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Individual Workload and Strategy Assessment – IWSA: Ocular based state-detection for HMI interfaces


This evaluation system - developed at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) - for human-machine interactions based on gaze-based parameters for the first time does justice to the inter- and intraindividual characteristics of the user. Especially in the area of demanding or highly qualified tasks, this system can be used to set up and continuously improve a workplace individually and efficiently.


To achieve effective and sustainable improvements in socio-technical systems and to avoid incidents/accidents, human-machine interfaces (HMI) must be continuously checked and, if necessary, optimized in terms of human requirements. Due to its variable cognitive and physio­logical properties, the factor human being is our most important source of information, but it is also extremely complex and cannot be sufficiently quantified and harnes­sed using current collection methods. The accessibility of information by the system can only be optimized through a thorough understanding of the individual user.


Current physiological recording approaches are not suit­able for examining a user state in a standardized way, as the evaluation procedures cannot be adapted to individual users and take their individual strategies into account ("one fits all" strategy).


The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) has developed an evaluation system based on ocular based parameters that now account for the inter- and intra-individual characteristics of users. The system therefore requires a gaze detection system. Based on a calibration task carried out before the actual activity is analyzed, an individual stress model is created to optimize the interface depending on the cognitive state and behavior of the user.
Thanks to this calibration to the individual user, now the cognitive state, operationalized via performance and subjective perception, can be continuously collected and quantified solely via physiological parameters. This allows for an unprecedented level of efficiency in setting up individual working environments.

Overview of entry parameters and evaluation strategy of the IWSA system [Image: KIT].
Overview of entry parameters and evaluation strategy of the IWSA system [Image: KIT].


  • Quantification of the cognitive state of users on a standardized, comparable scale
  • Application-independent and especially suitable for demanding or highly-specialized tasks
  • Subjective perception, performance and cognitive efficiency as references for cognitive state
  • Immediate derivation of design measures
  • Active avoidance of mental overload


A system that analyzes and quantifies users individually and based on that information not only takes safety precautions, but also suggests system adaptations (general or individual), is well worthwhile when dealing with complex, protracted or high responsibility tasks (plant management, control rooms, etc.).

Find out more

Anne Böse, M.Sc.
Ettlinger Straße 25
76137 Karlsruhe | Germany
Phone +49 721-79004-0
boese(at) |
Development Status
Validation / TRL4
Patent Situation
EP 3399427 B1 granted
AT, DE, FR & GB validated
Reference ID
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