The IPH Future Award 2020 goes to Viktor Schell

Viktor Schell with Dr. Malte Stonis at the presentation of the IPH Future Award 2020. (Photo: Denise Wullfen, IPH)

IPH | How can Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) be controlled with gestures only? Viktor Schell dealt with this question at the end of his mechanical engineering studies. He received the IPH Future Award 2020 for his master thesis.

Self-explanatory and intuitive, practically usable by everyone - this is how the ideal control system should look like. In order to implement this, the master's student researched how a user can use data glasses to get an AGV to avoid an obstacle, for example.

At the end of his mechanical engineering studies, Viktor Schell wanted to gain further experience in research and work out "something interesting". Ideally, IPH was still looking for support in a research project at that time. So the engineer, then still a student at the Leibniz University Hannover, became part of the research project "Mobile Human-Machine Interaction for Commissioning and Control of Automated Guided Vehicles" (MobiMMI). He was particularly interested in working with Augmented Reality and IPH's own data glasses, which enable the user to display interactive 3D projections in the direct environment.

The goal for Schell was to develop an intuitive control for an Automated Guided Vehicle. Thereby a control of the AGV via gestures should be used to avoid language barriers and to make the control as easy as possible. The engineer, who now researches in the medical-technical field, concentrated on gestures that can be performed by hand. Which hand gestures make sense? What can the AGV actually do? Which control commands are necessary? To find out, the master student designed several models. This was followed by a survey of the engineers, the results of which finally led him to decide on a concept.

Obstacle course for AGV

But how do you implement this concept? Schell developed an application that allowed the data glasses to communicate with the AGV. When the data glasses are put on, the user is shown a hologram, similar to a joystick. With the help of this image, it is possible to steer the Automated Guided Vehicle through the hall with a perfect fit. Schell wrote the algorithms for this so that the glasses could also transmit the received data to the vehicle.

This worked very well for Schell, but was the control system as intuitive and easy to use as desired by others? To find out, Schell had several IPH engineers control the Automated Guided Vehicle using data glasses - but without anyone knowing the app developed by Schell. For the test, he had set up a course in which the vehicle had to pick up a load, take curves, place a load and drive around an obstacle - all with the control system controlled by the engineers' hands. This worked, and already on the second run, the student could see clear progress in the operation.

IPH managing director Dr. Malte Stonis praises the high quality of Schell's work and his systematic approach: "Thanks to his excellent work, Automated Guided Vehicle can now be controlled simply by gestures using AR glasses".

IPH Future Award in 2021

Schell says that he enjoyed working with it a lot: "Above all, working with new technologies was very appealing". Since 2016, IPH has been awarding prizes for the best student thesis every year. All students who write their bachelor or master thesis at IPH and submit it to the faculty by September 30 at the latest can participate.

by Denise Wullfen

Image gallery for this article

  • Viktor Schell with Dr. Malte Stonis at the presentation of the IPH Future Award 2020. (Photo: Denise Wullfen, IPH)
  • Controlling the AGV by gestures: Viktor Schell with data glasses. (Photo: Beatrix Kamlage, IPH)
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