New development opportunities for information logistics

07.08.2020, von Prof. Dr. Detlev Pape

How can you interact with mechanical components and operate equipment online within the Corona constraints? And how can I conduct a lecture online when complex hardware setups have to be created in a team? A practical example and why the HFT Stuttgart was awarded the Studycheck seal "Covid 19- digital studieren, wir sind dabei" (Covid 19- study digitally, we are there), among other things.

A single hand lies on the table, fingers stretching menacingly in the air, grasping at anything it can reach. The prelude to a scary movie? Luke Skywalker's hand severed by a lightsaber? No, because the green plastic parts and protruding wires hint that this is more of a technical test setup than a horror scenario. The wires end in a glove equipped with sensors, which a student wears and controls the artificial hand through his movements. His team and he are trying to overcome the contact restriction enforced by COVID-19 by making movements and hand-actuated actions possible even from a distance.

Other teams in the Actuators course have also drawn inspiration from the current crisis to develop creative solutions. Building access systems with integrated detection of sick people protect against further infection and contactless disinfection dispensers ensure hygiene. But other topics were also tackled, such as the recognition of different bottles and crates by means of color sensors to enable recycling by type. A total of nine very different project results were achieved, which were implemented in an experimental and always digitally networked manner.

These projects were carried out by students of Information Logistics as part of the Actuators module. Here, the students were able to apply the knowledge they had acquired during their studies and put it into practice. In addition to the basic programming and computer science knowledge, the understanding of the various processes and applications in industry, which they had previously acquired in the lectures and exercises, is very helpful here. This is knowledge that is in great demand in industry today and whose needs can hardly be met by universities. In addition to the classic fields of study of computer science, electrical engineering and logistics, there is an increasing need for an interdisciplinary understanding of interrelationships and processes - and this is precisely what Information Logistics teaches from the very beginning.

These very early, practical experiences are also what motivate the students. From the project results, you can immediately see the enthusiasm with which the students have implemented their knowledge in their own, self-chosen projects. Even Corona could not stop this, even if the distribution of the required materials and practice kits and the cooperation in online teams without being able to meet in person was a great additional challenge. More than 1800 individual parts alone had to be assembled for the exercises and projects and distributed throughout the course. But the students and teachers accepted this challenge and so excellent results could be presented at the end of these successful projects. And by the way, the students became online professionals in the process, even though the big wish remains: Hopefully we can work directly together again next semester!