Using Animated Augmented Reality to Cognitively Guide Assembly
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Assembly is the process in which two or more objects are joined together. An assembly manual is typically used to guide the tasks required to put together an artifact. As an emerging technology, augmented reality (AR) integrates three-dimensional (3D) images of virtual objects into a real-world workspace. The insertion of digitalized information into the real workspace using AR can provide workers with the means to implement correct assembly procedures with improved accuracy and reduce errors. A prototype animated AR system was configured for assembly tasks that are normally guided by reference to documentation and was tested using a series of experiments. A LEGO model was used as the assembly and experimental tester task. Experimentation was devised and conducted to validate the cognitive gains that can be derived from using AR to assemble a LEGO model. Two formal experiments with 50 participants were conducted to compare an animated AR system and the paper-based manual system. One experiment measured the cognitive workload of using the system for assembly, whereas the other measured the learning curves of novice assemblers. Findings from the experiments revealed that the animated AR system yielded shorter task completion times, less assembly errors, and lower total task load. The results also revealed that the learning curve of novice assemblers was reduced and task performance relevant to working memory was increased when using AR training. Future work will apply the knowledge gained from the controlled assembly experiments to the real-scale construction assembly scenario to measure the productivity improvements.
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