Bridging the Skills Gap of Workers in Industry 4.0 by Human Performance Augmentation Tools: Challenges and Roadmap

Authors: Eric Ras, Fridolin Wild, Christoph Stahl and Alexandre Baudet
Type: Conference proceedings
Source: 10th International Conference on PErvasive Technologies Related to Assistive Environments (PETRA 2017)
Publisher: ACM New York, NY, USA
Date: 21 June, 2017

Abstract: Industry 4.0 is a coordinated push for automation in Smart Factories and other Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS). The increasing complexity of frequently changing production environments challenges shop floor workers to perform well. The tasks they work on are getting less routine and ask for continuous knowledge and skills development. For example, the skills portfolio of workers likely requires improved higher-order thinking and decision-making skills. A wide range of research and development efforts already today sets focus on different areas of workplace learning, including performance appraisals, pedagogy and education, technology, and business economics. Bridging the skills gap, however, requires novel user-facing technologies — such as Augmented Reality (AR) and wearables — for human performance augmentation to improve efficiency and effectiveness of staff delivered through live guidance. AR branches out beyond mobile apps with 3D-object superimposition for marketing purposes to rather complex use cases delivered by a rapidly growing innovation ecosystem of hard- and software providers collaborating closely with R&D organisations. This paper provides a first shared vision on how AR can tackle four different challenges related to handling complexity in a CPS environment: develop intelligent assistance systems for learning and performance assessment at the workplace, adapt job profiles accordingly, and last but not least to address also the issue of work-life balance. The paper concludes with an outline of a research roadmap.