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22 September 2021 News

Introduction

The Trinity project team from Mentech and Tegema developed a demonstrator in which an ABB cobot works with an operator while performing complex assembly tasks. Stress detection was integrated to measure operator emotion during a cobot-assisted assembly task for optimal operator engagement (both in terms of operator well-being and productivity).

 The objective of the project is to demonstrate a smart factory concept, for robotics-based manufacturing of complex photonic products, with in-line operator stress detection for safety and optimized production (in terms of yield and product quality). The demonstration is based on a modular machine platform with robotics functionalities for efficient and customized production of complex photonic systems. The platform has in-line monitoring and quality control functionalities for in-line adaption of production steps.  The demonstration includes an appealing showcase in which human factors are successfully included in the execution of a manufacturing process for optimized production, eventually to open the gateway for affective cobots.

A robot can take over complex tasks, making the assembly process safer, faster and qualitatively better. The downside of working with a cobot is that the potential loss of control can cause stress for the operator. And stress has a negative impact on well-being, safety and productivity.

The affective manufacturing system has an integrated robotics system for manufacturing of complex photonic systems and contains a sensor system for in-line process monitoring. The platform integrates a novel operator stress detection module, based on measured physiological features of the operator, and artificial intelligence algorithm for stress detection. Production performance and related operator stress is displayed on an interactive dashboard, used for both stress management and process control.

The measured stress levels are used in a smart decision algorithm that takes into account all relevant decision factors, such as the stress indications (emotional state) of the individual operators as determined by the measured and analyzed features; information about circumstances (private, work) of the employee; information about the production process, such as the measured performance indicators (product quality, productivity, failure, etc.); and production instructions (such as the complexity of the instruction or work).

 

Benefits for the user

Affective manufacturing leads to improved efficiency and productivity, by incorporating human stress factors in the optimization of the production processes. The performance of a process depends on the complexity of tasks and the arousal level the operator experiences. For simple tasks, low arousal (inattention of the operator) leads to poor performance, high arousal leads to high performance. Difficult tasks however require moderate arousal for optimum performance. A too low arousal (inattention or drowsy) as well as a too high arousal (stress) lead to poor performance and should be avoided.

Affective manufacturing leads to improved product quality. One of the requests is error-free production through a self-learning production method in which the system responds autonomously to any errors. The addition of affective strategies will further be strengthening this self-learning and will cause a paradigm shift in smart manufacturing. It will create higher standards of production, and more operator and happiness.

 

Innovation

Mentech and Tegema demonstrate an affective production platform for high-quality production of low-volume high-mix products. The demonstration is based on a modular machine platform with robotics functionalities for efficient and customized production of complex photonic devices. The platform integrates operator stress monitoring to harmonize productivity and operator happiness.

The platform comprises a pick-to-light module and a cobot module for cobot-assisted assembly. The pick-to-light module consists of several manufacturing bins with LED indicators to guide the operator through the assembly tasks. The sequence of assembly is indicated by the subsequent switching on and off the LED indicators. The bins also contain proximity sensors to measure the completion of the different assembly tasks. A cobot platform is integrated in the assembly line to assist the operator with complex assembly tasks. Multiple assembly sequences can be uploaded to the system, making the system a flexible manufacturing platform.

The operator stress is determined from real-time measured stress features, like heartrate, skin conductance and face expressions. A trained neural network model makes a prediction of the stress levels of an operator during assembly based on the measured physiology and recognized patterns.

A dashboard visualizes the system metrics, like the required time for assembly tasks, assembly errors and cobot performance, and the measured operator stress. Based on the dashboard outcome, system and operator interventions can be initiated.

The AMS showcases that a hybrid manufacturing platform with a decision algorithm based on operator stress levels will harmonize production and increase yield and production quality.

Watch the video!

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17 September 2021 News

“We are proud to now have Ami and INZET support us with the financial means and knowledge needed to accelerate our growth.” – Erwin Meinders, CEO Mentech

To recognize the early stages of stress, Mentech has developed the HUME® – a smart sensing-system that visualizes stress through trained artificial intelligence models, all brought together in an intuitive app. The HUME offers the caregiver to recognize behavioural change and thus improve the quality of life of people with misunderstood behavior. INZET and Ami endorse Mentech’s mission and are investing in the HUME to improve the quality of life and independence of clients.

 

Steady further development as a company

With the support of INZET and Ami, Mentech will be more capable to realize its ambitions. INZET is a social investment fund that invests in young, innovative companies that are committed to giving the long-term sick, people with disabilities or elderly a dignified, full life with as much independence as possible, always prioritizing prevention. Ami on the other hand is a consultancy company for advice on colossal ambitions. They consult and support entrepreneurs with strategical issues. INZET and Ami both facilitate in much needed knowledge and experience for Mentech to further develop itself: “We are proud to now have Ami and INZET support us with the financial means and knowledge needed to accelerate our growth.” as said by Erwin Meinders, CEO of Mentech. “With INZET and Ami joining us we now have two investors that believe in our proposition and the societal impact of the HUME. Thanks to these investments we now have the means and knowledge to accelerate our growth and implementation of the HUME.”

Pieter Oostlander, who is partner at Shaping Impact Group, the fund managing party of INZET, tells the following about working with Mentech: “Mentech is a company driven by intelligent individuals that created a solution for a tremendously big problem in the care field. “After years of thorough preparations Mentech is ready for introduction to the market as well as scaling itself. Exactly the part where INZET can make all the difference. We are happy to further allow this team to make a notable change in people’s lives with the solutions that they offer.”.

Raymond Maas, founder of Ami, says the following about their collaboration with Mentech: “We do not only invest because we believe in Mentech’s mission and solutions, but also because we want to gain more experience when it comes to building and utilizing data, algorithms and apps within our own services. With Mentech we have a serious strategic partner that allows us to also extend our own ambition.”.


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4 August 2021 News

We are very proud to announce that we have successfully completed the Trinity project in cooperation with Tegema and ABB with the Affective Manufacturing System. In the video below we explain what the AMS system entails.

Would you like more information about the project or the system? Then please contact us.

 


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23 July 2021 News

Mentech starts new collaboration with Saxion, Eindhoven University of Technology, Fontys, Leiden University Medical Center, Tranzo, ‘s Heeren Loo, Prinsenstichting, Severinus, TNO and University Network for the Care Sector South Holland to develop a new generation wearable. This collaboration is made possible by Health~Holland, Top Sector Life Sciences & Health and ZonMw. Together with clients, caregivers and informal carers, we will develop a wearable sensor system in clothing that helps with the early recognition of stress in people with cognitive disabilities.

People with intellectual disabilities or dementia are sensitive to stress. Caregivers face the challenge of reading and regulating their stress level and mood based on non-verbal signals. Late recognition can lead to misunderstood behavior, such as aggression. Misunderstood behavior reduces quality of life, complicates care and support, and the strain on caregivers leads to above-average absenteeism and staff turnover. It is therefore crucial to develop tools that increase the quality of care while reducing the burden on caregivers.

Within this project we will develop a tool that helps caregivers to recognize the first signs of stress in the client, so that the cause can be addressed before the client’s behavior escalates. The tool uses information from sensors worn in clothing. The system not only helps prevent the build-up of stress, but also helps provide the client with a more pleasant living environment. This will improve the client’s quality of life, reduce the burden on caregivers and lower care costs.


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12 July 2021 News

Last week the IASSIDD congress took place. The theme of this European congress was ‘Value diversity’. This refers explicitly to the changes that we need to achieve in healthcare. During this congress Mentech has shared her contributions through three sessions of which 2 can be viewed. Interested?

‘Social network engagement for more quality of life for people with a severe intellectual disability’, co-presented with Severinus and Vilans, see https://iassidd-oral.acsvirtual.com/video/124/o-057?channelName=IASSIDD

‘The use of smart wearables for early notification of stress in people with intellectual disabilities’, co-presented with Prinsenstichting Severinus and Leiden University Medical Center, see https://iassidd-oral.acsvirtual.com/video/266/o-022?channelName=IASSIDD


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15 June 2021 News

Let people with autism work as independently as possible, that is the starting point of Emogy. This is an application that, based on mood and energy, gives personal advice on how to deal with certain situations. This mood can be reported, but can also be measured with the HUME.

Emogy helps people with autism to be more self-reliant by registering their energy and mood. By gaining more insight into this, stressful situations can be dealt with more quickly and patterns that cause negative energy or mood can be broken. Each client receives a personal app based on their own signaling plan. Through this app, mood and energy are registered, situation sketches are entered and personal advice is given based on the entered data. An environment for the supervisor is also available in which the interaction between supervisor and client is sought. Because the client’s requirements and wishes may change during the course of the program, it is possible for the supervisor to adjust the signaling plan to the current situation. No more paper, always up-to-date and available everywhere. This is also currently being tested in a pilot phase.

This new application helps people with autism to be more self-reliant and to get more grip on their energy and mood. To test this, clients of Autismepunt in Eindhoven are currently busy using the app in a pilot phase together with their supervisor.

In the next webinar on 29 June 2021 from 10.00 – 11.00 the results of this pilot will be discussed. Also, Erwin Meinders will explain how we can measure mood in people with autism using the HUME.

Interested? Click on the button below for more information and the possibilities to register!

More information

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17 May 2021 News

On Tuesday, May 18 from 2:00-5:00 p.m., the Symposium Wearables in Practice will take place. During this symposium, professionals working with wearables will come together to present their findings to each other and share the experiences of applying wearables in their field. This time the symposium is digital with a very interesting program, see the image below. On behalf of Mentech, Erwin Meinders will explain the application of wearables within the disability care. Are you interested in attending the symposium? Sign up now via the button below.

Register

 


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7 May 2021 News

The SentiSock, is one of HUME’s sensors used to measure a person’s skin conductance. This is a unique application where electrodes and electronics are incorporated into a sock. To test and realize this concept, a collaboration with Metafas was started. Metafas is the specialist in printed electronics and has successfully carried out the industrial upscaling of the smart sock. The collaboration is indicative of the strength of the Brainport region.

According to Reon Smits, CTO of Mentech, the development possibilities are endless thanks to the collaboration with Metafas:

“By printing electrodes in the sock, the HUME seamlessly connects to the user requirements of the target group and we can measure stress accurately and reliably. In the future, we also want to look at the possibilities of printing electrodes in other garments such as a glove or t-shirt. Metafas is an excellent development and production partner so we can turn clothing into wearables.”

Hans van de Mortel, owner of Metafas, is also excited about the collaboration and possibilities for the future:

“Realizing innovation in practice is possible based on a groundbreaking idea and progressive partners. In Mentech we have found such a partner. With Mentech’s software and domain knowledge and our way of product development and production, together we can bring a new application to the market.”

 

Application in healthcare
The HUME with SentiSock is currently applied in care facilities for reducing escalations and understanding misunderstood behavior in long-term care for people with dementia or intellectual disabilities. It is often difficult for people with intellectual disabilities or dementia to express feelings. Thanks to the smart sock, these emotions can be measured and translated into useful information for the caregiver. In this way, the HUME helps to recognize the build-up of stress in clients at an early stage, for example in situations where the caregiver does not have a direct view of the client. This gives the care provider a handle on how to prevent behavioral escalation, for example. This is good for both the client and the caregiver!

 

Cooperation Brainport region         
Metafas has an excellent reputation in the field of industrial electronics printing. The challenge for the printed electronics in the sock was mainly in the durability and robustness during use. The ability to stretch the sock without breaking the electrodes, the intensive use and washability were important user requirements. The result of intensive testing and collaboration is a robust and producible design. The first socks are now in use and Mentech and Metafas have proven the power of collaboration within Brainport.

 

Metafas – Printed Electronics
Metafas is specialized in user interfacing and printed electronics. User interfacing is the “bridge between man and machine”; an international concept for front panels, membrane switch foils and touch screens. Printed electronics results from screen printing conductive tracks with silver ink onto which electronic components are glued. Combinations are then made between electrical insulating layers and electrically conductive layers on which silver ink is printed. This makes it possible to realize form-free electrodes on flexible surfaces. With other production techniques, the sensors can be processed into a semi-finished or complete end product. This makes it possible to make everyday objects, such as socks, ‘smarter’, as it were. Would you like to know more? Take a look at the website via this link.


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3 May 2021 News

‘People who are disabled can still communicate.’

Earlier this month Eric Riegen was a guest at De Balie, together with Hans van Balkom and Parwin Mirrahimy they discussed the film The Reason I Jump and subsequently the new communication technologies for people with a communication disorder.

Did you miss the conversation and the film? Watch the full excerpt back through the link below.

Watch video

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