The industry of the future is socially networked

Jana Jost develops a revolutionary, interactive and autonomous transport vehicle for Industry 4.0 at the Fraunhofer Institute

The world of work of the future is the social networked industry. Intelligent devices such as data glasses or tablets increasingly enable employees to interact with intelligent and networked machines. In this way, social networks arise in the modern world of work that connect people and technology in an innovative way to form a team – including in the Metropolis Ruhr.

For this exciting field of industry, Jana Jost invented an ergonomic, mobile, interactive load carrier for intralogistics, called Emili for short, together with two colleagues at the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics (IML). The self-driving transport box enables intuitive communication between the person and the machine. It can be steered, beckoned or sent away using gestures. This works via wearables – small, wearable computer systems in the form of an intelligent bracelet, for example. Alternatively, Emili can also be controlled via smartphone, tablet or smart glasses. Through a facial expression in her display, she can communicate to people whether she’s doing well, whether she’s busy or whether something is wrong and she needs support. Industry 4.0, in particular, demands natural interaction possibilities such as these, since technical systems are becoming ever more complex, but should still remain easy to operate.

The young scientist Jana Jost stands for the new generation of researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute in Dortmund. It not only promotes women in science, but also offers start-up options for innovative ideas up to the spin-off or new foundation. In the development of driverless transport vehicles and robots for order picking or assembly, the Fraunhofer Institute is the leader as the world’s largest logistics centre with decades of experience.