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Head-Mounted Displays - Conditions for safe and healthy use

Project number: F 2288 Institution: Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) / Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V. (FhG) Status: Completed Project


Many tasks are so complex that they cannot be overcome without assistance. Such complex tasks consist approximately of extensive patterns or require diverse knowledge. New technologies such as head mounted displays (HMDs) offer innovative ways of support. HMDs are display devices that are attached to the head of the user and the main advantage lies in the usability of both hands free during the retrieval of information. The research project follows a holistic research approach and focuses on one side on the fit between technology and task and on the other hand on the effects of several hours of utilizing HMDs on users.

Previous results from the project show that the assessment of using head-mounted displays as job assistance should always be holistic: criteria of the task, individual characteristics of the people, characteristics of the environment and characteristics of HMDs must be considered. If it was determined in a taskanalysis, that the use of HMDs would be useful, an appropriate HMD must be selected in the next step. However, individual characteristics of people affect the suitability of HMDs for task support and the selection of a suitable HMDs. The use of HMDs thus has an impact on the entire system.

In a series of laboratory studies it was shown that impairment of the visual system was not detected even after several hours of working with HMDs. The high weight of some types of HMDs can be perceived as unpleasant and in conjunction with the head holder to restricted head movements and increased activity of the neck muscles. The measured increase in mental stress when wearing HMDs can be counteracted with regular breaks. Furthermore, we recommend a familiarization phase during the learning process with the new technology. The work rate in the tested graphical assembley tasks was lower with HMD compared to a wall monitor or tablet PC. This might be based on still missing habituation to this new technology but it can be also based on fundamental problems of information representation and - processing on a small, very close to the eye display.

Within the project several workshops on the topic "Data glasses - current status of research and implementation, as well as future development directions" were carried out. The documentation of these workshops will take place on own pages.

4th expert workshop on 29 September 2014:
Workshop Program (PDF, 686 KB) (in German)

3rd expert workshop on 3 June 2013:
Datenbrillen - Aktueller Stand von Forschung und Umsetzung sowie zukünftiger Entwicklungsrichtungen (in German)

2nd expert workshop on 20 June 2011:
Report "Datenbrillen - Aktueller Stand von Forschung und Umsetzung sowie zukünftiger Entwicklungsrichtungen" (in German)

1st expert workshop 8 December 2009



Unit 2.3 "Human Factors, Ergonomics"

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