Human-Machine-Centered Design Methods

Human-machine-centered methods are crucial for the development of human-oriented technologies that synergistically interact with their users. Current research indicates that human factors and technical aspects should be equally considered to design efficient solutions that are accepted by users. For this purpose, we combine user and expert studies with established engineering design methods frameworks for human-machine-centered design.

Our research is concerned with identifying and modeling human factors and the development of design methods. To this end, we aim at a holistic understanding of the influence of human factors on the development of robotic systems and considering these relations methodically.


Current projects on this topic

Active transfer learning with neural networks through human-robot interaction (TRAIN)

Funded by the DFG: BE 5729/16

In order to be able to use autonomous robots flexibly in interaction with humans in the future, procedures are needed that enable the learning of various motor and manipulation skills and that can also be applied not only by experts. We aim to improve the learning of robot skills with neural networks, taking into account human feedback as well as the experience and instructions of the users. To implement this systematically, we evaluate subjective feedback and physiological data from user studies and develop assessment criteria for the development of human-oriented methods of transfer learning and the shared autonomy of humans and robots.

More information can be found here.


EFFENDI – EFficient and Fast text ENtry for persons with motor Disabilities of neuromuscular orIgin

Funded by the DFG: FE 936/6

People with motor impairments are often unable to operate a computer keyboard efficiently and therefore need alternative input methods. For users with neuromuscular diseases, this project will develop alternatives that can adapt to the individual symptoms of individual persons through modular, multi-sensory interfaces. The practical use of the resulting input devices is ensured as part of a human-centered development process through the continuous involvement of the target group.


Completed projects on this topic

Users’ body experience and human-machine interfaces in (assistive) robotics

Funded by the DFG: BE 5729/3 & 11

The scientific network dealt with the body experience of individuals who use assistive or wearable robots. For a better understanding of technical possibilities to improve experiences, the participating scientists analyzed measures for the assessment of body representations and their consideration in novel design methods. This includes the identification of suitable perceptual channels and supports the development of new human-machine interfaces and human-in-the-loop experiments, i.e., robot hand/leg illusions.

Further information on the activities of the network can be found here.

Human-oriented methods for intuitive and fault-tolerant control of wearable robotic devices

Supported by the “Athene Young Investigator” program of TU Darmstadt

In this project, control approaches for wearable robotics systems for movement support and augmentation were developed to provide efficient and natural support and prevent users from feeling “controlled by the robot”. Psychophysical experiments of how users experience device elasticity help to tune adaptive impedance control to ensure versatile locomotion and fault tolerance. Human-in-the-loop experiments were applied to investigate the body scheme integration of wearable robotics systems by their users.

Optimized measurement, adjustment, and manufacturing of lower limb prosthetic sockets

Funded by AiF / IGF: 18873 N / 2

In this project, methods for measuring, adapting, and manufacturing lower limb prosthetic socket systems were developed. Based on biomechanical measurements, the know-how of orthopedic specialists, and the assessment evaluation by people with amputation, models of the interaction between residual limb and socket were developed and suggestions to use them in technical design processes were made.