Design Challenge - September 2013

Jouko Polojärvi - Hi-Viz, Low Data

Jouko PolojärviModern machines are increasingly electronically controlled, yet their basic layout and construction is still based around traditional mechanical-style control concepts.

So in this concept, we investigated the kinds of functional applications and technologies that are currently at the beta stage, and the influence they might have on heavy machinery design. Our approach concentrated on two main trends in cabin development: information and visibility (not forgetting the need to improve the ergonomics and productivity of the operator).

Today’s machines are communicating wirelessly – the amount of data about the machine and the surrounding infrastructure and fleet is immense. Future machines must therefore be able to identify frequently performed tasks with individual operators while providing only the information specific to the operator needs for those current tasks.

Displays and touchscreens will adapt to that data with, for example, OLED technology enabling flexible, ‘see-through’ displays (information spots) in cabins. Although major critical operations and symbols for them will be guided by the authorities, some areas of the user interface (UI) can be customised by the users or owners of the machines, e.g. BYOD (bring your own device). Once an operator is recognised by the machine, seat, lightning, audio and UI adjustments are reset to personal defaults. When a frequently performed task is identified, the cabin settings and suspension characteristics of the machine can be optimised accordingly.

Visibility has always been a major driver in cabin development. General safety requirements of structures will not decrease, so future visibility issues will be mainly improved by adopting new materials for structures and by using existing technology – such as real-time scanning and cameras – to display items behind masking structures to the driver.

Lightweight materials will be used to decrease vehicle weight for some applications and the required ROPS loads for cabins, leading to smaller structures in their frames. This approach is also used in the door structure, where the design of the storage compartments acts as reinforcement, replacing the need for separate steel structure.

A more drastic approach to improving visibility involves the use of new materials such as carbon fibre and metal matrix composites that enable engineers to make frames more ‘see-through’ by using truss structures.

The use of gesture-recognition solutions (armbands and gloves, etc) to control some of the operations reduces the size and the amount of control panels required, which further improves visibility. It is unlikely that legislation will allow all the operations to be controlled by gestures or eye movements, however, so joysticks are still included. Anti-reflection coatings are used for glass surfaces susceptible to reflections – a concept that enables the use of double-layer polycarbonate sheets in applications where preventing fogging is a must.

More images from Jouko Polojärvi

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HI-VIZ, LOW DATA / Jouko Polojärvi HI-VIZ, LOW DATA / Jouko Polojärvi HI-VIZ, LOW DATA / Jouko Polojärvi HI-VIZ, LOW DATA / Jouko Polojärvi



Elomatic R&D Services

Jouko Polojärvi (design manager) and Matteo Onofri (art designer) work for Elomatic R&D Services, a team of industrial designers, art designers, ergonomics and usability experts serving Finnish off-highway vehicle OEMs





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