26 March 2012

Natural User Interface and the Power of a Gesture


Although it sounds like something of science fiction, natural user interfaces have what advanced discrete manufacturing needs to move into the future. From gesture-based controls to retinal scans, the benefits of NUI are evident.

Although different, this approach isn’t something from a science fiction movie – it’s in the works right now. On EE Times, Rakesh Kumar wrote a fascinating post on NUI and how it benefits advanced discrete manufacturing.

Kumar writes:

Manufacturing workers are on the verge of replacing the mouse-and-keyboard-based graphical user interface (GUI) with newer options. Already, touchscreens are making great inroads into manufacturing. And in many locations, the adoption of other natural user interfaces (NUIs) is expanding to incorporate eye scans, fingerprint scans and gesture recognition.”

By implementing natural user interfaces, advanced discrete manufacturing will see improved cost savings, productivity increases and added revenue to the bottom-line. To this, Kumar goes on some key points that lead into these benefits, utilizing NUI:

  • Improved security: Instead of entering a user-id and password, a worker uses a retinal scan for identification. Because the worker uses their eye as a login, the possibility of stolen passwords, mistyped credentials or additional time consumed memorizing information are avoided.

  • Gestures: With a simple motion of their hand, a worker can start, stop or otherwise interact with machinery on the floor. With additional voice recognition, the worker can confirm their actions to the system.

  • Safeguards: To avoid the confusion of multiple operators, the system will key in only to the person scanned into the system. The machine will only respond to that person’s voice and gestures. If the worker leaves their station, the system can shut down automatically to avoid any undue actions from anyone not authorized at that time.

To advance the points in relation to benefits that tie into business goals, Kumar points out a few options:

  • Productivity and safety– For workers that must wear gloves, they no longer need to remove them to operate a keyboard. With NUI, a simple gesture can operate the system, which leads to faster throughput and increased safety in the workplace.

  • Cost savings – For work areas that collect considerable dust, dirt and grease, touch screens can become smudged, hard to read and have technical difficulties. With gestures through NUI, computers are physically touched less, remain cleaner – this reduces the costs for cleaning and servicing systems. This also cuts down on costs for unnecessary accessories, such as keywords.

Using NUI, advanced discrete manufacturing will not only see a cost savings, it will see increased productivity and shorter times to production by removing unneeded processes, security risks and safety hazards. So, don’t believe these types of technologies only happen in a science fiction novel, you may see them sooner than you think.

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Luciano Cunha
Luciano Cunha,
Luciano Cunha,
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