Visual and Auditory Displays for Human-Machine Interaction

Prof. Dr. Gunnar Johannsen

University of Kassel, Germany

November 13, 2000 11 am.

This presentation will report on research for human-machine interaction in indus trial, transportation, and service systems. Both visual and auditory displays ar e considered as well as co-operative work.

The more traditional topological visualizations can be supplemented by functiona l displays and knowledge support - based on cognitive systems engineering approa ches, including task and knowledge analyses, participative design, and usability testing. Functional interfaces are created with an abstraction hierarchy of mean s-ends views of the technical system. In these views, the ends are the goals whi ch must be accomplished, and the means are the functions which are available to reach the goals. Goal-oriented visualizations (such as the MFM - Multilevel Flow Modeling and EID - Ecological Interface Design approaches) and user-oriented vis ualizations (such as a multimodel-based approach with casual relations and fuzzy functionalities) have been developed. These approaches have to be integrated wit h the more traditional topological visualizations of today's industrial and serv ice systems.

The possibilities of multimedia technologies for supporting several human sensor y modalities in multimedia process supervision and control applications of indus trial, transportation, and medical systems have been explored. Auditory displays have been developed for mobile service robots ( as an example application). The idea is to combine relevant original noise signals of robot movements with basic musical elements to intelligible auditory symbols. This goes far beyond the inve stigation of only auditory warning displays. Robots communicate their actual pos itions, movements and intentions as well as failures and related warnings by mea ns of non-speech audio symbolic expressions to the human. Several experiments ha ve been performed. Human subjects have to learn, understand and recall auditory symbols with related meanings about spatial orientation and directional movement s. Further, intelligible auditory symbols and sound tracks have been presented i n a supermarket scenario with the simulated environment of mobile service robots . Intended trajectories and robot states such as moving-straight, moving-curved, heavy load, near-obstacle, low battery, and waiting are communicated by the robo t to the human. The rich body of knowledge from music theory as well as from aud itory science and sound engineering is exploited.

An example for supporting co-operative work has been investigated. It deals with apron control and resource management on airports.

Brief CV

1982-present: Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Kassel University
1967: Dipl.-Ing. in communication and information engineering (Dept. of Electric al Engineering)
1971: Dr.-Ing. in flight guidance and manual control (Dept. of Transport), the T echnical University of Berlin
1971-82: head, Research Institute for Human Engineering (FGAN-FAT), Germany


1977-78: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
1995: Kyoto Institute of Technology and Kyoto University, Japan
1999: Technical University of Vienna, Austria


Human-Machine Systems; Springer-Verlag, Berlin 1993
Monitoring Behavior and Supervisory Control, G. Johannsen, T.B. Sheridan eds., Plenum Press, New York 1976

Research Interests:

analysis, design, and evaluation of human-machine systems, human-centered design methods, cognitive systems engineering, graphical, auditory, and multimedia user interfaces, audio and music technologies, decision support systems, knowledge en gineering and processing techniques (expert systems, neural networks, fuzzy logi c, data mining), and co-operative work - in such application domains as vehicle and process control, telematics, and information logistics

This page is maintained by InYoung Kim (
Last update: November 13, 2000