Recent years have seen a rise in the use of robotic systems in the workplace, which has increased unease and anxiety among workers (Nomura, Kanda, Suzuki & Kato, 2008). These anxieties may be the result of a lack of trust towards and acceptance of robots as partners in the workplace. With the use of robotics in the industrial market increasing at a rate of 14% through 2019 (Beroe Inc., 2019), it is essential Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) is optimized with regard to the mental and physical wellbeing of employees. Manual assembly tasks demand high precision from workers as they usually involve consistently switching tasks, thus mental workload should be otherwise minimised to enhance performance (Stork & Schubö, 2010). This PhD aims to investigate ways we can optimize Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) in manufacturing scenarios by identifying optimal workspace configurations and interaction modes – optimal in terms of manufacturing performance and human perception and acceptance of robots.
My project is funded by The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
What is your ideal Research outcome?
The ideal research outcome with this PhD is to identify optimal workspace configurations and interaction modes that optimise both human performance and acceptance of robots, resulting in the potential for a decrease of anxiety and unease among workers in the manufacturing industry.
Dr Joost Dessing, Professor Karen Rafferty and Professor Sean McLoone
Why did you choose this PhD and why at Queen's?
I choose this PhD as the interdisciplinary nature of it intrigued me and Queen’s has long been regarded as a top university for research. I am from Northern Ireland and previously completed an Undergraduate Psychology degree at the University of Liverpool and a Masters in Cognitive Science at Umeå University.
How have you been supported at Queen's?
I have been able to complete some training through the Graduate School and have been supported through my PhD by my supervisor.
In what ways have you developed at Queen's?
I have been able to develop my skillset through training both virtual and in person, and have been able to work more on an independent level due to the nature of the PhD.
Can you describe the postgraduate community in the School and at Queen's?
The postgraduate community in the School has been able to organise various seminars and coffee catch-ups (now virtual) that offer a means of socialising with others in the school and taking a break from any academic stress.
Where do you hope your PhD will lead?
I hope my PhD will afford me the opportunity to explore a career in industry.
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