Human-Centered Cyber-Physical Systems

The term cyber-physical systems (CPS) refers to the merging of IT and the real world and therefore lies in the intersection of various engineering disciplines (mechanical, electrical, construction and informatics). Cyber-physical systems form the basis for many modern systems, as machines need to gain an understanding of the real world in order to be able to influence it by way of actuator technology. This creates a feedback loop that determines how our digitalized environment will behave in the future.

Human-centered cyber-physical systems (HCPS) involve the human operator in this feedback loop. This means that the system influences the user and vice-versa. Psychological investigation methods are then used to assess how a person will behave in this kind of environment. Using empirical data and models, we can predict how complex HCPS will behave.

Research into HCPS is providing the basis for many innovative applications. New approaches involving sensor technology are being investigated. The Faculty is already hosting cooperative projects in the area of high bit-rate wireless technology for the fifth generation of mobile technology networks and the networking of the Internet of Things, and some of these projects are attracting attention in the international scientific community. In the key area of HCPS, picture recognition and vehicle sensor technology are being researched alongside intelligent building technology. The real-world information thus received is fed into IT systems, where its usability in terms of security, privacy, quality and availability is assessed. In the area of actuator technology, research is being conducted into how knowledge of the real world can be used in order to make meaningful interventions. This involves areas such as driverless vehicles and robotics as well as psychological investigation into the man-machine interface. In the field of medical technology and beyond, the Faculty is already home to some close working relationships. The Erwin L. Hahn Institute and Fraunhofer's inHaus2 center are providing the infrastructure to evaluate the technical systems and usage scenarios being developed.

Thanks to its structure, the Faculty is the ideal location for HCPS work, because this is where communications, adaptronics, psychology, IT and regulation, sensor, actuator and environmental technology all come together.  The question of how a human-centered cyber-physical environment can be built and managed using scientific engineering methods can only be answered by the interplay of these disciplines.