Tuesday, July 10, 2012

HMI Tools Revisited

A little while ago, I wrote a blog about HMI design tools. I made the point that I thought many of these tools had challenges, from ease of use to code maintainability. I asked for feedback on that blog, and I got some. Some agreed with my viewpoint and some didn’t.

For example, I received some feedback about Elektrobit GUIDE from a QNX-er who used to work at Elektrobit. My colleague has direct knowledge of EB GUIDE, whereas admittedly I have none, so his feedback helps illuminate the other side of the story.

 Sample of EB GUIDE design with visual state machine

EB GUIDE is probably the best known and most widely used tool in automotive HMI development. According to my colleague, here are some of the features that make it a good fit for automotive:
  • State-machine based. EB GUIDE lets you build the entire HMI without resorting to code. Constructing the HMI through state machines is more often closer to how the OEM supplies the specification. And it makes the final design more testable. 
  • Integration of speech. EB GUIDE provides options to fully integrate speech recognition into the HMI—it can be coupled directly with the state machine. This is a pretty unique capability. 
  • Simulation and testing. The ability to instantly simulate any model that you build is especially powerful, especially for designers. Most times, designers are left out of the loop—they need an engineer to see the realization of their work. Simulation gives them the ability to be self-sufficient. And test frameworks allow an OEM to guarantee that an implemented design is exactly as they’ve specified. 

Good feedback! Any other thoughts anyone wants to contribute?