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© By Camilla Näsholm

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Inse - Flattening the learning curve

This project was executed in collaboration with SLU and Skogtekniska Klustret. The aim was to develop a User interface feedback system for improved work motivation and performance for forestry machine operators. What struck us the most during our research was the great gap between educational training and real-world working conditions. Newly educated operators are not prepared to be confronted with the difficulties and manage the complicated tasks that they face throughout a work day. This results in a steep learning curve of 2-5 years, which means big costs for forestry companies, or private contractors and most importantly stress and pressure for the young operators, something that affects their performance.

TIMEFRAME     10 weeks

YEAR                  Fall 2016

SCHOOL           Umeå Institute of design

TEAM             Nicole Waniowska & Klio Rapakoulia

MY ROLE

Led all our Interviews, questionnaire  and communication with different stakeholders. Graphics for presentations, movie editing, audio editing

CREDITS

To my Team. To Lena Jonsson, Skogstekniska Klustret. To our extremely engaged and collaborative Machine Operators.

TOOLS              

Ethnographic research, Shadowing and Semi-structured Interviews. Mapping out Challenges and Opportunities. Questionnaire at forestry forums. Co-creations workshops. User-testing. Wizard of oz. Legacy stories. User Journey / Task analysis. Ideation workshops.

INSE

In this project we are proposing a new service toolkit, aimed at supporting young operators in their decision making process by providing them with useful information at a relevant time to enable them to make informed choices and also help them navigate the forest more easily. The toolkit consists of three different parts; an HUD GUI, a CUI and a TLS system.

We all remember when we learned how to ride the bicycle, it was a wiggly and hard skill to gain. If we got to use training wheels, the experience was quicker, less stressful and a lot safer. The system of INSE is for us like those training wheels but for newly educated forestry machine operators. Its aim is to shorten the learning curve, make the introduction to professional work less stressful and more efficient.

WHO WILL BENEFIT

Firstly the new operators will have a less stressful learning process once out working, catching up with what they need to know more efficiently. The transition from school to industry work will be smoother as they still have support like they did in school. We also see that schools could benefit from using this system during the few hours that the students actually get to spend in the machine and forest. Potential employers could save money as the learning curve won’t be as steep and thereby not take as long time. The efficiency goal for a machine operator will be reached faster and have greater economic return. Inse also informs about safety aspect and this may reduce stress for the contractor as they let a young nervous person out in these big machines. Last but not least, the forest will benefit as ground damage can be reduced as the operators will be recommended routes and loading amounts in relation to the ground stability.

Research

This project had a strong research focus. 6 out of 10 weeks were research, and the remaining 4 weeks consisted of Ideation, testing, and making of concept movie. Some of the tools we used were, Ethnographic research, Shadowing and Semi-structured Interviews. Mapping out Challenges and Opportunities. Questionnaire at forestry forums. Co-creations workshops. User-testing. Wizard of oz. Legacy stories. User Journey / Task analysis. Ideation workshops.

Throughout our research we had the great opportunity to go on three field trips to the forest where we got to have semi-structured interviews, ride with the operators and shadow them for hours. We got to visit and talk to a Production Manager at a big Forestry company, the Planner, the manufacturers of forestry machines and an in-depth explanation of their GUI and system functionality.

All material we gathered form our field trip was boiled down to Legacy Stories. Simultaneously we posted Questionnaires at two of Sweden's biggest Forestry forums and were overwhelmed with the response. From all this information we started a Task-Analysis, even including the operators spare time and commuting to and from work to really understand their life's. Eventually we started mapping out challenges and opportunities.

In order for us to validate if we have understood things correctly and to invite our stakeholders into our creative process we held several Co-creation Workshop and Ideation workshops. In the final stages we also concluded User-testing with Wizard of oz technique.

IDEATION

From our research findings we decided to focus on education and knowledge. We had observed that there is little support for new operators and we wanted to address this problem. Our first idea was to create a knowledge exchange tool using experienced operators as knowledge source. In the ideation phase we saw that a much more interesting and promising idea was to use the machine and technology as a support tool. After evaluation of human to human vs. Machine to human knowledge exchange we decided to continue with human - machine connection and wanted it to be a modern version of the traditional apprentice - master relationship. We generated 3 concepts that each was based on a different technology and was giving support in different ways.1. Drone providing information about terrain from sensors and cameras. 2. VR glasses teaching maneuvering the machine through visual guidance. 3. Tactile feedback in joystick guiding in right maneuvering the crane. We tested our three concept with the help of storyboards and enacted One shot videos with our experts. From the feedback we got combined with factors like feasibility, time and resources, we decided to refine our first concept The drone. Instead of a drone we decided to add more senses to the existing machine with the focus on providing the young driver with knowledge that is not gained by him at school - knowledge about terrain and forest. After discussing our final concept with Experienced Operators it became clear that this information we want to provide is not only Useful for a newly educated Operator but also for the experienced Operator. This was a great feedback and we see that this could be a future development possibility.

What if the machine could sense its environment beyond what a human can and communicate this to the Operator?

Final functions

Ground Information

Thanks to Terrain Laser scanning Inse can provides information about the ground stability in order to avoid any ground damage.

 

Log Information

The harvester already collects the data of what logs are where and what type of wood they are. This data is shared with the forwarder and allows them to have a much better and faster workflow.

 

Orientation

The existing map data is combined with Inses intelligent system and may let the Operator know what route is the fastest in regards to the terrain but also in regards to ground stability.

 

Safety

Heat and movement sensors increase the safety around changing shifts and unloading on a public road dramatically. Any approaching human or car will be notified to the Operator.

Ground Information

Thanks to Terrain Laser scanning Inse can provides information about the ground stability in order to avoid any ground damage.

 

Log Information

The harvester already collects the data of what logs are where and what type of wood they are. This data is shared with the forwarder and allows them to have a much better and faster workflow.

 

Orientation

The existing map data is combined with Inses intelligent system and may let the Operator know what route is the fastest in regards to the terrain but also in regards to ground stability.

 

Safety

Heat and movement sensors increase the safety around changing shifts and unloading on a public road dramatically. Any approaching human or car will be notified to the Operator.

HUD USER INTERFACE

The design of the HUD UI was an individual task at the end of the project.

COLOR

As the window these graphics are projected onto is transparent, the outside colors, lightning and context is influencing how visible the graphics are.

 

Inses context is inside the forest in a country with 4 seasons. For example, The winter forbids any white colors in the HUD as they would have very low visibility. 

 

I have chosen bright and to this context very unnatural colors to make them visible during all seasons, in any weather, day or night 

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DESIGN

The graphics may become blurred or pixelated as much movement occurs within the cabin and as the persons head position is constantly changing graphics may be experienced skewed for the observer at certain points.

 

Numbers and text should be avoided to the highest extent as well as intricate graphics with many small details.

 

These are the reasons why I designed minimal and simple graphics.