Special Issue "Human Factors in the Digital Society"

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Computing and Artificial Intelligence".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 28 February 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Francesco Facchini
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Guest Editor
Department of Mechanics, Mathematics and Management, Polytechnic University of Bari, Via Orabona 4, 70125 Bari, Italy
Interests: Warehouse management systems; Logistics, Waste management, Artificial Neural Networks, Ergonomics, Cognitive Ergonomics, Industry 4.0
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Salvatore Digiesi
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Guest Editor
Department of Mechanics, Mathematics and Management, Polytechnic University of Bari, Via Orabona 4, 70125 Bari, Italy
Interests: human performance modeling; ergonomics; waste management; mechanical industrial plants; sustainable logistics; human performance modeling
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Carlotta Mummolo
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Guest Editor
Department of Biomedical Engineering, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), Newark, NJ 07103, USA
Interests: human performance; healthy aging; motor vs. cognitive assessment; motor rehabilitation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

New Internet-based technologies have enormous potential to affect human wellbeing. This necessitates valid and consistent assessment of human factors and human performance in every area of the digital society, ranging from the everyday life of citizens to the work environment.

Different contexts are linked to similar challenges, and require similar problems to be solved: the common roots are human behaviors and new information technologies. As a result, the human-centered social-cyber-physical system has become the common reference framework in today’s society.

To attain a holistic understanding, it is important to identify challenges and opportunities related to human factors and human performance in the digital society: research in this context is still new, and significant achievements are limited.

Human factors in the digital society at large assume new perspectives, as they tend to be linked to tasks of a more cognitive rather than a physical nature. For instance, decision-making based on real time data is a new challenge for humans in various everyday scenarios. Moreover, monitoring of physical systems by the ‘Internet of Everything’ is becoming a widely adopted practice in several contexts, especially industry. Accurate modelling of cognitive tasks will enable proper investigation of the ergonomics of workplaces and of the safety and maintenance of production systems. The design of human-centered social-cyber-physical systems should also consider older individuals and people with disabilities—i.e., people less familiar with and, therefore, less inclined to adopt new Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). Assessing the cognitive abilities of differently aged people in the digital society requires a deep understanding of complex phenomena involving transversal competence. These are just some examples of relevant issues connected with human factors in the digital society.

The Special Issue aims to collect recent innovative research on human factors and human performance in the digital era. Scientific contributions, ranging from basic research to applied research with pilot industrial applications and demos, are welcome. The interdisciplinary nature of this Special Issue is consistent with contributions from different areas of competence, ranging from industrial to biomedical engineering.

Prof. Dr. Francesco Facchini
Prof. Dr. Salvatore Digiesi
Dr. Carlotta Mummolo
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Applied Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Human factors and human performance in the digital society
  • Human-centered social-cyber-physical systems
  • Cognitive vs. motor human tasks
  • I4.0 Ergonomics
  • Smart operators for safety and maintenance of digital factories
  • Testing motor and cognitive tasks
  • Human memory
  • Workforce aging and people with disabilities in the digital society
  • Human performance modelling

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Combined Method for Evaluating Accessibility in Serious Games
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(18), 6324; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10186324 - 11 Sep 2020
Abstract
Nowadays, one of the learning resources in the educational area are serious games, also called training games; they are games designed with a different purpose than fun, whose main objective is to reinforce the new concepts more creatively. However, not all existing serious [...] Read more.
Nowadays, one of the learning resources in the educational area are serious games, also called training games; they are games designed with a different purpose than fun, whose main objective is to reinforce the new concepts more creatively. However, not all existing serious games are accessible in a way that allows access to a more significant number of users. Therefore, this research proposes to apply a combined method to evaluate accessibility in serious games, considering the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. As a case study, we evaluated the accessibility of 82 serious games developed by Physical Education Technology Interactive Simulations at the University of Colorado. We propose to replicate this combined method for users with various types of disabilities, considering the various accessibility barriers. As future work, we suggest generating an accessibility heuristic evaluation focused on serious games, based on the accessibility issues identified. Finally, we believe it is essential to strengthen accessibility policies in each country, as well as implement best practices that generate innovation by incorporating diversity in building and designing more inclusive serious games. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Factors in the Digital Society)
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Open AccessArticle
Human Cognitive and Motor Abilities in the Aging Workforce: An Information-Based Model
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(17), 5958; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10175958 - 28 Aug 2020
Abstract
In the digital society, individuals are in charge of performing tasks based on the information gathered by huge amount of data and effectively use them to manifest their cognitive and motor abilities. In this paper, on the basis of experimental studies available in [...] Read more.
In the digital society, individuals are in charge of performing tasks based on the information gathered by huge amount of data and effectively use them to manifest their cognitive and motor abilities. In this paper, on the basis of experimental studies available in literature concerning lab tests on motor or cognitive abilities of differently aged subjects, an information-based theoretical model is proposed. The model allows to quantify the information content of a motor or a cognitive task and provides estimates of information processing time of individuals of different age and sex in accomplishing tasks with prevalent motor or cognitive nature, in spite of the fact that a “pure” cognitive or a “pure” motor task are rarely observed in practical cases. The model is then applied to a case study from automotive industry in which workforce aging phenomenon is experienced. Potential applications of the model go beyond the case study developed. Quantifying the information content of a general motor-cognitive task paves the way to new understanding and modelling of movements and performance time of both natural and artificial systems with applications in industrial robotics (e.g., human-robot cooperation), biomechanics, and neurorehabilitation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Factors in the Digital Society)
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Open AccessArticle
Things2People Interaction toward Energy Savings in Shared Spaces Using BIM
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(16), 5709; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10165709 - 18 Aug 2020
Abstract
People in shared building space have an important role in energy consumption because they can turn on/off equipment and heat/cooling systems. This behaviour can be influenced by giving then locally tailored context information (energy consumption, temperature, luminosity) and information about the cost of [...] Read more.
People in shared building space have an important role in energy consumption because they can turn on/off equipment and heat/cooling systems. This behaviour can be influenced by giving then locally tailored context information (energy consumption, temperature, luminosity) and information about the cost of their actions. This paper presents an approach to create personalized local energy consumption predictions in a building using past sensor data, correlated with external conditions to create local context predictions. This prediction is sent in real-time to people’s mobile devices in order to influence their behaviour when increasing or decreasing temperature using heating or cooling systems. This information is essential for sustainability actions in shared spaces, where this information can have an important role. Also, the data (temperature) representation in the building information model (BIM) module can help the user understand environment conditions and, together with the user sharing their thermal feelings, can be used to change behaviour. This approach using BIM’s representation models allows Things2People interaction to improve energy savings in these shared spaces. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Factors in the Digital Society)
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