Human factors in the control and programming of robots and electric appliances are addressed in this paper. Systems and control techniques for the enhancement of human-machine communication as well as learning and adaptation to human needs are described with exemplary case studies. First, fundamental issues and methodologies, as well as historical perspective of relevant fields, are summarized, and two case studies are then discussed. One is user-adaptable control of air conditioners, a new type of adaptive control that allows an air conditioner to learn the thermal preference of the user. The other is a user-friendly programming method for advanced robot control. A task-level adaptive control system is developed by acquiring control skills by direct communication with human experts. The importance of human-machine communication and its impact on product development are addressed from the systems and control point of view.

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