AS ELECTRONIC DEVICES BECOME more complex, user interfaces must become easier to understand and use, according to Jeffrey M. Gerth, a senior research scientist at the Georgia Tech Research Institute. He is currently developing interfaces to help operators better handle and troubleshoot production jobs.
"The job of operators is to monitor machines so they're in constant operation," says Gerth. "If production stops or isn't going as fast as intended, then a manufacturer is losing money."
Gerth's latest project involves DEK, an international machine manufacturer headquartered in Weymouth, England. He has improved the user interface on screen printers that DEK produces for the circuit-board and electronicsassembly industries.
The redesigned interface, dubbed Instinctiv, is reportedly easier to use than DEK's previous text-based interface. Its graphic display reduces language dependency, which is important for an international player like DEK. Instinctiv also helps operators take independent and appropriate action rather than call on process engineers.