yitingchien.web [at] gmail [dot] com | Based in Erlangen, Germany

New Mining Interface 
for Human and Robot Working Together

AREA: Human-Machine Interface

COLLABORATION: Interactive Institute Swedish ICT AB, Boliden Mineral and ABB

TIME & TEAM: A 10-week project with Hector Mejia, Shigeo Katsura-Gordon and Siddharth Hirwani

CONTRIBUTION: Involving in research and concept development, taking charge in interface design from wireframes to high-fidelity outcomes

 

CHALLENGE

The future of mining would be on a move to fully automated mines. Fully automation of mines is slated for a start in 2020 at earliest leaving us with a gap of unknown questions that can be asked about how mines will be operated during such transition. How might semi-automation of remote rock breaking allow operators to improve work efficiency?

CONCEPT

The concept involves a touchscreen interface with a representational grid with rocks and a rock breaking arm. The main idea of the concept is that rocks on site would be mapped onto the touch screen using camera vision and laser technology. By touching the rock, the rock breaking arm would move into position and the operator who uses the joysticks makes minor precise movements to further break the rock.

BOTH HUMAN AND ROBOT PLAY TO THEIR STRENGTHS

The concept allowed an increase in efficiency and time reduction of the process of moving the arm into position. It reduces the task of the operator of manually controlling the arm and allows him to focus on precise movements. The machine is automated for the most part and reduces wear and tear.

STEP 1: CONTROL MULTIPLE ROCK BREAKERS

The touch screen allows an operator to control multiple rock breakers simultaneously. Also, operating multiple rock breakers implies the need for visual feedback of the state of the breakers on the interface. 

STEP 2: TAPPING THE ROCK

One rock-breaker is selected and rocks appear on screen as they are in actual on site. When the operator taps the rock to be broken on the touch screen, the arm moves in from accordingly its park position and positions itself over the rock.

STEP 3: BREAKING BY JOYSTICKS

The operator then takes over control using the conventional joysticks for making precise movements to break the rock. The process continues until all the rocks are broken, and the operator can then select the next rock breaking site to continue work.

Contextual inquiry to observe how operators use remote control systems with electric joysticks and multiple CCTV monitors to control rock-breakers in office-like control rooms

Desk research to study the automatic technology in mining industry

Creating task analysis to illustrate the content of task we observed, further generating and prioritizing requirements for new solutions

Initial sketch exploring the function and design of the touchscreen interface

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Producing black-and-white wireframes to define interaction flow and details

Developing a functional prototype including machine model and an iPad interface

Delivering concept to our project stakeholders alongside the working prototypes