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Ambient Intelligence

Adaptive work assistance systems (AAS) - Ambient Intelligence in the world of work

A man is wearing a head-mounted display, Photography: Uwe Völkner, Fotoagentur FOX

In work sciences, adaptive work assistance systems (AAS) form the core of the ambient intelligence technology vision. This term refers to autonomous systems, that adapt unobtrusively and without traditional HCI-devices to the needs and tasks of the user. To do this, these systems are typically structured decentralized as a wireless network of sensors, agents and actors, integrated in everyday objects. An example of such wearable AmI are smart fire fighter suits, which integrated sensors provide and evaluate additional information about the physiological status of the fire fighter, thus improving the basis of decision-making for operation-controllers. Another application of AmI in work environment is a Head-Mounted Display. These eyeglasses-like monitors support the user with task-relevant information and instructions, reducing the demands on the user, especially in time-critical situations. Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) is investigating the effects of long-term-use of these wearable AmI.

In the production process, AmI-based camera-surveillance facilitates the close collaboration of man and machine without separating protective devices, such as protective fences. It is conceivable that technical protective measures using AmI technology replace measures of inherently safe design, which would be a cause for concern in terms of safety. The topic of AmI-controlled climate- and lighting-regulation in office space is driven by questions concerning ethics and occupational health, analyzing how systems can adapt to individual needs of the employees. Regarding lighting-regulation, AmI are to influence light sockets, light spectra and light distribution to exert a major influence on the workers' circadian rhythms (sleeping/waking rhythm) or physiological parameters.