithms and artificial intelligence to enable continuous learning of new gestures and commands (machine learning). The execution of the task is the final step of the interaction process.
The human-machine interaction shows a high future potential and appears almost everywhere in our daily life.
The handling of a smartphone or laptop are its basic forms. Manufacturing companies discovered the great potential of interaction between man and machine to increase productivity and quality in manufacturing. The interaction between man and machine has also found its way into new industries, such as the medical sector, where operations can be performed with robots controlled by doctors, and the entertainment industry. The field of virtual or augmented reality can also be seen as a form of interaction between man and machine where a user manipulates the displayed environment through gestures tracked by sensors and cameras.
Trade unions claim that an increasing use of human-machine systems will increase the number of robots and reduce the number of jobs in general. But an increasing number of robots will also have positive side effects in terms of increased productivity, quality and cost savings.
Literature: Lalanne, Kohlas (2009). Human Machine Interaction. Heidelberg: Springer