In two rounds, the players had to control two robot axes using HMIs (human-machine interfaces) or a smartphone and thus get the dart into the center of a dartboard as quickly and precisely as possible. Different levels of difficulty were assigned to the devices, which were also included in the high score calculation. The three daily winners of the challenge each won an Xbox Series X console.
*It's all about listening and understanding *- was not only our trade fair motto at the SPS, but is our basic attitude, because only those who listen well will understand their counterpart and be able to translate requirements into concrete solutions. So we also listened carefully at the "Darts Challenge" and understood the following after three days at the fair:
Simplicity is not everything: Our expectation that most players would reach for the familiar smartphone proved to be wrong. The opportunity to try out new HMIs in a playful way was positively received by all participants, who rated the operation of the devices as very good.
Strong fluctuations in the device evaluation: In the first round of the game, the device was automatically assigned and the players possibly had to play with an object that was completely new or unusual for them. In the second round they had the free choice. The analysis of the evaluation results showed: The devices were rated significantly better when they were chosen voluntarily. This could be due to the fact that the players consciously chose devices with which they already had experience and avoided foreign or complicated-looking ones.
Emotions and visuals play a major role: The degree of difficulty of the devices was included in the high score calculation, so the idea of competition and the attractive main prize also had a major influence on the players' choice. The "difficult" devices, e.g. the handwheel KeWheel and the mobile handheld control unit T10 scored with exciting visuals and a potentially high score. The ratings of the devices were queried directly after the game round, so there is of course a direct correlation between the score achieved and the popularity of the device. These emotions also exist in real-world environments, such as a production floor. An easy to use device with few opportunities to make operating errors will be more important to most users than eye-catching design.
In retrospect, the "Darts Challenge" for KEBA was not just an entertaining exhibit for the trade fair visitors, but also a very good opportunity to obtain direct feedback on our HMIs. Not to be forgotten, however, is the fact that many players had no previous experience with HMIs and thus their experience at the trade fair may differ from that of classic machine builders and machine operators.