Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A helping (Sens)Hand

11.04.2018

How smart technology can help with manual load handling

Due to mechanization and automation the amount of physical load work has been progressively reduced. Yet for those working in intralogistics, the manual handling of material is still very much part of the job. Partners in the “SensHand” project, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), have developed a prototype glove designed to help pickers.


Prototype designed in the "SensHand" project

Photo: Ludmilla Parsyak, © denis_smirnov – stock.adobe.com/Fraunhofer IAO

As a rule, typical loads in distribution and postal logistics weigh less than the critical threshold of 12 kilograms. Yet it is the high frequency with which workers have to handle such loads that can stretch them to their limits.

Workers in logistics are therefore at an increased risk of chronic and degenerative musculoskeletal conditions. High levels of work-related absenteeism are the result, thus making it difficult to be flexible in the deployment of personnel. Furthermore, it is becoming increasingly difficult to recruit capable people to work in the field of intralogistics.

The work aids currently available – such as powered pulley systems – have so far failed to prove their worth in everyday operations. Their static nature and nonintuitive operability has hindered their acceptance among workers. At the end of the day, a human employee is much more skillful than almost any lifting aid.

SensHand: intuitive human-machine interaction

A research consortium from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) “SensHand” project has come up with a multimodal, lifting system that combines human coordination with the power and the endurance of a mechanical system. Designed to assist workers with the manual handling of loads, this intuitively operable, power-transmitting sensor glove features pressure, flex and position sensors that enable gesture-based control of the power-assisted lifting system. The fact that it is intuitively operable will ease acceptance among workers.

Ergonomics experts from the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO are working on several aspects of the project. These include the development of a reliable method of transmitting force from the pulley cable to the glove in a way that does not impair the user’s freedom of movement in any way. Functional tests and final product validation were carried out on a specially constructed test stand with a pulley system, an electric drive and control system. The result was a power-assisted glove.

As Dr. Martin Braun, who headed the project on behalf of Fraunhofer IAO, explains: “Our prototype sensor glove not only meets physiological and mechanical specifications, thereby avoiding factors that trigger pain and ensuring the safety of the person using it, but also responds to the integrated sensors.”

In a series of real-life tests, Fraunhofer IAO then demonstrated the sensor glove’s functionality and its ease of use. People who tried it out verify that it is a very suitable solution. “It’s not at the marketable stage yet, but a number of company representatives have told us that they see major potential and benefits in the SensHand system,” Braun says.

SensHand
The joint research project “Innovative interfaces between humans and technology: development, construction and verification of an intelligent glove for the manual handling of light loads” (also known as “SensHand”) was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), under the project number V4ISS056. Technical supervision was provided by the project coordinator VDI/VDE Innovation + Technik.

Project partners
J. Schmalz GmbH (coordinator)
Alfa-Rotec GmbH
ATS Elektronik GmbH
German Institutes of Textile and Fiber Research Denkendorf (DITF)
Fraunhofer IAO

Contact
Dr. Martin Braun
Human Factors Engineering
Fraunhofer IAO
Nobelstraße 12
70569 Stuttgart
Phone +49 711 970-2176
martin.braun@iao.fraunhofer.de

Juliane Segedi | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

More articles from Transportation and Logistics:

nachricht Algorithms for optimized supply chains: Cost-effective ways to minimize risks in the supply chain
01.07.2020 | Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM

nachricht German-British Research project for even more climate protection in the rail industry
28.05.2020 | Technische Universität Dresden

All articles from Transportation and Logistics >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electrons in the fast lane

Solar cells based on perovskite compounds could soon make electricity generation from sunlight even more efficient and cheaper. The laboratory efficiency of these perovskite solar cells already exceeds that of the well-known silicon solar cells. An international team led by Stefan Weber from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz has found microscopic structures in perovskite crystals that can guide the charge transport in the solar cell. Clever alignment of these "electron highways" could make perovskite solar cells even more powerful.

Solar cells convert sunlight into electricity. During this process, the electrons of the material inside the cell absorb the energy of the light....

Im Focus: The lightest electromagnetic shielding material in the world

Empa researchers have succeeded in applying aerogels to microelectronics: Aerogels based on cellulose nanofibers can effectively shield electromagnetic radiation over a wide frequency range – and they are unrivalled in terms of weight.

Electric motors and electronic devices generate electromagnetic fields that sometimes have to be shielded in order not to affect neighboring electronic...

Im Focus: Gentle wall contact – the right scenario for a fusion power plant

Quasi-continuous power exhaust developed as a wall-friendly method on ASDEX Upgrade

A promising operating mode for the plasma of a future power plant has been developed at the ASDEX Upgrade fusion device at Max Planck Institute for Plasma...

Im Focus: ILA Goes Digital – Automation & Production Technology for Adaptable Aircraft Production

Live event – July 1, 2020 - 11:00 to 11:45 (CET)
"Automation in Aerospace Industry @ Fraunhofer IFAM"

The Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM l Stade is presenting its forward-looking R&D portfolio for the first time at...

Im Focus: AI monitoring of laser welding processes - X-ray vision and eavesdropping ensure quality

With an X-ray experiment at the European Synchrotron ESRF in Grenoble (France), Empa researchers were able to demonstrate how well their real-time acoustic monitoring of laser weld seams works. With almost 90 percent reliability, they detected the formation of unwanted pores that impair the quality of weld seams. Thanks to a special evaluation method based on artificial intelligence (AI), the detection process is completed in just 70 milliseconds.

Laser welding is a process suitable for joining metals and thermoplastics. It has become particularly well established in highly automated production, for...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International conference QuApps shows status quo of quantum technology

02.07.2020 | Event News

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Same Time, Virtual Format, Registration Opened

19.05.2020 | Event News

Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium AWK'21 will take place on June 10 and 11, 2021

07.04.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rising water temperatures could endanger the mating of many fish species

03.07.2020 | Life Sciences

Risk of infection with COVID-19 from singing: First results of aerosol study with the Bavarian Radio Chorus

03.07.2020 | Studies and Analyses

Efficient, Economical and Aesthetic: Researchers Build Electrodes from Leaves

03.07.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>