Intelligent and adaptive HSIs

Although the term ‘intelligent’ is perhaps a misnomer in HSIs, it is nevertheless an important development. This is a class of technology that mimics certain aspects of human reasoning and behaviour. Such systems employ statistical and probabilistic methods in conjunction with neural networks, databases, rules and a variety of sensors to approximate human traits of reasoning, knowledge, planning, learning, communication, perception, and the ability to manipulate abstract or concrete objects (Ehlert, 2003). Software systems that are able to perform such functions could be called intelligent software agents. When this forms part of the HSI, such an agent would act in collaboration with the operator, for example, to detect certain patterns of operator responses in his or her use of the HSI, such as the need to perform a calculation. It would then either autonomously perform the function for the operator, or submit the result to the operator for approval. More sophisticated agents equipped with cameras and sensors could even detect stress and workload from the operator’s voice and facial expression and offer to activate specific operator support functions.

Other sensor technologies that are already common in many industries are now also slowly being deployed in the nuclear industry, For example, RFID tags (radio­frequency identification) and GPS (global satellite positioning systems) are being used to locate personnel as well as components in the plant.

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