Assessing Cognitive Workload in Human-Robot Collaboration and Cooperative Assembly Systems

Collaborative robotics is a vital technology in Industry 4.0, particularly in the rapidly expanding market of collaborative assembly. This area of industrial human-robot interaction (HRI) not only focuses on mechanical safety but increasingly recognizes the importance of cognitive ergonomics and human factors, which are critical for operator safety, well-being, and performance. Addressing these aspects requires a human-centered approach to developing Collaborative Assembly Systems (CASs), highlighting the need for interdisciplinary research.

The project PromentorHR  aims to enhance human factors in industrial HRI by developing and validating a new cognitive workload (CWL) assessment method, building on the Cognitive Load Assessment for Manufacturing model (CLAM) proposed by Thorvald et al. in 2017. The updated method, named “ProMentoHR,” seeks to minimize subjective biases in CAS design and specifically address how design elements affect operator CWL.

Additionally, the project will develop a practical tool based on the enhanced CLAM methodology, intended for use by assembly system experts who may not specialize in human factors. This tool will undergo experimental validation through a case study in a realistic setting, ensuring it effectively integrates cognitive requirements into human-centered CASs.

ProMentoHR aims to improve operators’ working conditions, safety, and well-being, while also enhancing production performance. The project will utilize both qualitative and quantitative methods and maintain a user-centered design approach. Feedback and recommendations will be collected through surveys and interviews with experts in manufacturing systems, robotics, and human factors. This input will inform the development of the methodology and the integration of cognitive ergonomics into CAS features and HRI patterns.

Ultimately, the project focuses on advancing theoretical understanding and practical applications of how operators’ CWL can be managed in manufacturing settings, aiming to improve worker conditions and optimize the effectiveness of collaborative robotics in industrial environments.

News Release: Delphi Study Started with Prominent Expert Participation

June 4, 2024

We are excited to announce the launch of our highly anticipated Delphi Study, which has officially begun its first round of expert evaluation. This study aims to refine and validate our innovative Cognitive Workload assessment tool, and we are honored to have a distinguished panel of experts from various prestigious institutions participating in this critical phase of research.

As of today, fifteen esteemed professionals from diverse fields have begun evaluating our assessment tool. Their expertise and insights from their respective domains are invaluable in ensuring the tool’s accuracy, relevance, and effectiveness.

The participation of experts from various institutions underscores the collaborative nature of this study and highlights the importance of interdisciplinary approaches when facing complex challenges. The results of this Delphi Study will not only advance our assessment tool but also contribute to the broader body of knowledge in the field of industrial HRI.

We extend our gratitude to all participating experts for their time, effort, and commitment to this study.

Further updates on the progress of the Delphi Study will be shared as we move through the subsequent rounds. We look forward to the continued collaboration and the valuable insights that will emerge from this process.

News Release: The ProMentoHR Delphi Methodology - The 1° Round Process

May 28, 2024

Thanks to the Delphi Study methodology, experts in the Human Factors, Human-Robot Collaboration and Industrial Engineering fields are going to contribute to the development of a new Cognitive Workload assessment tool in the context of industrial collaborative assembly systems.
The process began by crafting a comprehensive questionnaire aimed at eliciting a broad range of insights and opinions. This initial survey, which will be distributed electronically, comprises open-ended questions designed to gather diverse perspectives.
Additionally, the online format facilitates efficient data collection and allows for a geographically dispersed group of experts to participate, ensuring a rich and varied pool of knowledge.

The expert panel, selected for their extensive knowledge and experience, will be asked to provide detailed responses based on their individual expertise. The primary goal of this round is to collect a wide array of qualitative data, identifying common themes, potential challenges, and innovative ideas. This information serves as the foundation for subsequent rounds, where these insights will be analyzed and refined through iterative feedback, ultimately converging towards a consensus.
This iterative process will allow the refinement of the assessment tool based on the constructive feedback received. The ultimate goal is to achieve a high level of agreement among the experts, ensuring that the final tool is a comprehensive and reliable measure for the assessment of cognitive workload in collaborative assembly systems.

  • ProMentoHR

  • Human Factors, Risk and Safety - Research Unit


Marco De Angelis

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Bologna

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Luca Gualtieri

Assistant Professor
Faculty of Engineering - Institute for Industrial and Energy Engineering
Free University of Bozen

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Alena Mezentseva

Research Fellow, Department of Psychology, University of Bologna

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Federico Fraboni

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Bologna

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Arianna Rebecca Longo

Research Fellow, Department of Psychology, University of Bologna

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