Super fun circle of friends with a lot of energy

News | 28 January 2021

Interaction between man and machine is hot. This is apparent from the enthusiasm for Human Machine Communication, the super fun knowledge circle with a lot of energy. With only a little advance information, 26 participants have already registered on Thursday 21 January for this inspiring webinar by professor Dr. Fokie Cnossen.

Super fun circle of friends with a lot of energy.
Super fun circle of friends with a lot of energy

As director of education Artificial Intelligence and Human Machine Communication at the University of Groningen, Cnossen is closely involved in the master's track in this area. Logical, because if anyone tells a good story about the interaction between humans and machines, it's her.  


A carpenter who saws a plank himself feels, hears, smells and sees how the sawing process takes place under his hands. He has all his senses 'on' for direct feedback on the process. When machines take over sawing, people and the manufacturing process grow apart. As a result, the feedback about how the sawing of the plank is progressing increasingly relies on visual and cognitive representation of that process. The carpenter's senses are replaced by the machine's sensors and cameras. Cognitive Engineering is therefore becoming increasingly important, in order to keep a good 'feeling' with the sawing process.

Cognitive Engineering

Cognitive Engineering is the optimization of the collaboration between people and systems and is specifically about effectiveness, efficiency and safety. Professor Donald Arthur Norman was aware of this in the 1980s. He is director of The Design Lab at the University of California and best known for his expertise in design, usability engineering, and cognitive science, describing the basics of process control back then. 'Cognitive Engineering is a type of cognitive science, trying to apply what is known from science to the design and construction of machines.'


Cnossen goes through the development from the beginning, in which the carpenter saws the plank himself with a saw and sees what he is doing, to the machine that saws the same plank out of sight of the carpenter with a complicated virtual control. This evokes all kinds of reactions in the 'digital room'. Especially examples from practice in which this method works or does not work well. The result is a super fun circle of knowledge with a lot of energy. And, moreover, an enrichment of Cnossen's theory. How with extra feedback, through logic, power (haptic), light and color and sound, the operator manages to understand and control the soul of his machine.