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ReConnect

Date: Fall 2014 – 10 weeks
With: Skogstekniska Klustret, SLU, Komatsu
Team: Anton Löf, Martijn van den Broeck

Designing for Forestry Machines in 2020

The aim of the “Forestry 2020” project was to design a future interface that would facilitate cost-effective man-machine interaction. The context was further specified as designing a functional and ergonomic interface for operating the forwarder crane while coping with the new features introduced into machines through robotics technology.

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DRIVER                                                              FORWARDER CRANE

ReConnect

ReConnect  is a concept that focuses  on enhancing forwarder drivers’ experience in near future, where higly automated operation is envisioned. During the project it was obvious that the

“introduction of new robotics technologies and automation will change the whole context and that will effect drivers and how they operate above all”

Process Overview

The overall process was human centered and iterative. Most of our insights, we got from the user researches. Combined with the knowledge gathered about future developments we defined a vision, mostly focused on the future role of the driver and the intended interaction with the forwarder. This vision guided our creation phase.

Research

The information collected during the context research was processed in various forms, such as a task analysis and scenario building.This enabled us to see potential areas for improvement. Besides that, the user interviews gave us a good idea of the motivations of current and future drivers. Amongst the drivers, we noticed a sceptical attitude towards more automation, fed by a conservative view on technology. They feared to lose control over the machine. We took this into consideration when defining a vision.

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Field research

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Interview and observation

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Task Analysis

Research_Scenario

Scenario Building

Exploration

We explored the topics and opportunities through various ideation and prototyping methods, ranging from brainstorming, quick sketching, role playing, video prototyping. We kept the topics more open so we could explore more.

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Brainstorming

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Quick Sketching

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Role Playing

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Video Prototyping


So, to be able to support the driver in this automation  process and empower them instead of overtaking operation with technology, we focused on transition, motivation and feeling in control.

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Transition

from manual to highly automated stages

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Instead of focusing on only highly automated stages, we aimed for designing a transition from manual to highly automated stages.

Feeling in Control

at every step of the transition

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In order to deal with confusion and sceptical approach towards the technology, we tried to provide feeling of being in control

Motivations

 heavy machines and being in the nature

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We focused on the motivations of drivers while designing the operating  experience in order to provide longer engagement.

Concept

To be able fulfill our vision, we decided to make use of different modalities to support motivation and feeling of being in control as well as change the existing control unit to create a platform to design for transition,

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Light

An interface to commuicate the level of automation
And an ambient light to highlight the shift in motivations – from machine operation to nature – directly proportion to leveling up –  and vice verca

Sound

Eliminating irrelevent sounds gradually throughout the transition, highlighting the shift and decreasing the distraction

 

Tactile

Giving information about the level of automation by making the controls heavy at manual stage and make it lighter gradually while leveling up stages that higher level of assistence provided

To communicate our concept, we tried to create the experience with Wizard-of-Oz technique

Concept

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Control Panel

A panel that will leave room for implementation of different levels technology, will support movements big enough to feel and/or see with peripheral vision

Prototyping

Concept Video

All the things we did was to create an overall experience and they were on a level that can be seen as representation of an  interaction or feedback rather than finalised version of them

Challenges

– Envisioning and shaping the future
– Aiming for changing stages (transition)
– Making the driver feel in control at all stages
– Dealing with the complexity of the context