Colloquium Cognitive Systems

Human-Robot Interaction @ Work

Prof. Dr. Verena Nitsch (RWTH Aachen)


Abstract. Since the introduction of the first industrial robot in 1961 at a General Motors factory in New Jersey, robots have been used for decades as programmable multi-purpose handling devices. They were standing at fixed workplaces and only functioned in a structured, controlled environment. Thanks to numerous innovations in sensor technology and software development, robots are now increasingly able to plan complex tasks in unknown environments, learn from experience and adapt to changes in the environment. The greatest challenges in robotics now lie in the development of robot skills that enable robots to work effectively in close cooperation with humans. How should robots look, behave and communicate with us? Should robots express emotions? What are our expectations of robot behavior at work? The talk will address these questions and discuss recent research as well as future visions of human-robot interaction at the workplace.

Bio. Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing.Verena Nitsch holds a chair and is head of the Institute of Industrial Engineering and Ergonomics at the RWTH Aachen University since June 2018. Her research interests include human-centred approaches to human-machine interface design and the analysis of the impact of new technologies on employees and work processes.

After studying Applied Psychology at Charles Sturt University in Australia and the University of Central Lancashire in the UK, she completed her Master's degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology at Manchester Business School.  From 2008 to 2013, she worked as a research assistant at the Human Factors Institute at the University of the Bundeswehr, Munich, where she received her Doctorate of Engineering in 2012, was appointed assistant professor of Cognitive Ergonomics in October 2013 and subsequently professor of Human-Machine Integration in 2016.