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Two basic support approaches can be distinguished for digital assistance systems: Physical assistance systems provide assistance in demanding physical activities and serve to compensate for physically decreasing abilities or to prevent their premature loss. The current state of the art ranges from mechanical-motor power assistance and personalized assembly workstations for simple, rule-based work situations to adaptive, collaborative robot systems for complex, highly variable and expertisebased production, assembly and maintenance processes. The musculoskeletal system and the sensory organs are supported.
Cognitive-supporting assistance systems primarily serve to provide application-oriented, real-time information that supports employees in making decisions or automatically makes decisions (VDI/VDE-GMA 2016).
Cognitive assistance systems can be divided into three broad categories:
1) Help systems provide existing analogue knowledge in digital form or give work instructions via a simple display (e.g. digital manuals, learning videos, assembly or maintenance instructions, quality instructions, safety instructions, process knowledge, qualification management, classical knowledge management systems).
2) Adaptive assistance systems allow a sensory recording of the work processes, the context in which they take place, the respective user and can be individually adapted by the employees (e.g. worker guidance, pick-by-light, context-sensitive provision of information, adaptation of language or user interfaces).
3) Tutorial assistance systems are adaptive assistance systems that support a learning-friendly working environment as well as learning in the process of work ("learning tools"). They enable the individual transfer of situational, work-relevant knowledge (e.g. education and training systems, portable knowledge and learning platforms, augmented reality-based support systems for technical services).