Very often, the experts mentioned the input of measured tool data as an excellent example of a speech driven, task oriented human-machine communication. In addition to measuring some characteristical points of the finished workpiece, the operator measures in between operating steps to protect further processing. From measuring the specified positions and calculating the difference to the nominal size, the tool data is derived. This working sequence takes several steps and navigation activities in function oriented HMI'S. With the HMI targeted here, the user would just say e.g. "Change length correction of actual tool to 0.04", while measuring the next point. The speaking of this one sentence is the perfect description of the task to do: the machine is intelligent enough to know which is the "actual tool" and processes all information provided without the necessity of navigation within the menu tree.
The user investigation described here proves that the combination of task orientation and speech processing is a promising way for improving HMI's in manufacturing. Future work will concentrate on defining dialogue structures, vocabulary and grammar in detail for NC lathes with handling systems. This work will be carried out with a continuing strong participation of the end users.
A big challenge with the targeted speech controlled system is the occurrence of recognition errors. For this reason the user has to understand the limitations of a speech recognizer. The user should not get the impression that he is the reason for troubles. Therefore the technical system has to be adapted to the work station and the user itself. Noise robustness, dialogue design and task orientation could help a lot to reach that goal.
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