Professor Caroline Cao

Professor Caroline Cao

The industry of the future and the "human factor".
Caroline Cao holds the Franco-Australian Interdisciplinary Chair in "Industry of the Future", and is particularly interested in the role of humans in robotised production systems.

Professor Caroline Cao's career has always been marked by interdisciplinarity. A specialist in bio-mechanics and 'human factors', she has long focused on the link between engineering sciences (digital and mechanical engineering in particular) and health. She has worked on the ergonomics of medical systems and the contribution of innovative solutions such as robotics and virtual reality to minimally invasive surgery. In 2019, she joined the LS2N (1) laboratory in Nantes on the Artist project ("Augmented Reality Technology and Innovative Solutions for Telemedicine"), developing intelligent tutors for surgeons and for the RFI (Research, Training, Innovation) International Chair, Atlanstic 2020.

Since 2021, Caroline Cao has held the 'Industry of the Future' Chaire, jointly held by IMT Atlantique, the University of South Australia (UniSA) and the Region of Brittany. This is a strategic challenge for the institution, which intends to position itself at the forefront of this field. By its very nature, the concept of the industry of the future lies at the crossroads of numerous disciplines - from IT and AI to robotics, electronics and industrial processes. Not forgetting disciplines outside the formal and natural sciences such as management, project management and sociology.

Caroline Cao's work adds yet another factor: the human dimension. It's an element that has long been neglected," she says. We need to better understand the behaviour of operators in industry, and how they adopt technologies. We need to design working environments that take into account the physical, psychological and emotional limitations of employees. One example of this approach is Caroline Cao's work for Airbus on a project for an automated production line for a new aircraft, enabling humans and robots or intelligent machines to work together effectively. Here again, a wide range of knowledge is mobilized: ergonomics, human-robot collaboration, deep learning, etc.

Along the same lines, the researcher presented a European project on the role of the worker in the context of the revolution known as "Industry 5.0". The project brings together expertise in human factors, IT, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, sociology, ethics and law or psychology - with a particular focus on ethical aspects.

(1) Nantes Digital Science Laboratory.

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