Empirical User Evaluation

Research Objectives

Subproject 5 deals with ergonomic aspects in the development of workplaces where human users work together with mobile cooperative robots. The human-robot cooperation is examined by means of qualitative and quantitative methods of ergonomic-psychological evaluation research. The user concept focuses on criteria such as subjective perceptions of safety, productivity in terms of the effectiveness and efficiency of the cooperation as well as user acceptance and satisfaction.


An empirical analysis of the work system is carried out, which analyses and describes characteristics of the work activity within the framework of selected suitable work processes. Based on the analysis, ergonomic design recommendations are derived and the project’s use cases are defined.

The second work package focuses on the determination of optimized robot movements with regard to productivity and subjective safety perception. Different motion profiles (e.g. motion paths, speeds) of the robots are conceived and evaluated on the basis of empirical, experimental user studies. On the basis of these results, guidelines for the design of the motion patterns will be developed.

An important aspect of human-robot cooperation is a user-friendly task allocation concept. Initially, concepts of allocation are to be developed on the basis of evidence from the point of view of ergonomics, and then evaluated in user studies with regard to cooperative performance and (cognitive) strain.

This work package encompasses the research, conception and evaluation of the human-robot interface design, which aims at an inclusive use of the system. This concerns the cooperation with a single robot as well as with several robots.

This work package comprises iterative empirical evaluations of the developed systems based on criteria of effectiveness and efficiency, comfort and satisfaction, as well as a human factors risk assessment to uncover possible sources of risk and error.


The research shows constantly that the consideration of the usability and the robot design is only one part influencing user acceptance. Two studies show that the experience with the technology leads to a better understanding. For a successful implementation and interaction we need to consider the holistic working system. Using a holistic approach one could show, that the integration of a platform has also social consequences, like for example a feared loss of the social togetherness at work. Companies need to consider and preventively work on these consequences to achieve an appropriate acceptance by the workers.


Prof. Dr.-Ing.
Verena Nitsch
RWTH Aachen University
Institute of Industrial Engineering and Ergonomics
Bergdriesch 27, 52062 Aachen, Deutschland
Tel.: +49 241 80 99440
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