COgnitive Support in Manufacturing Operations

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Immersive technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) hold great potential for improving on-the-job training and support in manufacturing and industrial settings. However, research is needed to investigate the learning potential of these technologies, create personalized training solutions, lower costs for the development of content, and expand their applications. The COSMO project will therefore design, develop and evaluate effective, personalized and scalable AR and VR technologies for support and training in manufacturing operations.

A constant learning curve for manufacturing workers

Greater product diversification makes jobs in manufacturing increasingly complex. Operators and line workers must continuously learn to manufacture new products while maintaining high quality levels. As a result, job performance may go down and employees face higher stress levels. Improved approaches to training and cognitive support on the job can help to keep stress under control and make it easier for employees to apply new skills to real-life working contexts.

Traditional training approaches are no longer enough

Mainstream cognitive support and training solutions for manufacturing are inadequate and expensive. Information learned in a classroom or typical e-learning training does not transfer well to the production line, partly because these training methodologies take a one-size-fits-all approach. On the other hand, on the production line, human coaches cannot guide workers sufficiently during their daily tasks, and lack the tools to objectively and continuously measure operator performance and well-being. Immersive technologies overcome these disadvantages, as they can provide real-time information in real-life settings, as well as better monitoring.

An end-to-end model for immersive training and support

Composed of experts in VR and AR for manufacturing, digital work instructions, instructional psychology, educational data mining, computer vision and stress sensing, the COSMO consortium targets the following innovation goals:

  • Develop a generic playout environment for VR/AR training or support, comprising a multimodal data processing pipeline that monitors the operations and the state of the operator through an array of sensors and advanced user modeling techniques;
  • Design an automated approach to the creation of AR and VR training content;
  • Gather research-based evidence on the effectiveness of immersive training technologies in comparison with traditional training solutions;
  • Develop a user interface that provides operators with personalized work instructions in real time.

The technologies will be implemented and piloted in manufacturing companies as well as in the technical, vocational and special education curricula of secondary schools.   

Measurably greater performance and well-being

Outcomes of the COSMO project will enable manufacturing employees to handle more complex assembly tasks, for higher employability, flexibility, productivity and well-being. Better still, the evidence-based knowledge gained will help accelerate the economic and societal valorization of these immersive technologies in the manufacturing sector.

“The COSMO project will design, develop and evaluate effective, personalized and scalable AR and VR technologies for support and training in manufacturing operations.”


COgnitive Support in Manufacturing Operations.

COSMO is an imec.icon research project funded by imec and Agentschap Innoveren & Ondernemen.

It started on 01.05.2019 and is set to run until 31.08.2021.

Project information


  • Azumuta
  • CNH Industrial Belgium
  • Mariasteen
  • Rhinox
  • Flanders Make


  • imec - CHS
  • imec - IDLab Data Science Lab - UGent 
  • imec - IPI - UGent
  • imec - ITEC - KU Leuven


  • Project Lead: Vincent Vanderbeck
  • Research Lead: Wim Van den Noortgate
  • Proposal Manager: Frederik Cornillie
  • Innovation Manager: Eric Moons