Solving a Rubik’s Cube with the Help of a Smart Workbench

Bielefeld University to exhibit at 2018 Hannover Trade Fair

Bielefeld University, together with the Cluster of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC) and the Research Institute for Cognition and Robotics (CoR-Lab) will attend the Hannover Messe (Hannover Trade Fair) from 23 to 27 April, where they will showcase an assistive system that willl help visitors learn how to solve a Rubik’s cube. The system can also be used for production processes in assembly work.

A solution in a few easy steps: A smart workbench shows how to solve a Rubik’s cube. Solving a Rubik’s cube in just a few minutes – interested guests can see how this works from 23–27 April at Bielefeld University’s exhibition booth at the Hannover Messe in Hall 16 (Booth A04). The booth is part of a joint exhibition space with the Leading-Edge Cluster it’s OWL (Intelligent Technical Systems in Ostwestfalen-Lippe).

Researchers from Bielefeld University have developed a demonstration scenario that will allow guests to the Hannover Messe to learn how to solve a Rubik’s cube with just a few moves – even without prior experience. “This is an example of how difficult tasks, for example in as-sembly work, can be made easier to perform with the help of a support system,” says Dr.-Ing. Sebastian Wrede, who heads the Cognitive Systems Engineering group.

To solve the Rubik’s cube, trade fair visitors briefly show the assistive system all sides of the cube. A camera records the state of the Rubik’s cube and a solution is calculated using a plan-ning component, which is then translated into a process model. This model codes the neces-sary steps for solving the cube, as well as helpful assistive information. A 3-dimensional pro-jected image then shows how the visitors have to twist the cube. “The special thing with this is that the process is not manually planned in advance – instead, it’s planned automatically. The automatic generation of assistive processes saves a lot of time and can also take into account the individual experience level of the person working,” says Wrede. 

The system is part of the concept of process-integrated assembly support for workers (ProMiMo project). An intelligent workbench recognizes workpieces and explains to workers what they have to do with them. This is needed because the demand for customized solu-tions in factory settings is increasing and there is often a lack of experienced skilled work-ers. With the help of this system, workers can learn how to handle different tasks on their own. “The system should support people as best as possible – not replace them. It is meant to help workers to learn and reduce errors,” says Wrede. This also includes allowing users themselves to give feedback via the interactive system in order to improve work processes.

At the exhibition booth “Digital in NRW – Das Kompetenzzentrum für den Mittelstand“ [Digital in NRW – The Competence Center for the Mittelstand], Dr. Thies Pfeiffer and his team from the Cluster of Excellence CITEC will demonstrate how virtual prototypes can assist in the imple-mentation of assistive systems. In an immerse simulation, visitors will have the chance to try out and assess interactive workplace concepts. This will allow different versions to be tested (for example a version with assistance using smart glasses) and for decisions to be made cost effectively.

Dr.-Ing. Sebastian Wrede develops concepts for flexible assistive systems with his team. Contact:
Dr.-Ing. Sebastian Wrede, Bielefeld University
Telephone: 0521 106-5148

Dr. Thies Pfeiffer, Bielefeld University
Telephone: 0521-106-12373

Johannes Wienke, Bielefeld University
Telephone: 0521-106-67277