As manufacturing shifts towards smart factories, with interconnected production systems and automation, EPSRC has funded the £1.9m DigiTOP project to develop a predictive toolkit to optimise productivity and communication between human workers and robots.
Academics at the University of Nottingham, Cranfield University, Loughborough University and the Bristol Robotics Lab are collaborating to deliver an open-access suite of digital tools to enable the real-time capture and prediction of impact, allowing digital technologies to be optimised for manufacturing system performance. Using new human factors theories and data analytics approaches, tools will be designed to inform human requirements for workload, situation awareness and decision making in digital manufacturing. At the same time, demonstrators will be used to test the implementation of sensing technologies that will capture and evaluate performance change and build predictive models of system performance. The project will also provide an understanding of the ethical, organisational and social impact of the introduction of digital manufacturing tools and digital sensor-based tools to evaluate work performance in the future workplace.