MindBot

The MindBot funding project aims to make collaboration in the context of human-robot collaboration in Industry 4.0 more pleasant for humans.

Robots for mental health improvement

Cobots are robots that share workspaces and tasks with humans. They are independent work colleagues who can work interactively and ideally learn. However, it is not clear what consequences the use of robots have on the motivation and well-being of workers. What social challenges await the world of small and medium-sized enterprises? How can companies ensure that people are also protected from a mental health perspective?

These questions gave rise to the idea for the funding project "MindBot - Promotion of the mental health of cobot workers within the framework of Industry 4.0". The automation of work steps with a Cobot leads to a changed work task of the worker and thus also to a changed mental strain, often in the context of under- or overstraining. To record the condition of the worker, it wears a Smartwatch, which can measure the mental and physical stress and strain. The MindBot is a collaborative robot which, thanks to the data from the Smartwatch, becomes aware of the level of tension of this worker and then adapts its behaviour so that the worker feels more comfortable again.

The project therefore focuses on promoting the mental health of workers and developing technologies that are able to react appropriately to negative stress experiences. The final result of the project will be an add-on for the KUKA LBR iiwa that will help the worker to understand, when it is time to take a break due to exhaustion or when, for example, attention and concentration are decreasing. The research will also involve people who are affected by an autism spectrum disorder as project consultants: MindBot expects them to make an important contribution to understanding how to make better use of their manpower in Industry 4.0 by allowing them to work with new robotic technologies.

 

European partners from research and industry

The research group consists of different partners with specific skills in the fields of psychology, business organization, rehabilitation, human-robot user interface, artificial intelligence and wearable sensors.

Besides the coordinator IRCCS Medea, the partners are the Italian University of Milan, the Italian National Research Council (Institute for Intelligent Industrial Systems and Technologies for Advanced Manufacturing, STIIMA), the Belgian company Biorics NV, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence DFKI, the Croatian University of Rijeka, the German robot manufacturer KUKA, the German University of Augsburg and the Croatian Ministry of Labour.

 

MindBot Team

The multidisciplinary approach allows research of the technological, relational and organisational aspects of work using subjective and objective indicators (such as self-assessment measures and sensors) and leads to the identification of protective and risk factors for mental health during human-robot interaction.

The main expected results will cover three aspects:

  1. The definition of organisational guidelines for designing a production environment based on a cobot capable of promoting the mental health of workers.
  2. The development of technical indications for the design of a "mental-health-friendly" Cobot and the realization of the MindBot prototype. 
  3. Define an employment model for people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and working in small and medium production companies using Cobots.

 

Learn more about the funded project MindBot.

 

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