“Workmates of Indumental, Gaiker and Tecnalia interacted with a Mixed Reality environment working with a collaborative robot in WEEE recycling domain”
The romantic idea that emotions are born from the heart has been a curious way of expressing that thoughts and emotions are elements that coexist separately, that is, the brain and the heart seen as unconnected organs.
Today and thanks to Neuroscience (a scientific specialty that is dedicated to the comprehensive study of the nervous system, its functions, structure and other aspects that help explain various characteristics of behaviour and cognitive processes), theories such as “neither emotions they are exclusively of the heart, nor does reason alone reside in the brain” take on special relevance. What Neuroscience shows us is that cognition and emotion are closely linked, they are two sides of the same coin and have their residence in our nervous system.
A group of researchers in Tecnalia have created a laboratory dedicated to studying User Experience (UX) and Human Factors (HF), in order to take into account other emotions as an innovative aspect not considered until now. With this, they intend to provide objectivity to the data in the analysis of interactions and abstract emotional and cognitive processes.
Tecnalia’s Human Factors & User Experience laboratory integrates different devices (dry and wet EEG systems, sensors to measure the galvanic response of the skin and heart rate, eye-tracking glasses, indoor GPS system …) that allow the measurement (accurately and non-invasively) of psycho-physiological signals of a person when exposed to diverse external stimuli. Thus, the UX & HF laboratory goes one step further in the usual process of a user experience study (for example, surveys, focus groups, interviews, thinking aloud, etc.). Instead of asking the user or observing him/her when the person uses a product or service to know how the experience has been, with our laboratory technology we measure what the nervous system tells us by presenting him/her with different stimuli and thus obtaining objective data, avoiding biases derived from the subjective observation of the interviewer, of the subjective assessment of the respondent, and even of their own emotions.
Specifically, Tecnalia researchers have reproduced in a Virtual (Mixed) Reality environment the process of disassembling a PC tower (collaboratively with a robot that helps them in certain tasks), in such a way that the participant in the experiment has actually been able to “feel” that it was physically touching the PC components in the disassembly process. About 50 people from the consortium companies (Indumetal, Gaiker and Tecnalia) have passed through the experiment for two weeks. All of them have been monitored and asked to repeat the process, with slight variations in the behaviour of the collaborative robot (for example, robot malfunction and robot speed).
This Mixed Reality experiment has replicated the layout of a Human-Robot collaborative workstation of a WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) recycling plant. The participants have been asked to perform the same activities as the workers on the real plant and the virtual robots have interacted with them on the same reality basics. However, during the experiments, sometimes robots will behave differently, and the psychophysiological response of the participant has been registered.