Human-Technology Interaction at the IFF

Focus here is the optimization of the direct human-technology interaction in order to prevent damage and harm. We focus on preventive ergonomy and operational safety, especially in the environments of industrie 4.0 but also in medical diagnostics and therapy.  

Research issues of the department are the biomechanical interrelation of the
direct interaction of humans

  • with exoskeletons in the production environment, 
  • exo and endoskeletal structures in    
  • preventive ergonomics and
  • medical diagnostics and therapy.

For this, we work on the foundations of

  • movement, environmental and obstacle detection around the human being,
  • intrinsic human motion kinetics and kinetics and
  • consequences for the improved and novel mechatronic human-technology interaction.


Stuttgart Exo-Jacket in AnyBody Modeling System™
Stuttgart Exo-Jacket in AnyBody Modeling System™

A simulation workflow based on real motion data is built up within the framework of body-worn exoskeleton for partial relief during factory assembly activities. In a musculoskeletal simulation the effects of the exoskeletal solution on the human movement apparatus are examined. This means that validation with regard to kinematics, actuator and control strategy for the exoskeleton can be carried out before the setup and commissioning of the hardware solution.

The scientific work is financed by the
Landesgraduiertenkolleg PROMISE 4.0.

Mark Tröster
Phone +49 711 970-1789

The vision of the Cluster of Excellence Integrative Computer Aided Architectural Design (IntCDC) is to harness the full potential of digital technologies to rethink design, manufacturing and construction based on integration and interdisciplinarity, with the goal of building groundbreaking innovations in the construction sector since this is only possible through highly integrative basic research in an interdisciplinary large-scale research enterprise. The aim of the cluster is to provide the methodological basis for a thorough rethinking of the design and construction process and the related building systems by choosing an integrative calculation approach based on interdisciplinary research results in the fields of architecture, structural design, building physics, engineering geodesy, manufacturing and systems engineering as well as computer science and robotics, social sciences and humanities. The Institute for Industrial Production and Factory Operation IFF is involved in this cluster with a sub-project headed by Prof. Thomas Bauernhansl. It will investigate how human-machine interaction can be improved in cyber-physical technologies for design and prefabrication, particularly in exoskeletons in conjunction with Augmented Reality Glasses (AR), and what are the technical and social requirements for the successful implementation of these new technologies , Cyber-physical systems in construction make special demands on the handling of the split control between human, machine and sensor data. Therefore, we will examine the future requirements of these technologies in terms of education, skills and digital literacy. We will explore how to technically optimize human-machine interfaces and how to address and overcome non-technical barriers to innovation, such as lack of relevant skills and qualifications, and resulting attitudes of mistrust, reservations, or rejections along with fears of loss of control. The aim is to increase the acceptance of the technology and thus to promote its acceptance in society and at the level of everyday working life. The aim is to present an exoskeleton / AR (prototype, overhead mounting) application prototype in the demonstrator, the testing of which will allow various levels of human control and concept development of digital competence under conditions of joint control for the future development of cyber-physical construction.

M.Sc. Jonathan Eckstein
Phone: +49 711 970-3644
E-Mail (IFF)
E-Mail (Fraunhofer IPA)

Cluster Video

Source: YouTube

The use of heavy machinery, huge heating instruments and automatic guided vehicles (AGVs) is considered essential in almost all industries nowadays. Unfortunately, these types of tools and machinery was a main cause of many fatal injuries and even mortality in some cases. Accordingly, radar as an environment and light independent sensor can be used for safety monitoring in indoor and outdoor industrial areas. Nowadays, the current demanding topic which is attracting research in radar technology is Micro-Doppler signatures. The Micro-Doppler signatures are defined as the frequency modulation because of micro-motions in the radar range. By means of such technology many applications in the safety domain can be implemented as detecting humans from limbs motion and vital signs based on Micro-Doppler radar signatures. Sensor fusion can also be considered to insure reliable human detection for all possible use cases.

The main research areas will involve the following:

  • Human detection around dangerous equipment or in robot paths by means of radars and safety sensors fusion.
  • Radar technology in 3D image construction and dimensioning of objects
  • Testing Micro-Doppler effects and signature of humans and machinery

The scientific work is financed by the Landesgraduiertenkolleg PROMISE 4.0.

In cooperation with Prof. Bin Yang

Sherif Abdulatif
Phone.: +49 711 970-1775

In times of Industrie 4.0 there is an ongoing trend towards miniaturized and integrated sensors for real-time data acquisition. Fiber-optic sensors (FOS) enable the measurement of compression and strain along the fiber. They use fiber-bragg gratings, which are written into the fiber. The combination of several sensors makes it possible to detect three-dimensional deformations in a fiber, which itself is only 125 μm in diameter. Several bending sensors can be implemented in one fiber, which enables the spatially distributed detection of movements. Due to advances in the miniaturization of the optical evaluation units, cost-effective overall systems can be produced.

The motion tracking on humans is an important instrument in various areas:

  • Medicine: Monitoring of disease / recovery processes in neurodegenerative diseases   
  • Industry: Analysis of manual work processes for process optimization   
  • Sports: Optimization of movement sequences to increase performance

FOS has a number of advantages:

  • Suitability for long-term measurements since no signaling   
  • Integration into clothing possible   
  • No influencing of movement sequences by interfering sensor packages

The scientific work is funded by the Graduate School GSaME (Graduate School of Excellence Advanced Manufacturing Engineering) within the framework of the Excellence Initiative. The doctoral supervision is provided by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Alexander Verl, Institute Director of the ISW of the University of Stuttgart.

Christopher Riehs
Phone: +49 711 970-1347
E-Mail (IFF)
E-Mail (Fraunhofer IPA)

We are developing a non-invasive, neural-controlled hand-exoskeletal system suitable for everyday use that largely compensates for the loss of autonomy and performance due to paralysis of the hand typically occurring after stroke and high cross-sectional injuries. This will be enabled by integrating state-of-the-art EEG-based BMI technology with artificial, context-sensitive, cognitive systems and intelligent bio-robotics.

The project is funded by the Baden-Württemberg-Foundation in the period from 1 March 2017 to 28 February 2020. The project partners are the Eberhard-Karls University of Tübingen, the University of Stuttgart together with Fraunhofer IPA and the Reutlingen University of Applied Sciences.

In Dec 2018 a patent was issued which is being marketed by the Technologie-Lizenz-Büro (TLB) der Baden-Württembergischen Hochschulen. The press release of TLB was met with very good  resonance.

Here, the links to some reports and interviews

Die Ärztezeitung


mobile zeitgeist

Focus Gesundheit

Bild der Wissenschaft

M.Sc. Jonathan Eckstein
Phone: +49 711 970-3644
E-Mail (IFF)
E-Mail (Fraunhofer IPA)

Department Manager

This picture showsUrs Schneider
Dr. med.

Urs Schneider

Head of Department Human-Machine Interaction

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