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  • Public defence: 2020-01-28 09:15 Kappa, Västerås
    Ahlberg, Carl
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Embedded Systems.
    Embedded high-resolution stereo-vision of high frame-rate and low latency through FPGA-acceleration2020Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Autonomous agents rely on information from the surrounding environment to act upon. In the array of sensors available, the image sensor is perhaps the most versatile, allowing for detection of colour, size, shape, and depth. For the latter, in a dynamic environment, assuming no a priori knowledge, stereo vision is a commonly adopted technique. How to interpret images, and extract relevant information, is referred to as computer vision. Computer vision, and specifically stereo-vision algorithms, are complex and computationally expensive, already considering a single stereo pair, with results that are, in terms of accuracy, qualitatively difficult to compare. Adding to the challenge is a continuous stream of images, of a high frame rate, and the race of ever increasing image resolutions. In the context of autonomous agents, considerations regarding real-time requirements, embedded/resource limited processing platforms, power consumption, and physical size, further add up to an unarguably challenging problem.

    This thesis aims to achieve embedded high-resolution stereo-vision of high frame-rate and low latency, by approaching the problem from two different angles, hardware and algorithmic development, in a symbiotic relationship. The first contributions of the thesis are the GIMME and GIMME2 embedded vision platforms, which offer hardware accelerated processing through FGPAs, specifically targeting stereo vision, contrary to available COTS systems at the time. The second contribution, toward stereo vision algorithms, is twofold. Firstly, the problem of scalability and the associated disparity range is addressed by proposing a segment-based stereo algorithm. In segment space, matching is independent of image scale, and similarly, disparity range is measured in terms of segments, indicating relatively few hypotheses to cover the entire range of the scene. Secondly, more in line with the conventional stereo correspondence for FPGAs, the Census Transform (CT) has been identified as a recurring cost metric. This thesis proposes an optimisation of the CT through a Genetic Algorithm (GA) - the Genetic Algorithm Census Transform (GACT). The GACT shows promising results for benchmark datasets, compared to established CT methods, while being resource efficient.

  • Public defence: 2020-01-31 13:00 Filen, Verktyget, Eskilstuna
    Lundin, Jonatan
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation. Excosoft.
    Shaping thought through action: A study of the use and design of technical information2020Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This dissertation deals with the design of technical information, such as a user manual for an industrial device, based on the searching and reading behaviour of process operators and maintenance technicians. Such industrial professionals, who use tools like measuring equipment, are sometimes unable to get the support they need from searching and reading in a text- and image-based tool manual in order to perform work tasks. If such a manual is the only available source of information, the user will either give up or attempt a workaround which ends up compromising the safety, quality, satisfaction, efficiency or effectiveness of the work task. Research within technical communication and human-computer interaction suggests how manuals can be designed to support users in accomplishing tasks. These suggestions are based upon studies of how users approach the use of tools and tool manuals, as well as how the design of procedural and declarative information supports users. However, there is limited knowledge about how users search and read manuals, and how manuals can be designed to support such searching and reading behaviour. This dissertation aims to contribute knowledge to technical communicators about how technical information can be designed to support industrial professionals in accomplishing their work tasks. An ethnographic research method was selected to study the behaviour exhibited by process operators and maintenance technicians’ while they search and read sources of information in order to perform work tasks with tools. The results show that some participants were unable to perform a task after searching and reading the manual. The empirical material has been analysed using Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory. This was to gain a deeper understanding of how thought and language influence—and are influenced by—searching and reading behaviours, as well as the task behaviours during tool use. This dissertation's contribution is a design method for technical communicators that will enable them to support users in the shaping of mental representations about what results are possible to accomplish with a tool. The method involves the design of tangible tokens that signify the results and components of a tool. As the end-user arranges these symbols into a result model they are supported in their process of shaping a mental representation.

  • Public defence: 2020-02-13 13:00 Filen, Eskilstuna
    Blackbright, Helena
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Exploring Purposeful use of Innovation Self-assessments2020Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Innovation management is a multidimensional practice characterized by the requirement of a constant renewal to maintain an organization’s relative innovativeness. A practice highly characterized by a requirement to handle uncertainty, risk, and long lead times, which requires an active management of both the prerequisites of today and a yet-undefined future. Therefore, it is of little surprise that the so-called “innovation audits,” with their purpose of direct or indirect improvement are often considered a vital part of innovation management practices. This thesis focuses on the internal self-assessment use of such audits by organizations to self-assess their current state of innovativeness against indicators of good practice or their own prior state. The purpose of such innovation audits is to reveal gaps between the current and desired state, which the organization can use to develop improvement activities.

    Substantial empirical and theoretical research on innovation audits exists, which focuses primarily on the development of the audit itself, but seldom on enacting audits that lead to desired improvements. Much innovation audit research discusses the areas to assess and the development of different types of indicators, statements, and framework, which represents these assessment areas. The problem is that no matter how well the indicators identify possible improvement areas or gaps between current and desired states, it still says very little about integrating retrieved information into activities that actually lead to the desired improvements.

    This thesis takes a process perspective on the undertaking of an innovation self-assessment audit (ISA). Rather than examining what to assess and how to use the result, it focuses on the undertaking of an ISA as an improvement process in itself. The overall objective is to contribute to the understanding of why a purposeful use of ISA emerges (or does not emerge). To this end, this thesis collects empirical data about ISA use and its context from qualitative case studies, involving 14 self-assessment groups from 9 different organizations. The findings from these studies is presented in the six appended papers that address different perspectives on ISA use and contextual prerequisites.

    To better understand why a purposeful use of ISA emerges (or does not), it was necessary to bring the appended papers together and undertake a more focused discussion on ISA use as a process in its entirety. Therefore, this thesis recontextualizes the six appended papers against a new theoretical framework based on theories on processes, complex adaptive systems (CAS), and competence-in-use.

    The theoretical discussion in this thesis offers several contributions. First, by approaching the undertaking of ISA as an improvement process, it focuses on the continuity of the process, which in turn allows a distinction between the execution of the process and the enabling of this execution. Second, the enactment of purposeful use is related to knowledge about the focus area of the assessment (e.g. innovation culture or capabilities) and the current state being assessed. Together, these create the basis for the theorization of a four-dimensional ISA competence-in-use that impacts how ISA can be purposefully enacted. Overall, the main reason why purposeful use emerges (or does not) does not seem to be so much about having a high ISA competence-in-use, as having high correspondence between expectations and competence-in-use.

    Together, this contributes to an increased understanding of why purposeful use emerges (or does not), making this its primary contribution within the field of innovation management. The focus on self-assessment use as an improvement process embedded in the organizational context it intends to improve, does give a more general relevance to the discussion on improvement processes, and the use of self-assessment audits outside the field of innovation management.

    The contribution of this thesis is closely related to the use of ISA and can be used to support the process of planning and undertaking an ISA. This thesis also contributes to knowledge on ISA competence-in-use, which can guide practical choices in undertaking an ISA for more purposeful use.

  • Public defence: 2020-02-14 10:00 Filen, Eskilstuna
    Ore, Fredrik
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Designing workstations for human–industrial robot collaboration: Development and application of simulation software2020Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Human-industrial robot collaboration (HIRC) creates an opportunity for an ideal combination of human senses and industrial robot efficiency. The strength, endurance and accuracy of industrial robots can be combined with human intelligence and flexibility to create workstations with increased productivity, quality and reduced ergonomic load compared with traditional manual workstations. Even though multiple technical developments of industrial robot and safety systems have taken place over the last decade, solutions facilitating HIRC workstation design are still limited. One element in realising an efficient design of a future workstation is a simulation software. Thus the objective of this research is to (1) develop a demonstrator software that simulates, visualises and evaluates HIRC workstations and (2) propose a design process of how to apply such a simulation software in an industrial context.

    The thesis comprises five papers describing the development of a HIRC simulation software and its corresponding design process. Two existing simulation software tools, one for digital human modelling and one for robotic simulation, were merged into one application. Evaluation measures concerning operation time and ergonomic load were included in the common software. Existing engineering design methods were applied in a HIRC workstation context to describe the utilisation of a HIRC simulation software. These developments were demonstrated in five actual industrial cases from a heavy vehicle manufacturing company.

    The HIRC simulation software developed enables simulation, visualisation and evaluation of all kinds of HIRC workstations where human and robot simultaneously work in a collaborative environment including hand-guiding tasks. Multiple layout alternatives can be visualised and compared with quantitative numbers of total operation time and biomechanical load on the human body. An integrated HIRC workstation design process describes how such a simulation software can be applied to create suitable workstations. This process also includes a safety measure by which the collision forces between the industrial robot and the human are predicted. These forces have to be minimised to tolerable limits in order to design safe HIRC workstations.

    The HIRC simulation software developed and the proposed workstation design process enable more efficient HIRC workstation design. The possibility of designing and evaluating HIRC alternatives for hand-guiding activities is rarely found in other simulation software. The evaluation could include different types of layout alternatives and workstations: HIRC, fully manual or fully automatic. All of these could be compared based on their total operation time and biomechanical load and thus be used in workstation design decision making.

  • Public defence: 2020-02-21 10:15 Filen, Eskilstuna
    Reddy Vemula, Bhanoday
    Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.
    Evaluation of Industrial Robot Mechanical Systems for Applications that Require Human-Robot Collaboration2020Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In order to develop robot automation for new market sectors associated with short product lifetimes and frequent production change overs, industrial robots must exhibit a new level of flexibility and versatility. This situation has led to the growing interest in making humans and robots share their working environments and sometimes even allowing direct physical contact between the two in order to make them work cooperatively on the same task by enabling human-industrial robot collaboration (HIRC). In this context, it is very important to evaluate both the performance and the inherent safety characteristics associated with a given industrial robot manipulator system in HIRC workstation during the design and development stages.

    This necessitates a need to formulate evaluation methods with relevant design metrics and quantitative methods based on simulations, which can support the robot mechanical designer to correlate the task-, and safety- based performance characteristics of industrial robot mechanical system for HIRC applications. The research objective perused in this research aiming to address this need.

    This research project adopts research methodology based on action-reflection approach in a collaborative research setting between academia and industry. The design knowledge is gained on how to evaluate a specific industrial robot mechanical system design for usability in a specific collaborative application with humans. This is done by carrying out simulation-based evaluation tasks to measure and subsequently analyze the task-, and safety- based performance characteristics of industrial robot mechanical systems. Based on the acquired knowledge, an evaluation methodology with relevant design metrics and simulation modelling approaches is proposed in this research which integrates simulation based design processes of both Human-industrial robot workstation as well as robot mechanical system in order to make a well-grounded assessment on whether the robot mechanical system fulfills the task- and safety-based performance requirements corresponding to a specific collaborative application.

    The full text will be freely available from 2020-01-31 08:00
  • Public defence: 2020-03-06 13:00 Gamma, Västerås
    Kumpula, Esa
    Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare.
    Vårdarnas patientnära arbete inom rättspsykiatrisk vård: det komplexa samspelet mellan samhällsskydd och vårdande utifrån genusperspektiv2020Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Background Forensic psychiatric care (FPC) is characterized by the complex interaction between mental illness and the crime the patient has committed. For patient care, this means that male nursing staff are often assigned a superior position within FPC, while female nursing staff are presented as especially suited for providing the care itself. The overall aim was, from a gender perspective, to map patterns of patient care within FPC. Method: The dissertation is based on four qualitative studies. One is a literature study, while the other three adopt an ethnographic approach. The data in Study I consists of peer-reviewed articles that were theoretically analyzed. The Data in Study II consists of interviews that were analyzed by discourse psychology. The data in Study III consists of four focus groups. A thematic analysis was performed on the data. In Study IV, the data consists of observations, field notes and interviews, which were analyzed by thematic analysis. Results: Study I show that health in FPC can be perceived as a complex interplay between protecting society, constructions of masculinity and the physical body. Study II illustrates that nursing staff’s talk about patient care should not be separated from structures framing FPC. Study III illuminates that when nursing staff ignore gender in FPC, this may render invisible patients’ unique health needs linked to their life situation. Study IV reveals a pattern in how protecting society is constructed as superior to providing care. This result can be linked to a gender order that results in unequal conditions for nursing staff’s patient care. Conclusion: The results show how the dual goals are intertwined with nursing staff’s gender values, which affect the nurse-patient relationship and health-promoting activities. By constructing protection of society as having higher priority than care, a gender order is maintained that justifies categorization of patients. Failure to pay attention to the interaction between the dual goals and gender may lead to nursing staff overlooking patients’ individual situations and health needs.